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A Writer On Writing: Giving Up On A Book

Sally Jenkins gives up on a book after reading half of it.

I feel guilty this week because I gave up on a book half-way through.

Itís something I never used to do but as I get older I am gradually doing it more often. And every time I do it I feel bad. I donít know why I feel bad Ė itís not as if the author is breathing down my neck checking that I read every word or that Iím going to be tested on it at a later date.

Maybe itís because Iím acknowledging that my choice of book was not up to scratch or because Iíve wasted my time getting as far as I did with the book Ė when I couldíve been reading something better.

I wonít name this book but the jacket is covered with glowing review excerpts from all the major newspapers. So I feel that I should have enjoyed it. Does that mean thereís something wrong with me?

Iíve just had a look at the bookís Amazon reviews, they are all 4 or 5 star except one. That single 2 star review makes me feel better Ė so at least Iím not alone in being unable to appreciate this book which the Guardian tells me is Ďa real page-turnerí and the Literary Review says is an Ďimpressive piece of storytellingí.

How do you deal with books that donít live up to expectations?

Finally, here are a couple of quotes that Iíve come across. Take them as a confidence booster. Forget all those ĎIím not good enoughí voices in your head and just sit down and write!

To live a creative life we must lose our fear of being wrong. - Joseph Chilton Pearce.

I am the MASTER of my FATE. I am the CAPTAIN of my SOUL.- William Ernest Henley.


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