The Art of Letting Go (of Books)

Have you ever picked up a book, started reading enthusiastically, only to find out fifty pages in that it’s boring/poorly written/slow? This happens to me at least once a month. What do you do when this happens to you? Chug on in the hopes that it will get better? Read something else and come back to it later? Skim to get to the end quickly? Throw it out the window?

Don't actually do this to a book. It's abuse. And it will make me very angry. Source: http://www.custudentloans.org/2013/01/16/spring-2013-let-senioritis-begin-and-end/
Don’t actually do this to a book. It’s abuse. And it will make me very angry.  Source: http://www.custudentloans.org/2013/01/16/spring-2013-let-senioritis-begin-and-end/

I tend to lean toward giving it a chance. Fifty pages is not enough of a taste to abandon a book. (Most of the time. I really, really wish I would have given up on Fifty Shades of Grey after the first fifty pages. Or less.) But what about when you get two hundred pages in and it’s still more awful than seeing your grandmother naked? Unfortunately, I still give it a chance.

My reasoning is this: guilt. I feel extremely guilty for giving up on a book. Especially if I’ve already put the time in to read a couple hundred pages. I’m so close to the end! (Unless it’s The Forgotten Garden, then I’ve got another gazillion pages to go.)

Since I am a writer, I know the hard work that was poured into writing the book (and editing, and editing, and editing…), regardless of whether or not I view it as ‘good’. Beholder’s eye and all that. I always feel that if I just give it a chance, it will change my mind by the end. It has to, right? I mean, they wouldn’t have published it if it didn’t have some semblance of entertainment humming in its pages, right? Wrong!

I can’t think of a book that I didn’t like halfway through that successfully changed my opinion by the end. Not a single one. And the thing is, there are so many books to read (and so many books to write) that I just don’t have time to finish them all. Unfortunately.

So here’s to a future of saying ‘No, Book, you are not good and I will NOT read you!’.

In reality, I’ll probably still keep reading.

Fun links:

16 Major Advantages of Being a Book Lover

These Stereotypes About Book Lovers are Absolutely True, And That’s A Good Thing

19 Quirky Conundrums Only Book Lovers Understand

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5 thoughts on “The Art of Letting Go (of Books)

  1. I used to feel really guilty “abandoning” books, too — especially as a writer myself. But I’ve since made peace with the fact that there are just too many outstanding works out there to waste our precious free time on ones we’re not enjoying! At its root for me, reading is about pleasure — and if I’m not rushing to reunite with a novel after a long day at work, I know it’s not the book for me. Maybe I realize that after 20, 50 or 200 pages . . . but once I do, that’s it for me. Kaput!

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    1. I completely agree. I need to work on saying no to my guilt and just putting the book down. I actually do the same thing with movies, TV shows, etc. This year, though, I’ve been trying to weed out the things that are no longer entertaining me, like certain shows I’ve been watching since inception, but have turned sour for me. I’ve done well with that, and haven’t missed them a bit. I guess I just feel like there’s going to be something magical coming up and I don’t want to miss out on it. But by reading (watching, etc.) something that I’m not enjoying, I’m probably missing out on something magical happening elsewhere.

      Thanks for the comment!

      Like

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