This pin on Pinterest made me stop and think: “If you read one book a week, starting at the age of 5, and live to be 80, you will have read a grand total of 3,900 books, a little over one-tenth of 1 percent of the books currently in print” (from The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop: A Memoir, a History by Lewis Buzbee).
Now, I’m not sure about the accuracy of the math or facts involved here, but I do know that there never seems to be enough time to read everything I want to read. There are so many books in the world that it seems silly to waste time reading books I don’t enjoy. What’s the point? There’s nothing to gain or prove by finishing it. While I’m mentioning four reasons why I may not finish a book, it’s usually a combination of these which leads me to abandon a book.
It may be time to give up on a book…
- When I avoid reading –
Normally, I’m the type of person who is never far from a book or Kindle. I’d read while going to the bathroom, while blow drying my hair, or during TV commercials. Even with a new baby, I still find plenty of time for reading (mainly while feeding her). I know I’ve got a problem with a book if I’d rather do other things during this precious down time, like search for recipes on Pinterest or read up on the MMR vaccine. If I’m not aching to find out what happens next, a book is in jeopardy.
- When it puts me to sleep after a few pages –
This is the book where I never seem to make any progress because I keep falling asleep while trying to read it. Perhaps the pace is too slow, or there’s not enough action, or maybe it’s the language: too dry, too technical, or too much description and flowery language.
- When I’m completely lost –
I know this is happening when I find myself re-reading passages or flipping back in the book to see if I missed something. I think, maybe I’m not supposed to understand yet. Maybe this is what the author intended. But as I continue reading, the frustration of not understanding wins out.
- When I don’t like the characters –
Isn’t connecting with the characters one of the best parts about reading? If you can’t form some kind of a bond with the characters, it’s hard to care about their plight. I want to imagine myself as the strong, brave main character, or be friends with them, or crush on the love interest. If that’s not happening, I’m not buying into the book.
Here are a few examples of books I’ve given up on:
- Code Name Verity (lost…so very lost…)
- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (all four reasons, though mainly because it was so dull at the beginning…which is as far as I made it. Read more about my thoughts here.)
- The Monuments Men (wanted to avoid reading, and when I did, it put me asleep. Read more about my thoughts here.)
- The Goddess Hunt (lost and didn’t connect with the characters)
- Fallen (didn’t like the characters, and was perhaps a little confused as well)
- Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (zzzz…no action. Only made it through one disc of this book on CD)
How about you: do you fight your way through a book just to finish it, or are you okay with abandoning a book?