RULE: Give a book 50 pages. Don’t like it after 50? Stop reading. Bring back to library. No questions asked!

Reading is freedom:

  • Freedom to read what YOU like, not what the “experts” say you should like.
  • Freedom to try anything.
  • Freedom to read both highbrow and lowbrow.
  • Freedom to stretch yourself.

Life is too short to read uninteresting books! Give yourself permission to try—and to skip—new books.

Nancy Pearl is as close as librarians get to Rock Star status. She has read EVERYTHING and written multiple books (Book Lust, More Book Lust) on picking books that YOU want to read. She also encourages readers to read what they like in any genre, not just what the experts (or Oprah!) say you should read.

Plus, she is the human model for the Librarian Action Figure, with Amazing Shushing Action!

What books did not make your Rule of 50?

(Confession: I have never finished Pride and Prejudice, though I was assigned it for multiple classes. And I threw Eat, Pray, Love across the room. I had enough of the whining after 5 pages.)

Written by Suzanne

Suzanne has loved books from an early age, and remembers reading her 24 volume World Book Encyclopedia set when she ran out of novels. Now that she works in a library, she will never run out of reading material again! Suzanne is a recent MLS graduate who loves working with students and technology.

This article has 10 comments

  1. Amanda H

    Great post Suzzane!!!

    I never finished “The Dollmaker” and “Inherent Vice”. I only finished “The DaVinci Code” out of absolute spite (and so that I could wholly dislike the book). However, when I did finish, it was also thrown across the room.

    I’ve tried time and time again to read “The Similarion” but it’s just too dense – I couldn’t even make it 50 pages!

  2. Heather

    I’ve always loved this….

    “There is only one way to read, which is to browse in libraries and bookshops, picking up books that attract you, reading only those, dropping them when they bore you, skipping the parts that drag-and never, never reading anything because you feel you ought, or because it is part of a trend or a movement. Remember that the book which bores you when you are twenty or thirty will open doors for you when you are forty or fifty-and vise versa. Don’t read a book out of its right time for you. ”
    — Doris Lessing

  3. Suzanne

    Right time is so important! Books that I loved as a teen would seem boring now. And I have said over and over I am just too old for Twilight…all that looking while not looking is tedious.

    I wonder what books I missed or tried that I can look forward to in my future?

  4. Suzanne

    I’ve skipped The Silmarillion for the same reason. DaVinci Code? I could hardly watch the movie.

    Maybe we should start a list of “Must-skip Reads!”

  5. Wade Cockfield

    There are millions of books out there, and I cannot afford to spend time reading 50 pages before deciding it’s not a good read. Fortunately, there are book reviews available on the net to help you decide what is interesting and what is not.

  6. Suzanne

    Wade, reviews are a great resource. Amazon and Goodreads often help me decide whether to check a book out…or NOT!

  7. Heather

    I like the “must skip reads” post idea a lot!

    Da Vinci Code would be on that list for me too…

  8. Suzanne

    I’ll add Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert (sequel to Eat Pray Love) to that list. And Merle’s Door by Ted Kerasote. Though one of our library student assistants really liked it.

  9. Jacquelyn Dunn

    I had never heard of the rule of 50 but I agree with you fully. I read a lot but if a get about 50 to 75 pages into a book and I just can’t wait to read the next page i know it’s time to hang it up.

  10. Suzanne

    Even fast readers cannot read it all! I use the rule of 50 to get myself off the hook when needed. Sometimes a book just is not for me.

    Thanks for the comment!

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