From Tracie: Do You Read the Last 10 Pages of the Book?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Do You Read the Last 10 Pages of the Book?

My love of books is well known. Reading has never been a chore to me, but a wonderful gift. That being said, I have spent two weeks forcing my way through the longest book in the history of the universe, Atlas Shrugged.

The John Galt character's 45 page speech is an experience that can only be described as painful. It took me two days to read his speech, because I had to keep stopping and doing other things, to restrain myself from gouging my eyes out.

When I was feeling particularly bogged down, I turned to facebook to see what other people do in this situation...

Facebook Poll Results
(someone else added the choice, "Skip to the end to see if the middle is worth it" I do not endorse the 'skipping ahead' or 'reading the end first' methods of book reading, but if you do this I will still love you.)

I was very surprised to see how many people are able to put a book down and not look back.  I have only done this with three books in my whole life, and if I allow myself to think about them, I still wonder what happened in the end.

All those lovely words begging to be read.

Thomas told me that my poll reminded him of something he heard on the radio earlier that day. (While he is at work, he listens to the Philips Phile, a local talk radio show that mostly drives me crazy.) The main talker (DJ? not dj, because they don't play music...what is the right word? Talk show host?) announced to the world that he stops reading books with only 10 pages left if he is done with the story.


How do you just stop reading with only 10 PAGES LEFT?

There should be rules. Laws!

Without the last ten pages of Jane Eyre, Jane and Mr. Rochester would never get married. Without the last ten pages of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the Pevensie children would live in Narnia forever, never returning to our world. Every book by Agatha Christie would be ruined....oh and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes....loosing the last ten pages would destroy Sherlock Holmes.

I can only hope that this man does not read mysteries.

I can bend my mind around the idea that a book just isn't for you and you don't keep going, even though I am driven to finish the whole thing (one friend said she gives a book 100 pages to suck her in before she puts it down), but the idea that you would read all the way to the last ten pages and never finish....that is incomprehensible to me.

-When you are reading a book that you aren't loving, do you finish it, or can you put it down and walk away? 
-Have you ever stopped reading a book with only 10 pages left to the end? 


  1. And no way for John Grisham! 20 chapters of nothing and everything is wrapped up in the last chaper. I cannot imagine not reading the last pages. no no way!

    I will say that if I start a book and I don't like the writing style, I can stop but only in the first chapter. But this is very rare!

    I'll hold on to your statement and apply it to this -- you love me anyway.


  2. I have only had this problem with one book. Lord of the Rings. It was terrible in my opinion but I forced myself to continue.

  3. If I was reading a book and it made me feel I wanted to gouge my eyes out...I Would Stop Reading It and Throw It In The Trash!!! "ATLAS SHRUGGED"....the woman who wrote this book, was possessed!

    I don't believe I would ever stop reading a book if I had only ten pages to go. THAT makes no sense to me, at all....
    But....If I am not enjoying a book or don't understand anything I am reading----it gets closec up and given away or, OUT in the trash it goes!(I cannot say I have thrown that many books in the trash, but I certainly have put books down and never picked them up again I cannot waste my time on something that is so dense or so difficult or so boring..There are so many WONDERFUL books out there....Why Torture Yourself??

  4. I can put a book down easily if I'm not interested. I think I have a distraction problem so I have to really be into whatever I'm reading.

  5. Not reading the last ten pages? Every romance and every mystery would be pointless without those all important last pages.
    I will admit that there are times I read the end first--I just work better when I know the end--the journey for me is how they get there, but not having an end? Nope, couldn't do it.

  6. I finish it. It's a compulsion. Especially with autobiographies or memoirs. I assume that even if I have no interest in the person otherwise, perhaps there is still something I can take from their live story. Like you, reading and stopping at the last 10 pages is incomprehensible to me. Is that guy a reading-masochist? Why would you do that to yourself?? LoL.

  7. I have difficulty not finishing a book, too. I want the rest of the story.

    Not reading the last ten pages after doing all the work to get there? That's just insane.

  8. It has only been in the last 4 years or so that I've allowed myself to quit reading a book I'm not enjoying. I finally decided life is too short to read bad books. I toughed through every book I picked up (sometimes putting it down and reading others before going back to finish it) until my late 30's. I found myself reading a book that sucked the joy out of my too short time to myself each day and finally decided I wasn't going to finish it. It was rather freeing. But I feel a weird kind of guilt when I walk away from a book so I do stick it out quite awhile before giving up.

    And with 10 pages left? I would totally finish it!

    If I hit a rough spot (like the 45 pg speech you mentioned) I sometimes skim to get through it.

  9. I'm shocked to hear that people skip the last 10 pages!

  10. I definitely couldn't skip the last 10 pages! the sign of a good book to me is one that I'm not willing to see end because I will "miss" the characters when I put the book down.

    But to struggle through a book that I don't like? No way, Jose! We are each given only so much time on earth and I will not willingly choose to spend any of it on things that do not bring joy (the joy can be mine or someone elses). And if I really need to know how it turned out ... I can ask when I get to Heaven!

  11. I have to finish a book, even if its bad. Because then I will always wonder if it got any better, it'll drive me crazy.

  12. I'm okay with dropping a book if I'm not into it after 100 pages or so... but with only ten pages left? NO WAY.
    That would be pure torture.
    That's like leaving the last bite of a cookie on the plate. Why? Why? It's one bite!

  13. I would never stop with just 10 pages left, for me that would be like 2 minutes of reading so might as well finish it up! I have stopped in the middle of some books before just because they were so atrocious, but very, very few!

  14. Any book I walk away from haunts me. When i was younger i NEVER did it, now adays though (especially after reading the book A Guide to Your Well-Read Life), i let myself off the hook. There are simply too many books out there in the world and i have to get to the ones i like!

    On the other hand, this insanity of leaving ten pages, well, that just seems maddening!! How does this man function? That is just the strangest thing I have ever heard. I can even understand the motivation behind it!

    I heard the 100 page rule from a colleague of mine (he's an English teacher) when I got frustrated after a casual conversation with some of my students where they told me they didn't like books. They were confused that I, a math teacher, did. So we developed the 100 page rule and I would ask them every day about what was going on in their books and ask them for book suggestions. It is a FANTASTIC rule for reluctant readers that don't understand how much time it takes to get into a story - 100 pages is a good estimate.

  15. Enjoyed this post Tracie. I do not like reading, period. I hate reading "Forwards." A book would really really have to interest me to keep me reading. Thank you for your prayers of encouragement as well. Blessings.

  16. Could never, ever, ever stop a book with 10 pages to go. Sometimes I'll walk away from a self-help or self-improvement book. But usually with fiction, I'm in it to the end.

    BTW, reading Beneath a Marble Sky right now - SO GOOD.

  17. I love Ayn Rand. However, I read The Fountainhead first and found Atlas Shrugged to be a little too similar...

    I don't do much reading these days, but when I start a book I literally have to force myself to stick with it. Any recommendations for books that don't take as long to get into??

  18. I just got a kindle and haven't been able to put it down. The Help is a fantastic book!!!

    I have never ever stopped reading with 10 pages left. I think he was probably saying that for shock value. A normal person could never do that. :)

    I can put down a bad book. Not worth my time.

  19. I was reminded of this post this weekend when at my in-law's house. We had been watching some cheesy movie on TV, when my husband turned to me and said, "You ready to go home?" THERE WAS 15 MINUTES LEFT IN THE MOVIE! Evidently, I have this problem with movies as well as books - I looked at him like he had 20000 heads and explained how ridiculous the question was :)
    My father-in-law agreed. Even though we all knew the movie was insane (ok, ok, I will admit it here publicly: it was SWAMP SHARK!), I still NEEDED to see the end!

  20. If I'm going to quit reading a book, I usually do it by the time I'm half-way through it. That said, I do think I have once or twice felt so tortured that I skimmed the last ten pages. :)

    Glad you linked this up--great question.

  21. The older I get the more willing I am to desert a bad read, but I could never read to the last 10 pages and quit. If it held my attention that long, I'd need to know the ending.

    That said, there are no reading police, just as there are no knitting police. Do whatever you choose! Who will know?