My true problem with reading is that I very rarely give up on a novel.

It’s the same mantra I preach to my kids (with varying levels of success). However, sometimes it pays off.

My kids’ generation are (sadly?) used to novels that read more like action movies – dumping them in the action in the first five pages, lest they lose these fickle readers. So when they are reading older, classic novels, I always ask them to suspend judgement, to enjoy the slower pace and stronger character development, the richer vocabulary, the assumption that they have an attention span longer than 30 seconds, and to allow themselves to delve into the story. I love when my sons return to me and tell me that the novel really got better mid-way and that they were pleased to have stuck with it.

So it seems unfair not to follow this advice myself. But, goodness! Sometimes it’s just too much.

I have discovered my penchant for taking a “vacation” from novels I can’t stand – by reading other novels I know I’ll enjoy before returning to the unloved tome awaiting me on my bedside table.

This happened recently with a much-lauded 700-page literary novel. In the end,  I hated it,, but no one can claim I didn’t try, hoping (beyond hope, apparently) that it would get better. On the plus side, I took two very amusing ‘vacations’ – interrupting the dull, pretentious novel to read others I really enjoyed.

What about you, readers? Do you finish almost all novels you start, or do you give up easily if it’s not working for you? Do you ever, like me, find yourself taking a ‘vacation’ from your chorelike-reading with more enjoyable novels?