Roger Sutton has a post here about giving up on a book that's just not clicking with you as a reader. I have to say that I fully support this. Life is finite, you know? I'm not going to stick with a book or a movie or a television show that I feel is a waste of my time.*
Of course, there are some things that are worth the time--David Foster Wallace for me, Faulkner for my friend Anonymous, we all have our little ballywicks--and I believe in giving a book a fair chance. A book under 200 pages gets at least 50 to get moving for me, and a book over 200 pages gets at least a 100, but if I'm not interested by then?* Forget it. I'm not going to be interested.
Another factor that sometimes comes into play is how long it takes me to read the pages. I'm normally a very fast reader. Fifty pages of your average level adult fiction won't take me a half hour, even if (or especially if) I like it.** If it takes me an hour, or two, or three, I don't like the book. I may not realize it until I take a break, but I'll realize it during the next fifty pages, and I'll put it down.
Life is too short to read books that you don't like, man.*** There's too much good stuff out there.
*True story: just last night I gave up on the film version of Snow Falling On Cedars because it was taking too long to get started. I guess that there was a lot of "cinematography" going on, but when I could fast forward through, literally, minutes of set-up shots, from an assortment of angles, I knew the movie was doomed for me. I haven't read the book, so I don't know if, perhaps, the author had a contemplative style or something that encouraged this kind of scenery shooting in the director, but either way it did not work for me.
**This is why I read a book I like two or three times. If I'm really into a book, I'll end up going so fast that I miss things. Strange, but true.
***This is not a quality judgment, but a value judgment. Books that are good to me aren't good to others, a fact I had to face when I tried to give my mom one of the books I loved when I was a kid. She was really not into The Wind in the Willows, for reasons my six-year-old mind could not grasp, as that is a kickass book.