Tuesday, October 10, 2006

rule of 50

Librarian extraordinaire Nancy Pearl advocates what she calls "the rule of fifty."
The rule of fifty "acknowledges that time is short and the world of books is immense. [...] If you're fifty years old or younger, give every book about fifty pages before you decide whether to commit yourself to reading it or giving it up" (Book Lust, xi-xii). The older you are (over 50) the less you need to read before you make that decision.
The point is, reading should be pure pleasure. You haven't failed that author by not enjoying the book. Instead, the author has, at that moment in your life, failed you. That doesn't mean that in six days, or six months, or six years, or sixty years, you won't go back to the book and find that you love it. All it means is that at that particular moment in your life, you were looking for a different sort of book. (More Book Lust, xiii)
Why am I writing about this?
Well, besides the fact that I love Nancy Pearl, I recently had to give up on a book that I was reading, which always makes me feel guilty. Yes, she's a great role model, but mostly I need Nancy to help assuage my guilt. ;)

That and I'm looking forward to her new book Book Crush, which is set to hit shelves in April.


  1. I loved these quotes from Pearl's book. This last year I gave up on a number of books, but I usually read to page 80-100 before tossing them aside.
    I'm over 50, so I'm giving those books too big of a chance.

  2. I've said that for a long time now. One of my profs had told me not to bother reading something I hated, unless it was for a class assignment.

    Why waste time on the bad stuff when there's so much good waiting to be discovered?

    That's also why I count the books I haven't finished. I spent time with them -- AND I need to remember what I hadn't liked!!