Chatterbox: How do you cope with a slow book? [POLL]

March 6, 2015 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | Books, Chatterbox, Features

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So I’m stuck reading Dreamfire by Kit Alloway at the moment for review. It’s quite a slow and draggy book, with some pretty heavy concepts about dreams. It’s taken me all week to read it so far, because I’m just not motivated to pick it up. All I can think of is when I’ll be able to pick up The Winner’s Crime and The Mime Order which are on my desk staring back at me.

Do you ever just get stuck reading a book that you just want over and done with? Either because you need to review it, or because you don’t want to DNF a book on principle, or because you only read one book at a time? All of these things apply to me, but I also use books I know I’ll love as a motivator to get through review reads.

I’m in this predicament because I saved up those books to read as a reward. Instead of dropping everything when The Winner’s Curse arrived in the mail, I decided to be sensible and finish some review reads first. But every rave review, every positive comment and the beautiful covers whispering ‘pick me up’ are about to break my resolve, and the slow and draggy pace of my current book isn’t really helping.

I can’t help but feel my lack of concentration or my need to quickly finish my book just to get it over with is kind of unfair though. Once it’s finally finished, I’m probably going to reduce the rating based on how slow the pacing is. But is this because I just want to read something else, and this reward behaviour isn’t really working? Or is it the book at fault for not really grabbing me? If I was in the mood for a slow paced book, would I enjoy it more? All these things are swirling in my head, while I’m procrastinating about reading it again.

Help me decide: What should I do with my slow book?

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Do you save books up to read as a reward? What did you answer above? 

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Jeann is an Aussie blogger, gamer, reader who loves to read, write, fangirl, geek out and eat food. You can find me glued to one of my many mobile devices 24/7, or fangirling over the latest YA book, TV show, movie or game. Chat with me on Twitter @happyindulgence

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93 responses to “Chatterbox: How do you cope with a slow book? [POLL]

  1. skmgames

    I was one of the very few that said…finish it even though it will take forever. I always worry that if I skim…I will miss an important piece of the story. Don't get me wrong, I have done it, skimming, but rarely. Ugh…I hate a slow book! This is the year that I'm starting a DNF shelf…I'm late to the party on that one! *shrugs*
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  2. wakeitupblog

    Scanning. I can read VERY fast when I'm not taking everything in properly. And some books for review, either unsolicited or ones I THOUGHT would be good but aren't, are just so hard to get through, sadly 🙁
    Jio SD

  3. I think we all run into books like this now and then! I just read one and I knew I didn't like it almost from the beginning, but it was a review book so I knew I had to read MOST of it. I ended up skimming the last 3rd because I couldn't take it! I rarely do that, but sometimes you have to:-D

  4. danielleisbusyreading

    I have a really hard time putting down a book with the mindset that I'm gonna get back to it later if I'm not already enjoying it… I'd much rather DNF it completely, or start skimming. Over and done with, sort of thing. I just read your review, so I know what your decision was, but coping with a slow book can be so difficult. Recently for me that's been The Bone Season (DNF) and Poison Study (finished without skimming, but wow was that difficult lol!)

    • Yeah, I actually skim quite a lot if it's starting to frustrate me to see if it gets better. What a shame, I loved Bone Season and thanks for the warning about Poison Study lol.

  5. I don't think I've ever used books as a reward, except back when I was studying for exams. I'd say: study for two hours, and then you can read a chapter of your book (or something along those lines). But I've never used them in respect to review books because I read those in order of their release date 😀

    As for slow books, if I specifically requested to review it, I'll probably stick it out but if it's unsolicited … no way. There are SO MANY books to read, Jeann, and not enough time for you to waste on boring books that you're not enjoying!
    My recent post Review: Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

    • I know, it was actually an unsolicited review copy which is surprising that I stuck with it anyway! Anyway, I'll have to prioritise the ones I actually requested first I think.

  6. Oh I've definitely been in your position before girl! Sometimes you just can't get into a book no matter what and in that case I would mark it as DNF. However, sometimes you're just not in the mood/feel like there's still potential- so I mark it as 'on hold.' However, I'm beginning to notice that books I shelf as 'on hold' I just never tend to go back to. Oooops.

    Haha really though, I understand the struggle. There's so many brilliant books out there that when you're reading one that's super slowwwww/you're not connecting with it, it can feel almost torturous.

    Lovely and relatable post Jeann <33
    My recent post Blog Tour: Dead to Me

    • Oh I know, it's just so frustrating because I've had a few in the row! But yeah, I've noticed that too. Life's too short for boring books!

  7. Faye M.

    Haha, it's so funny which option the readers chose more! I do get what you mean, though… there are slow, and there are SLOOOOOOOOOOW, to the point that your eyes start seeing words swirl all around. When that happens to me, I just read another book for the meantime and come back to it. Or else I'll hate reading and I'll hate the book and we'll all be unhappy!
    My recent post Say It With Bubbles: Fairest by Marissa Meyer

    • I know, interesting poll results hehe! Looks like the majority is in agreeance, if you're not in the mood for it, put it down. Oh man, if it's slow it makes me procrastinate and clean the house and stuff like that

  8. readerswonderland

    The results are really interesting! I chose DNF the book – ain't nobody got time for that because I lack patience with anything that has poor pacing but in your situation I should have probably picked Put it down and reading The Winner's Crime just so you could maybe get a more accurate reading on whether it's the book or just that you want to read that one more.
    My recent post How to Get New Books Without Spending a Dime

    • I know, I think I might do more polls because it's interesting seeing how everyone would approach it differently.

  9. Oh Jeann the minute I read "Put it down and just read THE WINNER'S CRIME" I knew what I would choose. At this point it's not even a question. HAPPY READING MY LOVE <3
    My recent post Confess: Review

  10. I normally love slow books-not the draggy ones,but the ones with too many feels,and emotions-but I can understand that it can be tough to read a slow book.I think you should give it up if you don't feel like reading it.Give it a second chance later if you think it deserves it.
    My recent post My favourite contemporary heroines.

    • I do like them when I'm in the mood for it, but yeah if I can't concentrate or have other things on then it's pretty hard to read them.

  11. reader741

    I too sometimes struggle with books i remember encountering similar problem when i was reading Jonathan strange & Mr Norell by susane clarke there were a lots of places in the book where i struggled but i continued on and was rewarded by an amazing book, so my advice to you is the book may have some slow spots but it may pay off in the end
    http://freepdfs.net

  12. I usually do two things: Either I put it back and reread afterwards, or I DNF it if I know I'm never coming back to it. Even if I have to review it, I just email the publisher and explain why I cannot review it and try to give feedback instead. 🙂
    My recent post Blog tour excerpt: Fairy, Texas

    • Oh dear, I would never have wanted to re-read it because it took so long to begin with lol. That's a good practice as well!

  13. If you're not clicking with it, I'd leave it or pass it onto someone else to review maybe. I never skim, and if I do, I rarely review those I have. Skimming doesn't give me the whole picture of what's going on within the storyline and I can't really write an informed review that way either. I think if it's dragging you down and your mind is already on your next read, give it up. I give a book until quarter to half the way through, if it's not holding my interest, I put it down. Life is too short for boring books Jeann, pick up The Winner's Crime. That one's phenomenal.
    My recent post The Giver by Lois Lowry

    • Yeah, I was more than 60% of the way through though so it was pretty far in when I decided it wasn't getting anywhere. I usually read to 50% before deciding to DNF, especially if it isn't better after skimming.

  14. I think if you have no motivation to read it, but you think you would read it later, take a break and read what is currently drawing your attention. If you're not even enjoying what you're reading now though, then it should probably be a DNF, and the reasons for that would go in the review.
    My recent post #Shelflove: Share Your Sources for Free Books

  15. Eugenia

    It's always tough in these situations – I've had the same thing happen to me with some unscolicited review copies that I wanted to get through, and some just weren't for me. I think mood comes in to it to a certain extent, but if The Winner's Crime is calling your name, then I think you deserve to run to it! Bookish sacrifices sometimes just have to be made, though in the end you have to do what feels right for you 🙂
    My recent post Genie's Weekly News (25)

  16. When it's so draggy, I always start to skim and sometimes I continue to read again towards the ending. I just can't deal with slow books if they don't grab my attention.

  17. If it's a book I'm reading for review, I will skim. If it's a book I'm reading just because I wanted to read it, no pressure type of thing, I'll put it down and come back later. I try not to DNF books. In fact, I have some books that are slow, but I like the basis of the story, that I text myself what page I stopped at, save the text, and than whenever I come back to it, I know for sure where I left off. Sometimes it's just my state of mind at that time that keeps me from enjoying a book.
    My recent post Review &amp; Giveaway ~ Fingers in the Mist by O'Dell Hutchison

    • Coming back to it later is a good plan if we're just not feeling it. This one was one I needed to read it for review, so I ended up skimming. But yes, it's all up to what we're feeling at the time.

  18. haha I can't vote! Because my answer is, and always will be (unless I've read the book already and can tell you that it gets fabulous in the latter half): completely your choice. If you want to put it down, put it down. If you want to keep going, go for it. I'm a complete mood reader, so I'll always do what I feel like at the time, and encourage others to do the same 😛
    My recent post Where Are All the Male Protagonists?

    • I'm so glad I stuck with it Nara because the ending was fantastic! I skimmed until it started to pick up, and glad I did. I'm a mood reader too hahaha.

  19. I'd say put it down and read something you actually want to read. I can read multiple books at once, so I don't have the problem of HAVING to finish a book. But on the other hand, I don't want to spend a month reading the same book, so I'll make an effort to plow through it every once in a while. It just depends on my mood. I'm currently reading Mistborn, which is a really long book. But I don't always feel like reading it and the book takes a while, so I'll read some Harry Potter in between 🙂 (read: I've been reading nothing but Harry Potter for the past three days. Mist-who?)
    My recent post Fantasy Favourites Read-a-thon

    • I know, I should do multiple books when I'm just not feeling one just so I don't fall into a slump! Sometimes I'm in the mood for a slow book though.

    • I did like the concept too, but I didn't expect it to include so much drama and character trauma and stuff. In the end, I ended up liking it! Thanks Benish!

  20. Oh Jeann! This used to be my biggest question. And I used to be stubborn as hell, always refusing to DNF. But when life got really overwhelming for me last year and time was uber low, suddenly I was only faced with one option. Love it or leave it. And I learnt that the DNF wasn't bad at all. At first sign that a book was boring/didn't connect/ wasn't going to do it, I'd abandon. Because life's short Jeann. And you gotta live it the way you want! 😉 BUT super interesting topic! <3
    My recent post The Winner's Trilogy #2: The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski

    • I know right, sometimes we just HAVE TO DNF for our sanity and so we don't fall into a reading slump. It's so true Jess!

  21. I usually power through them if I really hate the slowness of a book, but it always leaves me feeling mentally drained. I think it kind of depends on how far you have gotten through it; if you are closer to finishing it, i'd say just start skimming. If not…maybe another book is a nice break. 🙂
    My recent post Review: The Question of Miracles by Elana K. Arnold

    • YESSS I hope you end up reading The Winner's Crime, I just want to savour it so much! You're so right Mel.

    • I know, I have read 3 slow books in a row which is what made it so draggy and dreary for me. Hopefully the Winner's Curse is good.

  22. Charlene @ Bookish Whimsy

    I usually DNF whenever I'm not feeling a book, so that's what I picked for your poll, but I think if you still find the story somewhat interesting, probably putting it down for now until you are more in the mood for it is a better idea.

    I hope you're able to get to The Winner's Curse asap though! 🙂

    • It's interesting to see what most people would do, glad to see DNF is an option if you're just not feeling the story. Thanks Charlene, I ended up picking it up finally!

    • I know, it can really put us off reading if we just aren't interested. These days I skim a lot if its really draggy.

  23. I was one of the very few that said…finish it even though it will take forever. I always worry that if I skim…I will miss an important piece of the story. Don't get me wrong, I have done it, skimming, but rarely. Ugh…I hate a slow book! This is the year that I'm starting a DNF shelf…I'm late to the party on that one! *shrugs*

    I know I wasn't much help! 😉
    My recent post The Deal (Off Campus #1) by Elle Kennedy

    • Hehe, it was definitely interesting in seeing everyone's different opinion, I'll definitely be adding more polls I think! I ended up skimming, and didn't feel like I missed much.

  24. Braine-Talk Supe

    This so happenin to me right now. What I'm doing is read a few pages of the slow book, then read what I want if in between. Just get it out of my system you know. Like a pesky craving that won't go away until you've had it. Maybe then you'll be calmer when you read the slow book and less distracted.
    My recent post Shelley Liked It: Death Marked by Leah Cypess

  25. I was never, and never will be, a fan of delayed gratification so go ahead and read Winner's Crime.
    In my case, my reward's usually reading especially after a stressful exam period from grad school so whenever i got time to read I just choose what book I want to read.

    • I know, I've just had 3 in a row which makes it even more painstaking. I did the same as you, skimmed to the last 3rd lol. It's even better when you realised you haven't missed much

    • Yeah, I ended up skimming the rest of the book until the end. Hehe, I guess it was slow for me because I wanted to read something else!

    • Yes, The Bone Season could definitely be slow and draggy but I was prepared for a big book when I picked it up now lol. Yeah, I ended up skim reading with this one!

  26. Bieke (Nelly B.)

    I find that if I put it down to come back to it "later" I don't ever pick it up again, so I just DNF it if I really don't feel the motivation to pick it up again. When I feel that way, I know I won't enjoy the book at all when I force myself to read it. It sucks, but it happens. So I'd DNF it if I were you. But that's just me.
    My recent post {Review} When Joss Met Matt by Ellie Cahill

    • I know, that's why I was hesitant to take a break from it cos I couldn't see myself picking it up again!

    • Thanks Cynthia, looks like the competition was on between come back to it later and skimming! I find some slow books don't get better until the 50% mark.

  27. If you need to review the slow book, than start skimming it to see if it gets better. If not, just DNF it and jump on THE WINNER'S CRIME. That is what I would do 🙂 Once I am not enjoying book and put it down, it never get better when I get to it "later".
    My recent post BLURB LOVE #1

    • Yes, that's exactly what I ended up doing! I was already more than halfway through, so it really helped the book process to speed up. I'm glad I didn't DNF, because it got better later.

  28. I'm all for reading 2 books at once if something is super slow. xD I was reading The Help and it took me 3 days! I loved it, buuuut after usually finishing a book a day it was just weirdly draggy. I ended up reading two books at once and basically reading 100 pages of The Help and then an entire smaller (probs MG) book besides it. I hate slow books. I hate not progressing fast. But if the book is good (the Help definitely was) then yes, i have to do the balancing act or go crazy. XD
    My recent post Mini Reviews // The Honest Truth – Before The Fire – Mind Games

    • Ah yes, I sometimes read two books at once too, especially if I'm not feeling one of them. Yeah, I'm the same as you Cait, I hate not progressing because of all the amazing other books I could be reading! Glad you ended up liking The Help (one of my favourites!)

    • I know, I ended up just skimming the book so I could get it over and done with. I've had about 3 in a row unsolicited review copies that were slow and hard to get through :/ think I need to read some me reads now.

  29. I think put it down and go read The Winner's Crime, it looks like a really good book! I had a book like this last week, and I took a break and read something else for awhile. When I came back to the other book it wasn't that bad as it felt, I think I just needed a break.
    My recent post Heat for free one last day!

  30. Bec

    I save books up as a reward for studying haha

    I already know what you did with this haha and I'm glad you continued because it did get decent in the end! That's something that always stops me when I'm struggling with a book– the potential for it to become great just a page away from where I stopped (it's happened before. I put a book down for THREE YEARS then kicked myself for not reading to the next chapter when I finally got to it)

    Whether I put a book down or not really depends on how I'm feeling and how far I am. If I'm still in the first 50 pages or so I'll put it down because that's a sign I'm not in the mood for it. I never skim though. My brain just can't do that. I've tried.

    Sometimes I also ask the internet/people who've read it because they should be able to tell me whether it's worth pushing on or trying again later.
    My recent post Review: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

    • HAhah I'm glad I'm not the only one that does it! But why are we delaying ourselves from that gratification lol! Yeah, I ended up skimming a lot of it and then reading it when it picked up towards the end. If I put it down, I would forget everything about it I think.

  31. karawrites15

    I think maybe put it down. Perhaps you're just not getting into it now, whereas if you put it down, read something else, and come back to it later, you'll be looking at it with a fresher perspective.
    My recent post Friday Photography (11)