I’ve probably mentioned before that one of my favorite pasttimes is reading. As far back as I can remember, I’ve always loved reading a great book and getting lost in the story. I don’t have nearly as much time as I used to to read, but thankfully I’m part of a book club that meets every month, providing me a most excellent excuse to always have a book on my night stand. Typically the books I like to read are well-written with intricate plots, interesting characters, and some unexpected twists and turns along the way. I like a good “deep thoughts” book, especially the kind that leave the reader wanting more at the end. I love discussing a great book with others, and delving into the issues that a book brings up. Don’t get me wrong, I also like the occasional ‘chick lit’ read as well…something that doesn’t take much brain power when I’m reading it at 10:30pm.

One thing I don’t have, though, is much patience for reading a book that doesn’t grab me within the first few chapters. I have a hard time reading a book that doesn’t interest me or is poorly written, when I know I could be spending my precious reading time reading something else that I’d really enjoy. Usually I try to make it all the way through the books that are chosen for the book club (each month’s book is chosen by a different member) so that I have a thing or two to add to the five minute** book discussion when we meet. But there have been times when getting through just a page of a book has been excruciating, so I’ll put it down never to be touched again.

Here’s my strategy for deciding if I’m going to read a book. 1.) I read the title and look at the cover (and yes, make an initial judgement based on the cover!), 2.) read the synopsis of the book on the back cover or inside jacket, 3.) this one is key: I read the first line of the book. If I’m instantly intrigued and interested, I know it’s going to be a book I’ll like. Usually this third step turns into me reading the first paragraph and page of the book, and if I want to keep going right then and there I figure it’s going to be a book I will really like!

If I start reading a book and it’s so-so, I’ll usually keep reading it, especially if it’s a book club book. I’ll also keep reading it if my home is completely barren of other reading materials. If a book is BAD, as in totally dull or horribly written, I will usually give it about 30 pages and will then call it done. I just can’t waste my nightly reading time on something I won’t enjoy. There have been a handful of occasions when a book has been so bad that I won’t read beyond about 5 pages, but that is rare.

Here’s what I’m wondering for the second half of Thursday… Do you like to read books? Do you judge a book by its cover? How do you decide if you’re going to read a book? How long will you give a book a chance before you give up on it? One page, 50, 100?

And, can you recommend any great reads for me??

**Book club typically entails 5-10 minutes of book discussion time (depending on the deep-thoughtsy-ness of the book, and 110-115 minutes of wine drinking and gossip.