The Case for Not Finishing a Book

Time is a precious thing.  You’re only allowed so much of it and there are no do-overs.  No matter how much we fantasize about time travel, the fact is… it’s never going to happen.

not finishing a book

With this is mind, I’m making a point to no longer waste my time on things I am not enjoying.  If I’m reading a book and I’m just not getting into it, then I’m not going to continue reading it for however many hours only to hate the book in the end.  I’ve finished books that I didn’t enjoy and it hurts me to think of the time I wasted reading those books.  My mom put it perfectly the other day by saying that if it feels like a chore to keep reading the book, then don’t.  That’s the same reason students don’t do their reading assignments – because it’s a chore.

Within the past year there have only been two books that I’ve given up on.  I don’t think that’s bad at all.  In fact, from what I can remember, there has only been one other book that I gave up on because I didn’t like how it was formatted and nothing made sense.  There may have been more, but at this time I only remember the three.

The most recent of these books was A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas.  Some of you are probably going to be upset, but I just didn’t like it after the first few chapters and I wasn’t going to waste a second more of my life reading it.  There were parts of the narration I didn’t like and the pacing was very slow.  Plus, it’s a fantasy novel and with the exception of Harry Potter, I don’t usually read fantasy.

a court of thorns and roses

But I think I deserve a pat on the shoulder for trying to expand my horizons.  This was just not the book for it.

Part of me gets upset when I decide to give up on a book.  Obviously there was something in the synopsis that sparked my interest, so why didn’t the actual book?  I can’t answer that, but at least I know I won’t be disgusted with myself after reading an entire book that I didn’t enjoy and realize how much time I wasted reading it.

I like to follow the unofficial ‘Rule of Fifty’ – where you give a book at least 50 pages before you decide to continue with it or not.  I’d say about 97% of the time I don’t even need to think about it.  However, if a book isn’t catching me right away, I’ll tell myself to give it until page 50 before deciding to drop it or not, sometimes a little more than that depending on the size of the book.  Most of the time though, the story will pick up by then and before I know it I’ve finished it.  It’s not very often where I actually decide to stop reading a book after page fifty.

“If it feels like a chore to read it, then don’t.  It will ruin reading for you.” – my mom

Of course, there is the rare case where I stop reading a book due to a lack of interest then some years later pick it back up again and actually finish it.  I have probably only done this once, maybe twice, in my lifetime.  There is a possibility it will happen again, but I make no promises.

After all, there are so many books I still have to read and so little time to read them.

Do you finish a book you’re not into? Or do you power through it like a madman/woman?

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3 thoughts on “The Case for Not Finishing a Book

  1. Sophie says:

    I kind of agree with this. Although in my case I just sort of put in on a back burner and I tend to go back to it. I’ve done it loads this year already when I’m just not feeling it I stop reading it and move and when I come back to it a few months later I tend to get really into it quite quickly. Although sometimes it takes years for me to go back to it out of fear that I am genuinely not enjoy it, if after the second attempt it is just not gonna happen I park it to look pretty on a shelf forever!

    • Tabby says:

      I would like to think I’ll try the book again someday, but there are just some that I know I’ll never be interested in again.

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