Why Finish Books? by Tim Parks.
I stopped reading the article a little more than half way through.
The article is slightly pretentious and highly interesting and raises a lot of questions. How quickly can you say a book is not worth reading? Is it possible for that to be objective? A bunch more questions veering off into the value, significance, and existence of art. Is it bad to not finish books? How do we differentiate between impatience and satiety? What is one’s goal in reading books; quantity, quality, satisfaction, breadth, knowledge? What do we do with a good book? Is it bad to reread books? Do we need books to end? How can a book not end? Have I properly experienced a book if I have not read every word, or read it as the author intended? Would I have ‘read’ it? Could I pass judgement on it? Is the book more for the reader or the author? What if we could not physically tell where a book would end, how would that influence our reading experience? Do authors like ending books? How arbitrary do they view their endings; as creators of worlds, how do they decide when to end them? Do readers like endings; they seem more polarizing than not? Is the structure of the book, with a physical linearity, inherently unsatisfactory and misleading? How does linear art compare to nonlinear in terms of popularity, satisfaction, and meaning? Do we want to know in advance how books end, to have some idea of what is coming? Are abrupt endings better than complete ones? Are unhappy endings more realistic than happy ones? How would the reader like having an influence on the ending, knowing it isn’t set in stone? Would it still be an ending? Are there endings? How do we choose when to stop? Do we even choose to stop?
[via The Browser]