The 20-page rule


From The Guardian:

Mark Billingham, the writer of the Tom Thorne crime novels. Speaking at Cheltenham literary festival, he said that if a book hadn’t gripped you after 20 pages, then it was OK not just to give up on it but to “throw it across the room angrily”.

My rule is 10% or 100 pages, whichever comes first. If I’m not enjoying it by then, I’ll put it down and know that I’ve given it a fair crack.

There is always a feeling of regret, though, like it’s my fault for not getting it. But any regret is outweighed by not having to go through the slog of reading a book that I am not enjoying. Reading is supposed to be fun, not a chore.