New feature: The ’10 pages in’ book review

by DaniGirl on June 10, 2005 · 7 comments

in 10-pages-in

I had an idea!

I feel like Archemides. I’m so excited! I had an idea, and I think it’s an original idea at that. (Feel free to disabuse me of that notion if you must.)

When I posted my review, if you could call it that, of The Time Traveler’s Wife, I was only about 1/10 of the way into it, which for me is actually a pretty good time to write a review because much like Marla, after I read the last page and close the cover I promptly forget almost all the details and nuances of the story.

And then I started reading the next book on my list, Kate Atkinson’s Case Histories and I almost put it down after 15 pages because it just wasn’t floating my boat. Maybe my expectations were too high, but I think a lot of the problem was because it was transitional book after my love affair with Time Traveler’s Wife, and you know that transitional book never stands a chance.

So I got to thinking – don’t you find that early in a book there’s a tipping point where you decide whether a book is worth the effort? At 10 or 20 pages in, you can still comfortably walk away and not feel like you’ve invested too much to quit. Or, like with Time Traveler’s Wife, you know you’re so hooked that you start canceling playdates and dental appointments just to make more time to read.

And that, in no shortage of words, is how I came up with my new trick, the “ten-pages-in review.”

Aren’t I clever?

The review doesn’t necessarily have to come at exactly the 10-page point, but early in the book, before you lose your objectivity and are determined to finish a book more from stubbornness than enjoyment and anticipation. Besides, calling it the “57 pages-in book review” didn’t roll off the tongue quite the same way.

And I even figured out how to subvert Blogger’s lack of categories and keep a running list of my soon to be famous ’10-pages-in reviews’ in the sidebar. Sheesh, I don’t usually have this many synaptic successes in a month!

So I’ll post this first, and then I’ll post the second instalment of my new series, the 10 pages in review of Case Histories. Whaddaya think?

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 nancy June 10, 2005 at 4:01 pm

Most clever indeed!

2 suze June 10, 2005 at 4:56 pm

some very bright synapses going on! congrats!

3 Troy June 11, 2005 at 1:40 am

I think it’s a fantabulous idea. I’m in total awe of your synapses. I gotta get me some of those.

4 Ann D July 12, 2005 at 5:22 pm

I think it’s a cool idea.

5 James October 27, 2005 at 3:05 am

I like it. Reminds me of Vonnegut’s admonition that 2/3 of a masterpiece is often more than enough.

6 scarbiedoll August 28, 2006 at 6:38 pm

I have to disagree with you. I think it takes more like 30 pages to decide if it’s worth the rest of your time. There is so much setting up in the first 10 that you may not even get up to the first twist by then. I know in screenplays, the central question occurs around the 10 minute or 10 page mark and the first act isn’t even over until page 30. And a screenplay is only 90-120 pages/minutes on average! 10 pages of a 300 page average novel is 3%. How would you feel if someone judged your blog based on 3%.
Just saying.

7 scarbiedoll August 28, 2006 at 6:41 pm

Sorry — I clearly can’t do math. So take my advice as you will 😉

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