Am I not a true, honest-to-goodness reader if I do not finish a book? What if it picks up in the end? Is there something wrong with me if I do not finish a book? WILL THE WORLD END IF I DO NOT FINISH?
This is the age old question for all readers. Is it okay to give up on a book? Here are my thoughts on the question that has plagued bookish people since the beginning of time.
It took a long time for me to reach the point in my life in which I do not feel ashamed for giving up on a book. Think of these scenarios. So and so loved this book so shouldn’t I love it too? This book got all the big awards so it must be good! This really famous author said that this was the best novel of the century. First, let me start by saying that everyone is entitled to their opinion. However, I am a firm believer that no two people read the same book. What worked for you may work for me but, let’s get real, it is very possible that it will not. That’s okay! That is the way of the world. Frankly, I would be concerned if we all agreed on every book! The book world would be far less interesting if we all agreed on books.
Admittedly it took me a long time to feel comfortable in giving up on a book. I cannot really provide any tangible reasons for feeling that way. I felt a sort of duty in being a reader. I had decided to select that book for a reason. By opening that book I had, in a way, made a promise to reach the end; to experience the story to the end. It felt icky breaking that “promise”. Like I was not fully giving it a chance. I would say in the last three years I have realized that I was being silly.
Why was I being silly? As of this post, I currently have 496 books marked as “want to read” in my Goodreads account. *Side note: Follow the link to add me on Goodreads or view my profile!* I do not have time to read books that I am not enjoying! My school days are done. My reading is purely for pleasure. Why should I suffer through a book when there are so many others that I could be reading! There are so many other books out there that are waiting to be read. Books that are far better matched for my interests and taste. As the saying goes, “so many books so little time”. This bookish girl is a very busy reader so I give it 100 pages. If I am not feeling a book I am comfortable at that point to move on.
Let me make one thing clear. I do challenge myself as a reader. I am part of a book group in which I am required to read five books each year. I also created my own Female Voices Reading Challenge. I have set out to read these books so those books I do require myself to finish. However, in the grand scheme of things, that is an entirely reasonable request. I have truly committed myself to my reading group and my reading challenge. Anything that is not connected to those things I can say no to.
Here is an example of a recent book that I gave up on.
This book is a memoir in which I had seen lots of chatter about it in various bookish sources. I love reading a wide variety of memoirs. I love the honesty, overcoming a trying time, rediscovering yourself, etc. I expected How to Murder Your Life by Cat Marnell to be an absolute train wreck of a drug problem that Cat overcomes and becomes a better person. I gave it a hundred pages before I gave up. **WARNING** THIS IS MY OPINION. I found Cat Marnell to be a horrible person who was completely unapologetic for her drug problem and her TERRIBLE decisions . It was poor little rich girl. I made bad decisions and I laugh at them now….but am I really all that embarrassed for what I did? I really did have an absolute BLAST being a serious drug addict and binge eater. I made a complete ass of myself at work but man those parties were so much fun! I found it to be utterly disgusting, her attitude unforgiving and I could not take the name drops. I was really hoping that it would be better. Am I sad that I did not find out how she came clean? No I am not because I did not find her to be fully rehabilitated. She was making fun of a horrible time her life. I was not about to stomach that.
So let me assure that there is no shame in giving up on a book. There is an infinite number of books out there….our time is finite. You have the power to choose how you spend your reading time…so do what feels right for you!