But there is nothing wrong with abandoning a book halfway through. I consulted National Literacy Trust director Jonathan Douglas to get his tips for overcoming reader's block. Giving up on a book you are not enjoying was his first recommendation. Here are all six:
- To read for pleasure you have got to be in charge of your reading and that means knowing that it's OK to stop reading if it gets boring. Lots of books drop off halfway through. For me, that includes Brideshead Revisited and Wuthering Heights.
- Talk about books and ask friends for recommendations but avoid getting trapped in a tyrannical reading group for literary point-scorers. Life is too short to read books you do not like.
- Have a varied reading diet. After a satisfying course of Philip Pullman, cleanse your palate with a sorbet of Heat or Grazia.
- Make sure that the book you have got fits the time you have got to read. If your life is a frantic race and you only get to read on five-minute tube journeys or among the suds in the bath, do not start War and Peace. Grab one of the fantastic Quick Reads series that celebrity authors are now penning, or try a poetry anthology.
- Read aloud. Importantly, 76% of mothers and 42% of fathers read bedtime stories to their children, but sharing a book is a wonderful way for anyone to spend time.
- Try listening to a good book on tape or eavesdrop on Book at Bedtime on Radio 4.
It's good advice. I use Rule One every time I reach page 8 of a Salman Rushdie novel.