Unfinished books?

For a very long time (read: most of my reading life) I believed that I had to (as in the world might end if I didn’t, or at the very least that the book gods would be very displeased with me!), no matter how dreadful the task, finish a book once I had started it. I honestly can’t say how many books I’ve read cover to cover that I’ve read purely because I felt I had to finish them, and not reading because I was enjoying what I was reading. I fear it would be a fair few.

Then, a few years ago something changed. I don’t know what caused it (maybe creeping ever closer to 40?), but all of a sudden I just couldn’t bear reading books I wasn’t enjoying any more. The first book I really remember giving up on was Songs of the Humpback Whale by Jodi Picoult. God how I hated that book! If I had a zero book rating on my scale, or a minus book rating – that book would get it! I know that I am not alone, everyone I know who has read it disliked it, to varying degrees. Did I mention that I hated it? I gave up about 1/2 way through. Seriously, I cannot stress this enough, it was bad, bad, bad! (sorry Ms. Picoult)

Then, about 2 weeks ago I got into a discussion with one of the ladies at work who reads as much as I do. We were discussing books & I started telling her about The Book Thief, by Marcus Zusak. I don’t personally know anyone who has read this, but everyone over at the book club forum who has read it has loved it. Yeah….I didn’t. Am I strange? Maybe, but I just did not enjoy it. My colleague had never even heard of The Book Thief, so I brought it to her to read. About 4 days later she brought it back because she just couldn’t read it – I share her pain! I found it boring, hated the narration by Death & just couldn’t be bothered to finish reading it. She felt the same. Ironically I had lent her another book a few weeks before that which she read in its entirety, but I know she did not enjoy it.

Why did she finish it? What causes someone to continue reading a book that they are not enjoying in the least, only to give up on a different one a few weeks later, for the same reason? Conversely, what makes a person come to the conclusion that life is too short to be reading books you are not enjoying? Have you reached that point? And finally – do you feel guilty about having reached this point? I sometimes do!





Filed under Life, Relaxing reading

2 responses to “Unfinished books?

  1. YES!! I’m like that too! I used to feel obligated to finish a book, but one day last year I was like “Why am I doing this? I’m wasting my time rushing through a book I have no care of reading…”
    The first book I didn’t finish was The Codex or something.. it was on the heels of the Da Vinci Code craze.. Was just SUCH a boring book… I didn’t even get that far into it.
    Same with “The Duchess”, which the movie was based on (of which I haven’t seen either) but the book was written in SUCH a weird way.. almost like a biographical historical essay, with MULTIPLE footnotes within the “story”.. NOT fun.
    I heard a lot of hype about The Book Thief too! Hesitant on reading it tho… especially now that I’ve read you didn’t enjoy it.. so not EVERYONE liked it.. 😉

  2. livingwithjoy

    I always feel guilty about abandoning a book, especially if it has been well reviewed. Witness my two month journey through Wolf Hall.

    I’m okay if I figure out in the first 100 pages that this isn’t for me, but if I get further in, I somehow feel like I have to finish.

    There should be a support group for people who didn’t like books that most people rave about!

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