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Abandoning Books

Once I start reading a book, I hate giving up on it before the end.

There’s something about that initial time investment that I hate wasting. Once I start I want to go straight through to the end.

But sometimes, I find myself forcing my way through a story that I am just flat-out not enjoying, and that doesn’t feel great either. You know those books that you just can’t seem to walk away from but you find them a chore to read? Yeah those.

I think a lot of readers are like this actually and I’m not sure why. It’s just a quirk we have I guess.

But, 2018 will be the year that I start abandoning books more often. I’ll give a story a little time, but when it hits the point of no return for me (no enjoyment), I’m just going to let the story go and move on.

I think I will actually read more books this way and be willing to try things that I’m not entirely sure about but look kinda interesting. Currently, picking out a book to read can feel like buying a new car (okay, that might be an exaggeration) – doing research, checking in with my intuition, making sure it’s a good price. All so that I don’t invest an hour or so of my time and decide I don’t like it!

I might even find a new favorite book or author this way. We all judge books by their cover, me included, but I think the old saying is true. Sometimes you do find a gem that didn’t initially look like a gem. You might have to wade through a bad cover or a slow start to find a story that really grabs you. Or maybe it’s in a genre you don’t normally read. Or the author and story is a complete unknown to you or it hasn’t been well-reviewed or reviewed much at all.

So there you go, one of my “goals” for the new year. Maybe I should apply this to TV and movies as well.

Do you hate abandoning books after you’ve started reading them? Or do you toss that book away like a fast food wrapper if you don’t like it? Leave a comment and let us all know.

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  1. suz suz

    i used to pride myself on it, always finishing a book when i started it, but i gave it up long ago. now that i’m more grey and creased i feel increasing pressure to devour good books. i only have so much life left, i can’t blow any of it on books i don’t love.

    it does mean i miss out. there are a few that started slowly that i ended up loving (although i can’t think of an example at this minute.) some, like my beloved ‘the girl in a swing’, start off too slowly for just about anybody, but for me the sheer beauty of the writing more than makes up for the meandering pace of the plot.

    a while back i thought it was time to revisit stephen r. donaldson’s wild magic books, which i adored as a young woman. i was rather horrified to find that i was so offended by the writing that despite some of the best world building i’ve ever read, i had to put it down.

    this is why i can’t join book clubs. my taste is becoming more and more weird and eclectic.

    but yeah, i can walk away. if i find i’m not moving with eagerness toward a book when it’s time to read, well then i need to find a book that’s going to ring my chimes. i do try to give it an honest intro time, but i get less patient all the time.

  2. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Suz – I prided myself on it as well, but I just don’t think slogging my way through a book is worth it anymore. But I do like the part about giving slow beginnings a chance – you never know what you might find.

  3. I think I’ve mentioned to you before that I give a novel 50 pages. If I am not looking forward to page 51, I move on. I do think this has allowed me to find more books I enjoy, since I no longer spend energy and time slogging through something that isn’t doing it for me.

  4. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Ty – Yeah, I think 50 pages is a good amount of time. I’ll have to figure out my own threshold.

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