Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Rule of 50

Ever bought a book where you thought you would enjoy it, and then later realized it was awful? Then you wonder if you should continue. Well, why not follow The Rule of 50?

I’ve never heard of the Rule of 50 until I picked up my copy of Book Lust. This was the rule Nancy Pearl had always gone by, and I thought this was great advice. Simply put, the rule went like this:
“If you’re 50 years old or younger, give every book about 50 pages before you decide to commit yourself to reading it or give it up. If you’re over 50, which is when time gets even shorter, subtract your age from 100 - the result is the number of pages you should read before deciding.” - Nancy Pearl from Book Lust

Nancy Pearl also suggested to consider your mood. Do you feel that you should give up reading that book or come back to it later at another time?

Ninety percent of the time, if I don’t like the book, I stop reading it. I suppose the saying, “First impressions lasts,” rings true to me. My time is valuable. I don't like to waste it. I believe I could use that time to find other books that I will enjoy reading. It doesn’t matter whether or not the book received good reviews. Each of us is unique so we're not always going to like the same thing.

So how about you? Would you return and continue to read the book even if you don’t enjoy it? Or do you just give it up? Your thoughts?


  1. I'm all over that rule. If I think that the book might have merit, I'll give it a little more, but I never feel bad if I ditch it after 50. I just did that with The Devil In The Junior League this week... check out my book inspection.

  2. I've tried to follow that rule before, but then I start to think, "What if it gets better? What if it only started off slow, but turns into something amazing?" So then I end up finishing the book...and most of the time I still find it dreadful.

    ~ Popin

  3. If it is a book that I am reading for a review, I try to stick with it - though I just had one that I finally had to give up! I did put it up for a giveaway though in hopes that someone else would like it! But I agree, if it is a book that I have just picked up for pleasure - 50 pages is long enough to decide whether I am going to like it. For me though, if I am reading it at the wrong time or place (like before bed) it might be that I am just too tired to get interested and I should try it somewhere else!

  4. I've heard of this rule but without the 50 pages part. I rarely don't finish a book no matter how bad it is, but when I did (and I can only think of 2) I have kept them to give them another try later on. Sometimes I think we aren't in the mood for certain genre's and that's where the struggle starts. BTW, those books are still sitting around and it's been a few years!

  5. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I actually had to use this rule when I was reading Sundays at Tiffany's by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet. I went beyond 50 pages, hoping it would get better. Unfortunately, the characters were so dull that I couldn't stand it. I was so disappointed because I enjoyed Patterson's Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas so much.

    And Suzanne...I still keep those "Rule of 50" books around too.