1. Raider
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    Raider Member

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    When did you first experience 'book escapism' and do you have a three chapter rule?

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by Raider, Mar 14, 2015.

    Everyone has that special book - the first one that made them realise what reading was all about. What was yours? Mine was The BFG - Roald Dahl when I was eight years old. I will never forget the feeling of melting into the pages and hiding under my duvet with my torch to finish the last chapters. Now, unless a book grips me within the first two of three chapters, I put it down and pick up another. In my view, there are far too many wonderful books to waste it on one that doesn't transport you. Do you always finish a book once you have started?
     

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  2. Hwaigon
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    Hwaigon Contributing Member Reviewer

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    Transformation by Carol Berg. The book helped me live through hard times of my grammar school, especially during
    a winter ski training.
     
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  3. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    hmm interesting question. Tough one as I didn't start reading much until 11-12 and read a strange mix of children's books, movie bios and true crime. I would say Harriet the Spy, though. Everyone in that book seemed to be such an individual such a far cry what was happening on tv sitcoms and children's series fiction. It was nice to see a girl who had a goal other than nabbing a 'hottie.'
     
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  4. Raider
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    Raider Member

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    Wow, Transformation has some amazing reviews online, so many people say how it is one of the best fantasy books they have read. I think I may need to give that one ago! I never read Harriet the Spy, but I do remember watching it on telly and it was brilliant. I agree, I like that the character was so different from others young girls depicted at that time. I was a super Jacqueline Wilson junkie as a teen, but I do remember thinking that Harriet was quite unique with her behaviour and backstory.
     
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  5. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I couldn't say, really, because I've been reading since before I started school. I got read to at home every night when I was a child, and couldn't wait to read the books myself. Some of the books were picture books, and some were not. I know I read avidly all my life, and have favourite books. But which was my first? Probably some version of fairy tales, which I loved. However, which ones? Couldn't say.

    I have no rule about when I stop reading a book. If I'm buying one in a bookshop I usually thumb through a bit, to see if the style suits me or anything catches my eye. I don't actually start reading the first couple of pages until I get it home.

    I stop reading when I lose interest, and that can be just about anywhere. If I lose interest in a passage I usually skip ahead to see if it picks up. If it doesn't, then I get rid of it. I don't feel any guilt about this at all. My time is my own, and I'll read what I choose.

    One thing I've discovered ...I'm more likely to stick with a 'bad' book longer if I have it on Kindle. Probably because I can't really page ahead! But once I lose interest for good, I stop.
     
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  6. Talisien
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    Talisien Member

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    I am the same as jannert. I was read to from a very young age. I consumed 2 or 3 books a week from about 9 onwards. I used to go to the library and just sit and read as well. From the Water Babies and Beatrix Potter, through Enid Blyton and C.S.Lewis, Dr Seuss and Rudyard Kipling then on to Phillip Pullman and Anne McCaffrey.

    Nowadays I am quite careful about checking out the style of a book before I purchase it. Using Amazon and Kindle I browse many before I by so it not often I don't read a book through to the end. However. like jannert, I quite often skip forward through parts where I loose interest.
     
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  7. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Forgot to answer the second part of your question. No, I don't always finish a book when I start it - in fact I'm notoriously bad at starting books and not finishing them. I think it's because I fed myself on page turners as a child that now reading Thomas Pynchon and or such feels difficult. Sometimes I'll set the book aside for later, sometimes I'll read it out of order. I'll skip ahead to the middle read that - backtrack to find out how they got to this point, read the end and backpeddle again. I did this for The Road and several other literary books that I had a hard time getting into. I don't recommend this practice - one only wonders what it's doing to me when I try to construct my own stories.
     
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  8. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I loved different books at different ages. I think early on I was fascinated with folk tales and couldn't get enough of them. The earliest book I remember loving was The Horse Without a Head. Wuthering Heights and Lord of the Flies left an impact on me. I also loved reading This Baffling World, and used to believe the stories were fact. But I have since learned how such stories leave out a lot of facts in order to slant the evidence.

    Not sure why one needs a three chapter rule. I read and if it's not interesting I stop at that point, wherever it is in the book. Once in a great while I might suffer through the end of a book hoping for something redeeming to be there somewhere.
     
  9. Caeben
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    The Redwall series got me going as a kid. Still think pretty fondly of those books and I plan to reread them at some point.

    As for the three chapter rule, I don't strictly stick to three but I do need the book to do something within the first hundred or so pages. I tried reading the first of Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun and had to stop after about six or seven chapters, and I only got about 200 to 250 pages into Game of Thrones on the first read before tossing the book aside. Conversely, I gave up on CJ Cherryh's Faded Sun trilogy after two chapters. I'm going to try it again at some point, but it did absolutely nothing for me on the first go.
     
  10. Raider
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    Jannert, I agree I am more likely to finish a 'not so great' kindle book. I think it's because you are not put off by the length of it and can skim through quicker. I don't stick to any particular rule myself, but I do give up after a few chapters if I'm not hooked. I know a lot of people refuse to put a book down once started, even if they are hating it-I don't see the point in this. One thing I do hate is when you start a book and then it is released at the cinema! This is happening a lot more in recent years. I had this with The Book Thief. It was such a hefty read and I didn't want to finish it by watching the film. I did though, sadly I was just put off by the size of the book and went to the cinema with friends. As usual the film didn't do it much justice!
     
  11. Hwaigon
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    It really is a high-quality fantasy book, much on the par with A Game of Thrones or Earthsea Quartet. It isn't all too carried away by the imagery and retains a fair level of eart-boundness. I love these books.
     
  12. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Question #1- I don't remember, to be honest. :/

    Question #2- I go by the three page rule. If I'm not hooked by Pg. 3 of a book, then I will either read it sparingly or not at all. There are times when I get up to the double digits and just stop randomly because the book stopped being interesting to me.
     
  13. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hmm. I think(?) that the first book that I finished at essentially one sitting was Stuart Little. But the book that I went back to over and over and over and over as a child was The Doll's House by Rumer Godden. If they hadn't remodeled the children's room at that library, I could probably walk to the shelf where it belonged with my eyes closed.

    Forgot the second question: It's very rare for me to actually decide not to finish a book. However, I tend to read several books at once, so I may leave one at the bottom of the rotation until I forget that it exists.
     
  14. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    The first fictional book that made me experience escapism was either White Fang or Everest by Gordon Korman.

    Today I remember Everest better than White Fang. What hooked me was the topic/setting (I have always been obsessed with mountains and snowy environments) and the narrative structure. Now that I understand more about the craft of storytelling, I really appreciate how it is written. It is a trilogy perfectly divided into three acts. From page 1, almost to the last page, the story is defined by a very singular goal for the protagonist, and the pacing and escalation on the path toward that goal are flawless.

    Now I want to read it again. :p Actually, one day when I was probably 16, I suddenly got nostalgic for it and I read the entire trilogy in one day. Which is very uncharacteristic for such a slow reader as myself.
     
  15. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I always try to finish books I start. Some times I don't - but it's not a rule.

    And I guess the first time I got lost in a book was with Nineteen Eighty-Four, it really changed the way I saw things. Not sure when my first 'book escapism' was.
     
  16. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Easy question for me. Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. My little nine-year-old mind was blown. It created a huge sinkhole in my brain into which thousands of science fiction stories were thrown, forming a gigantic science fiction thing in my head: The Thing From A Thousand Sci-Fi Stories. :p

    I don't make it a point to finish a book if I'm not enjoying it. I have a limited amount of time in my life, and I'm not going to spend it reading something that isn't doing me any good. I read something until I get bored or until I finish. I realize that I might only have gotten bored because I wasn't in the mood for that book at that time, or because I wasn't mentally prepared for it. I often try books a second or even third time if I've given up after the first, and have been amply rewarded when I finally finish them (Hello, Ulysses! Hello, Moby-Dick!).
     
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  17. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    First book - well, if you count comics, I've been reading for as long as I can remember. Doraemon manga is what I grew up on :)

    First actual book - like, straight narrative - is Owl in the Office by Lucy Daniels (the Animal Ark series). Bought it at a school book fair after my mum nagged me to start reading. I was 10 at the time and had only been in England for 2 years, so I was still avoiding English books at the time. I already spoke the language just fine and understood everything, but still there was some psychological barrier between me and the language. I stuck fast to my Chinese comics. So anyway, finally gave in to my mum's nagging, picked up Animal Ark and ever since then, just kept on reading.

    Stuck with animal-themed books for maybe 1-2 years until my dad told me to start reading outside of that, saying I won't learn other important vocab if I only ever read one genre. So I picked up fantasy and stuck mostly with fantasy and romance thereafter. Discovered crime fiction when I was maybe 13 or 14. Discovered classics at uni. These days I've fallen back to YA fantasy and crime/thrillers.

    And nope, I don't always finish a book I start. I don't see the point - I've never understood people who tell me they're not enjoying the book but insist on finishing it because "I like to finish books I've started". As you say, OP, there're far too many good books for me to waste my time like that. Reading is quite a bit of effort and I'd only read what interests me. If a book was tolerable but not necessarily very interesting, I tend to stop between the 30-50% mark. After 30-50%, I figured I've really given it quite enough time to get warmed up. I gave it a chance. Time to move on!
     
  18. Gawler
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    Gawler Contributing Member

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    I consider myself lucky that my dad would take me to the library once a week and I would always take 1 or 2 books out. Given that I had a week to read them, my nose was always stuck in a book, both fiction and non-fiction.

    It is hard to remember which was the first book to really grab me but it is likely to be either Call of the Wild, War of the Worlds or Kidnapped. If you include comics then the little known Turok, Son of Stone was a big favorite. I never really cared for Superman, Batman or Marvel comics that much.

    It is very rare that I do not finish a book once I have started it. The only one that I can think of is Hannibal by Thomas Harris. I got through the first 100 pages on a plane flight and nothing happened so I gave up.
     
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  19. Rhys
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    Rhys Member

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    It's a boring answer but Harry Potter is the series that got me into reading. The first book was actually read to me by my teacher in school when I was around 8 or 9 years old. After that, I asked my mother to buy the next two books (funny story, I actually accidentally read Prisoner of Askaban before Chamber of Secrets) and I've been hooked on reading since.

    In terms of the three chapter rule, I don't really have a set rule but I have given up on certain books after the first chapter. If I get through the first chapter though, I usually finish the book, even if it's not that great.
     
  20. Hwaigon
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    Hwaigon Contributing Member Reviewer

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    I try to do the same but with some really boring books it's difficult to live up to that determination. I've read one trilogy for over four years now. Haven't finished, sadly.
     
  21. animenagai
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    animenagai Member

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    I grew up on Doraemon comics too! You lived in Hong Kong right? Yeah, a lot of my the fiction from my childhood was manga/anime. Dr Slump, Doraemon, Slam Dunk, those works made a real impression on me. I live in New Zealand now and a lot of my anime enthusiast friends don't know anything about these classics. It's a shame.

    In terms of 'straight narrative' books, a few of my primary school teachers got me hooked on Paul Jennings. They were great for classroom situations -- magical realism short stories that immersed you into the fantastical. I've always loved that genre.

    Outside of that, Animorphs were probably the first series I really got into. I started with the fifth book -- one from Marco's perspective -- I just wanted to be different back then lol (I started with the third Harry Potter book too :p). I was a real skimmer back then. I probably missed half the major plot points but hey, I loved the books nonetheless. I went through my cupboard a year ago and took this picture:

    [​IMG]

    As for the second question, I try to finish the books I've started. Sometimes it's worth it, sometimes it's not. I went through 500 pages of Shantaram before deciding that it wasn't for me.
     
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  22. Hwaigon
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    Hwaigon Contributing Member Reviewer

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    I find this very disturbing.
     
  23. animenagai
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    animenagai Member

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    The collection? :D
     
  24. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Indeed I did - originally from there actually, but emigrated when I was 8 :D I remember the disappointment I felt when I moved to England to discover no one has ever heard of Doraemon. They only discovered Totoro by the time I was something like... I dunno, 20. The first anime that properly broke into the English market came with Pokemon lol - I'd missed anime so much I hopped straight onto the bandwagon of I LOVE POKEMON haha (was maybe 13 by then). Oh and seeing Dragonball Z labelled as "New" in something like 1999 made me laugh :bigtongue:
     
  25. animenagai
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    animenagai Member

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    Yeah, that was a culture shift that annoyed me. When I was in HK, EVERYONE watched anime. Some of my friends were jocks, some were more bookish, some spent their lunch times trying to kiss girls, but they all watched anime. It was normal. It's still normal there. I could talk about the shows I loved without adjusting my social circles.

    It's very different in the west. It's like there's a certain group of anime watchers -- nerds, geeks and weeaboos -- and there's everyone else. Don't get me wrong, I'm good friends with a lot of those nerds, but it can feel weird. Thankfully, that prejudice is slowly dying.
     

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