Blame my Ouma. She was the one who always made me finish my food, and somehow that got messed up in my brain to include always finishing a book once I'd started it.
I've spent many hours of my life chewing through dry, tasteless prose that I somehow thought was cleansing my mental colon. But no more.
Since I became a mother there really is just no time for reading a book in the hope it will redeem itself. These days I give a book a maximum of three fair tries, and if it doesn't catch me ? it's out.
I do still feel for the author, though, and often an unfinished book will lie on my bedside table for months, glaring accusingly at me before I guiltily sweep it onto the book mountain on the bookcase.
I asked my real-life bookclub friends what they do, and discovered that they pretty much deal with unsatisfactory books the same way.
Tracy, a toddler-mommy and educational author, says that working with books has made her more ruthless about what she'll read: 'I used to always persevere but as I've got older I'm more aware of the opportunity-cost to me of reading a crap book - what other worthwhile thing could I be doing with this precious time? Preferably reading a really good book for instance!'
Desiree, with two teens and a demanding NGO job, has even less patience for a book that doesn't tempt: 'I don't bother giving a book a fair chance. If it doesn't grab me, I dump it. But being the moody cow I am, I often assume it is my bad temper that has adversely affected me. So I will try a second time. If my response is the same as the first time ? it's out.
I've spoken to some people who have a 100-page rule, or a one-chapter rule - if it's not gripping by then, they move on.
What's your rule, or do you still give each book its due cover-to-cover reading, no matter what? Tell us in the comment box below.