Clearing the Bookshelf

A month or two ago, I had to set aside Is That a Gun in Your Pocket? Women’s Experience of Power in Hollywood by Rachel Abramowitz.

I had high hopes for this book, but the writing gave me a headache, and it became one of those books that live in my “read a few pages, then set it aside for a while” category. The book jumped stories and individuals too often, and despite the number of pages, the information provided wasn’t really anything new. Since I was 3/4 of the way through the book, I decided to have one final go at it, but it wasn’t meant to be, so I’ve decided that it’s time to put it down for good.

I’m so glad it only cost me $2.99 at Book Warehouse – there’ll be no guilt feelings when it gets ‘recycled’ at the local second hand bookstore, as I’m sure someone will find it and enjoy it.

The experience with the Abramowitz book is something of a rarity these days, as I’ve become quite ruthless and take the same tactic with ‘owned’ books as I do with library books – if they don’t grab me within the first 100 pages, I go on to something else. Turns out I’m not the only person to do this. Steve Leveen, the CEO & founder of one of my favourite sites has written a book entitled “The Little Guide To Your Well-Read Life “, in which he also advocates putting down a book if it doesn’t grab you. The premise interests me, so I’m going to see if I can locate it at my local bookstore. If I do, I’ll read it and post a review, but be warned – I’m not an academic, I don’t have a scholarly approach to reading, and my opinions about books (and I have many!) are based on gut feelings.


The practice of being ruthless explains why once again, the boy and I have an empty paper box full of books we’ve decided to send back out into the world. Unfortunately we still have a rather tall stack in our main room that demands attention, so getting through that stack is on our ‘projects’ list for the summer, and with luck that stack will be off to the second hand bookstore (or back on the shelves) within the next month. We’ve already given a few away to friends and family that have shown interest.

Having said that, I’ve been tagged for a book meme by Christine of BTW and Pearl of Humanyms, so I’ll be posting that soon.

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Posted on June 21, 2005, in 2009. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Hi! I’m here via Michele today, and what a coincidence it is – I helped edit Steve’s book!I do freelance work for Levenger. I also happen to have a copy of that book…I use the 50-page rule. Life’s too short to waste on a book that doesn’t captivate you.

  2. Oh, I do agree with Leveen, Megan and you. If a book does not grab me I will not continue reading it, there are too many wonderful books to waste readign time on ones that are not engaging me. Megan is very generous with her fifty page rule.

  3. Well Cin, it looks like I’m below you once again on Michele’s comments!Hi again! Let me know if you want to borrow that book…

  4. I have a 50 page rule, and in the book store, I check out a few pages in the beginning and also jump to the middle to make sure the writing is just as good there before I buy something. It seems that a some new authors are having the first few chapters of their books heavily “workshopped” and then the book can really go down hill from there in some cases. Sadly, a lot of publishers aren’t into having editors do the kinds of things that they used to … like edit books.

  5. I’m in the process of doing the same thing – I have three boxes – a ‘keep’ box, and ‘ebay’ box and a ‘charity shop’ box. It’s so hard!

  6. What wonderful comments! I’ve searched through all the more easily accessible bookstores here for Mr. Leveen’s book, and will start on the independents this weekend. Megan I may be taking you up on your offer…

  7. Very good post – I am a book fiend as well, and have quite the collection of books that I really need to finish going through and sorting out into the “keep” and the “Goodwill” piles.I was tagged by the book meme a week or two ago – very cool to read your responses as well.Oh, and Michele sent me! Hi!

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