Why Did I Keep Reading?


Stack of books against sky

As I believe I’ve mentioned on this blog, along with Christian books, I try to keep abreast of general market books. But I admit, I don’t always finish reading the books I begin reading. So what makes me stick with a book from cover to cover? Here’s just one example for nonfiction:

17704903Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune  by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr. 

Why did I stay with this book while abandoning other books that may have been just as worthwhile or perhaps even better? Here’s why:


1.) I had read an article in The Washington Post that had already garnered my interest and called my attention to the book’s existence in detail.

2.) The Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C. stands to gain a share of Huguette’s estate. This gallery is located just a few miles from me, and my uncle Eldridge Bagley, a professional artist, once was a guest speaker at this gallery. I witnessed him discussing his paintings in front of an audience gathered just for the occasion.

3.) I was intrigued by Huguette, wondering why she had become a recluse living in a hospital when she owned several homes staffed by servants and caretakers. Apparently the taxes alone on one property were $161,000 per year.

4.) The book opened with a captivating mystery and the writers were skilled enough to keep me wanting to keep learning more.

5.) The book lived up to the promise of its rather long and detailed title.

6.) I am interested in the time period during which the family lived.

7.) The book offers a look into a lifestyle of unlimited wealth that I will otherwise probably will never see.

8.) Huguette proved to be an interesting person, albeit hard to understand. But by the end of the book, I felt I understood her and why she made the decisions she did, even though I believe I would have made many different decisions if given the same situations.

9.) And finally, because of the insights offered, I felt that reading the book was a good use of my leisure time.

Your turn:

What is the main reason you stay with a book?

Do you enjoy fiction or nonfiction more?

13 Responses to Why Did I Keep Reading?

  1. Avatar
    Jackie Layton January 30, 2014 at 4:37 am #

    I will stick with a book if it touches my heart and intrigues me. As long as the language is not foul, I’ll stick with head hopping and other mistakes.

    I started a book over the weekend. The characters drew me right into the story. I lost sleep the first night. The next day I had a two hour wait at the doctor’s office and didn’t even mind because I was able to continue reading.

    Thanks for sharing what compels you to stick with a book.

  2. Avatar
    Rachel Muller January 30, 2014 at 4:49 am #

    I can usually tell by the twentieth page or so if a book is worth reading. I am drawn to clever writing styles, scene settings, and deep characters with a passion for something.

    I love to learn while I’m reading, but I don’t want to feel like I’m reading a textbook either. I love how some authors weave history and interesting facts into their writing without the reader feeling ‘schooled’.

    The creative writing styles keep me turning the pages and challenge me as a writer also–and I love a challenge. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

  3. Avatar
    Kurt Sipolski January 30, 2014 at 6:05 am #

    I agree with Rachel and Jackie. Characters, time, sensibilities, revealed secrets…they are all appealing.

  4. Avatar
    Jeanne Takenaka January 30, 2014 at 7:21 am #

    These are all good points. I think what makes me stick with a book is interesting characters, a story that is easy to follow yet full of surprises and deals with an interesting topic.

    I loved reading your reasons for sticking with a book. 🙂

  5. Avatar
    Anna Labno January 30, 2014 at 8:23 am #

    Why was she an interesting person?

    • Avatar
      Tamela Hancock Murray January 30, 2014 at 12:29 pm #

      Anna, I couldn’t figure out why someone with so much privilege chose to spend her time and money the way she did. I realize not everyone would find this puzzle intriguing in the least, but I am the type of person who tries to figure out people I donn’t understand. Of course, the author’s ability to write the story in an intriguing way helped.

  6. Avatar
    Ron Estrada January 30, 2014 at 10:23 am #

    Now there’s the question. I prefer fiction, but find myself engrossed in non-fiction from time to time. To me, I have to know what’s going to happen to this character. A good example is GLASS CASTLES. Not in a million years would I have picked this one out on my own. But my wife forced me to read it (she’s good for that). The opening scene is of a three year old girl (the author) burning herself on the stove while making her own grilled cheese sandwich. Okay. Hooked. I had to know who the horrific parents were that allowed this, and I had to know how this kid turned out, or even survived. Same with fiction, I connect with a character and just have to know what happens to him. Okay, lesson learned. I’ll make sure you love my protagonist.

  7. Avatar
    Allison January 30, 2014 at 10:37 am #

    If I’m not intrigued by the first page, I usually won’t continue reading. If by the first few chapters, it’s starting to feel like required reading, I’m done. 🙂 I recently read The Fault in Our Stars b/c every blogger I know was talking about it. While I finished it, the ending made me wish I’d never read it. All this to say story is everything! 😉

  8. Avatar
    Peter DeHaan January 30, 2014 at 5:49 pm #

    For fiction books, if I make it through the first four or five of pages, I’ll usually finish it.

    For nonfiction, I often grow weary before I reach the end. I just lay the book down one evening and there never seems to be a good reason to pick it up again. That happens too often.

  9. Avatar
    Carmel March 29, 2020 at 7:04 pm #

    I usually go for Non-fiction. Sometimes I hear about it before reading it from friends and relatives. Other times I browse the libraries or book store. I go straight to the non- fiction section and take my time looking through some books or head to The non- fiction section and look for a title that appeals to me. I know at the same time a Title can overestimate the worth of the written word inside. Mostly I browse through the first page, paragraph or even just the first line. If it grabs my attention, before I know it I am at the cashier’s with same book in hand. If I were to give you a really good reason for reading nonfiction it would be because I always need for my own reasons to know if a series of traumatic experiences as a child can be healed. I love the overcoming of the past and learning to become whole as an adult despite the odds.

  10. Avatar
    Carmel March 29, 2020 at 7:19 pm #

    I already responded but okay I can continue. I will say this. I was always interested in how many stars and goods reviews followed the reading of a book. Today it is different in that reviews can be deceiving. Not based so much on the quality of the read more on who the author can get to give a five star or high rating. Now that is sad. There are books written by so many talented authors that never get read today. So that much change. For now, I look for the author’s feelings after writing a best seller or better still an award-winning book. And if the truth is known I would love to write a best seller myself. I know so many authors dream likewise. I always try to find out how the author manages to get there. That consistently writing regardless is the key, routine, time spent doing the doing and knowing beyond all else that your dreams of being a well-known author do come about. If the story is worth telling then I know it is worth the read.

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