On putting down a book

For the past few weeks I’ve been struggling with one of the books I’m currently reading, specifically Amy Tan’s Saving Fish From Drowning. I did desperately want to like it (the premise of the book intrigued me right off the bat) but now I’m having difficulty trying to wade through it, so this morning when I again put it down, I decided to move on to other books.

I’ve only done this with one other book (Jostein Gaarder’s Maya) and I honestly thought that it wouldn’t happen again anytime soon (I’d only started really getting back into reading this year!) but it did. I feel a certain kind of sadness at the thought of finally setting aside a book as “unreadable” on a personal level, since you’re pretty much giving up on the book.

Personally, I put down a book for good when it’s the middle of the book already and I can’t connect with the characters, and when I’ve started to feel that the sole reason why I’m still reading is that I must finish it since it’s started already. I’ve gone through lots of books with parts that I always find hard to go through (be it because it’s long and dragging, or because it’s emotionally draining) but when this is typical of a whole half of the book… I should be spending my time better.

Saving Fish From Drowning basically was both for me. It had its moments, but on the whole I felt that it moved all over the place at an inconsistent pace. I couldn’t connect to any of the characters (except maybe Bibi herself and Esme) and there was almost nothing happening. There’s a certain sense of voyeurism in following everything (and I mean everything) about a group of people as they trek through their itinerary but it soon felt like a blog that was far too meandering. :P

Should I give Saving Fish From Drowning a second chance? Why? What would make you put down a book you’ve started?