I am something of a compulsive reader, so have no problem choosing books to read, as I will read almost anything and will force myself through it to the end in the hope that the story improves, as if by slogging through 200 odd pages the author deserves some kind of literary redemption. Though, when a book is dire, there’s only so much you can hope for it to improve…as in the case of James Joyce and A Portrait of The Artist as a Young Man, the only book I have ever given up on.
How, though, does the “normal” reader (if we define normal as being someone who doesn’t pick up tubes of toothpaste in bathrooms so they have something to read) go about choosing a book? I read today about the Page 99 Test, which involves reading page 99 of the book you are considering buying to decide if you can read it all the way through.
I suppose this has the advantage of avoiding the disappoinment that comes with books like The Angel’s Game, which have such a strong opening that you feel let down by the rest of the book. I never actually read the first page before buying a book though. I’m very much of the, can I fancy that blurb school of thought. More often than not I can.
Do you have a method for screening books before you read them? I worry that the Page 99 Test could give something away, or put me off a good book before I start it.