I abandoned a book last night

19 thoughts on “I abandoned a book last night”

  1. I’m so with you on giving up on books that aren’t getting it done. I used to fight through them all. I gave up on Eragon with two chapters to go. It is now more common that I don’t finish a book than I do. But I work in the book business, and I see a lot of books. No one can read them all.

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  2. It’s something that I try my very best not to do, but I agree as youget older time becomes more precious. Sometimes shelving a book and reading something else works if you come back to it with a fresh mind. If your going to tackle an epic like Les Miz and you’re not into it 700 pages in, you might be better off moving on.

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  3. I totally agree with you and unabashedly abandon books that don’t grip me right away. I, too, abandoned The Book Thief and many others that have received critical acclaim. One book that I wanted to abandon was The Poisonwood Bible. A friend at work encouraged me to keep going and I’m glad I did because I loved that book. I’ll be posting my favorite books of 2014 next week. Stay tuned.

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  4. Last week my fifteen year old daughter pulled out my tattered copy of Les Mis from the bookshelf and announced she’s going to read it over the summer. I’ll have to ask her how she’s going. I suspect she’ll see it through only because her twin sister has read it -there’s nothing like a bit of healthy sisterly competition. I still feel like such a traitor when I abandon a book…but finding time to totally immerse myself in a book is precious these days so I’m far more ruthless these days.

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  5. The first book I abandoned was The Count of Monte Cristo. It was unbearably slow, and for once, the movie was better. I stuck with The Book Thief, and in the end decided it was “good.” I can absolutely understand why you would stop reading it though. Life is too short to read boring books.

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  6. Great post! I was the same as you when I was younger – I never, ever quit on a book once I started it, no matter how much work it was to slog through to the end. Over the past several years, I’ve developed a “life is too short and my TBR pile is too big to waste time reading something I don’t enjoy” philosophy.

    I’m of a mind that reading should entertain and it should make you think, but it shouldn’t feel like a chore. As soon as I start noticing that I’m reluctant to pick the book back up to read or that I’d rather watch TV, or when I start eying my other books to pick out my next read, it usually signals the end for the book I’m reading.

    That said, I don’t normally toss a book aside flippantly. The more redeeming qualities it has, the longer I’ll stick with it and vice versa. I read the Book Thief and enjoyed it, but I think that book suffered from inflated expectations. With so many rave reviews, it sets one up to expect magic. If it makes you feel better, I abandoned Wolf Hall, a prize winning tome set in one of my favorite historical periods. Most people loved it. Me? By the time I set it aside for good, I was ready to throw it against the wall.

    I try not to think of what I’m missing when I set aside a book, but of what I’m gaining by spending that time reading things that resonate with me. Hope that helps! πŸ™‚

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    1. I try not to think of what I’m missing when I set aside a book, but of what I’m gaining by spending that time reading things that resonate with me.

      That’s a really great way to look at it, Wendy. I’ll remember that next time I break up with a book.

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  7. I read the Book Thief and also had a reasonably hard time getting into it, especially with the high expectations from Goodreads. I persevered, and enjoyed it in the end, but I’ll admit I considered abandoning it a few times.

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  8. I think it is fine to DNF, but as you alude, there are no hard rules around when to do so. The other wierd thing is sometimes I pick the offending book up again (months or years) later and discover that I do like it. Mostly it is not the book that has changed.

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  9. I gave up on Owen Meaney after 100 pages. That’s my cut off point. If I don’t like it by then and I find myself skimming the back and bored, I move on. I can do it easily when its a book I’ve chosen but when its a book for book club, I find quitting harder. I liked The Book Thief but I enjoyed his other book more: I Am The Messenger.

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  10. I very rarely have abandoned a book; the guilt i feel is tremendous! The thing is, though, why should I feel guilty? Will the library accuse me of “hogging” the book by borrowing it and not reading it? Will the author somehow find out I didn’t finish her opus? Will the book-gods say I didn’t meet their quota for book-reading, so I am doomed to reading bad Garfield puns for all eternity? No, no, and no! I just dumped one because although the topic was interesting, the style was annoying me to bits. On every page I was getting more and more bitter over the silly mechanism it was using, the bad puns, the repetitiveness. So finally, I dumped it. I’m free now! On to the next! πŸ™‚

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    1. I think it’s so funny that you mentioned Garfield here – I used to read Garfield between books when I was a kid and couldn’t figure out what to read next. Garfield was my palate cleanser.

      I’m glad you are liberating yourself from bad books now, Richard πŸ™‚

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  11. I don’t read as veraciously as you do. Let that be said at first. Once I heard my mother-in-law say she didn’t finish a book because she didn’t like where it was heading…she didn’t want to know the sad/bad outcome. I thought her to be stupid for putting down a book for any reason, much less for the fact that she anticipated an ending she didn’t want to know.

    Then came the day I closed a book without finishing it. It was House of Sand and Fog. I hated that thing! I hated the writing, I hated the characters, and for me it was just a waste of time. It also made me forever after ignore Oprah’s book recommendations (not that I was an avid follower in the first place).

    I never regretted not finishing the book. If I ever read as much as you do there might be a lot more I put down, but I’m with you ~ if it’s not engaging it’s not worth the precious free time.

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  12. I have tried twice to read War and Peace, and succumbed to boredom and the difficulty of keeping the character’s names straight both times. The last time I attempted to read it, I was spending lots of time commuting from my home in New Jersey into my job in New York City, so I had lots of time on the train to read…I finally decided to use that time to read something else.

    After I turned 60 years old last year, I suddenly came to realize that I have far more days behind me than I have in front of me. So time is important to me, and I simply am not going to invest lots of time reading a book that isn’t doing it for me.

    That said, this is not an attitude that I would encourage in children and young adults. Finishing something that you start is important, and for lots of reasons, reading difficult, boorish books is good training for life. I remember reading Dickens’ “Bleak House” when I was about 14. That was a real chore, but I eventually returned to Dickens and read a number of his books later in life (most on the commuter train), including “Barnaby Rudge” which I enjoyed.

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