Quotes of the Day:
How long do you give a book to hook you before you give up on it?My test of a good novel is dreading to begin the last chapter.
You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.
This is something I've been thinking about recently, as I delve into editing my first few chapters. I know as aspiring authors, we are sort of conditioned to try and hook our readers (i.e. agents/editors) within the first three chapters...or better yet, the first chapter...or better still, the first page. Because we know when we query, we only have a few minutes of a very busy agent's time to hook them into asking for more of our book.
But when you are reading on your own, just for fun...how long will you read before laying the book aside? 1 chapter? 3 chapters?
I just started reading A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray...for the third time. I've picked it up twice before, and despite the facts that the passages were wonderful, there were exciting, strange, and mysterious things happening, and it is right up my alley as a historical...I just couldn't get into it.
This time around, I am finally hooked - I'm reading and thinking about it when I can't read, and wondering what happens next. And I'm 80 pages in. It took that long for me to get well and truly into the book.
There are several books that I've done this with, that I didn't really get hooked by until around page 80-100 (Twilight being one of them - bored me to tears for the first few chapters), and sometimes these books go on to be favorites of mine. Twilight, the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon (probably my all time favorite series, but the first chapter bored me a bit). Anne Rice's books are notorious for this, with me at least. The first several chapters are beyond boring, and then I get really hooked.
Most of the time, I stick with these books as long as I do because I've had so many people tell me how much they love them. So I continue slogging through either hoping I'll eventually see in them what others have, or wondering what it is that others love so much and assume if I keep reading I'll figure it out. With Anne Rice, I stick with them because I know if I can just make it to chapter 3, I'll be loving it (except for one of hers....I gave it about 100 pages and then just gave up).
Without that word-of-mouth incentive, or a prior good experience with the author, I doubt I would have given any of those books a second look...I would have gotten bored and put them down, never to touch them again. But I still try to give books 100 pages to catch my attention - mostly because that seems to be my magic mark, the point at which you've either got me or you don't.
So how about you? How long will you give a book to hook you?