It’s OK not to finish a book.

Wellllllcome back to Writing Wednesday, errbody!

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Me, like, 90% of the time.

Do you finish every single book you start reading? Do you start reading, take a break and then pick it up later? If you don’t finish the book, do you feel guilty about it?

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I used to feel like the worst person EVER if a story I was reading started to drag and I even thought about putting it down for good. I basically felt duty-bound to finish every book whose cover I cracked. Like, this author took the time to write this story — I should take the time to read it, right?

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Dude, you’ve already paid for the book with hard earned/mooched cash. But even if you didn’t spend money — as in you borrowed it from a library or a friend — you still spent time choosing and/or reading the book! Reading (a good story) is fun, but it’s also a time commitment. That’s why so many people cite “not having time” as their reason for not reading in the first place. You’re going to spend at least a couple of hours on a novel. And that’s probably a short one. And when you add in those moments where you’re so blown away by a sentence or paragraph that you have to reread it, your reading time gets longer and longer.

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I’m finally at a point where I no longer feel bad about parting ways with a book I’ve started. Why feel bad? It’s not you, book, it’s me. Every book is not meant for every reader. Just like there are people you click with in life, there are stories you click with. And if you come across a story you’re not loving…

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Don’t feel bad. Your time is precious. Just think of all the other great books out there waiting for you!

How do you feel about leaving books unfinished?

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9 thoughts on “It’s OK not to finish a book.

  1. I 100% agree! I started ‘giving up’ on books a few years ago when I started a book I thought would be great and halfway through I just wanted to slit my wrists. I decided it just wasn’t for me. I recently started reviewing for Netgalley and I feel a must definitely finish the books they send me for reviews – but I’ve been on a streak of awful books for older women…and it’s not that they are bad, they just aren’t for me.

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  2. omg i SUCK at giving up on books. i really wish i was better at it, but honestly, i always hold out hope that they will get better! i have read books in the past that didn’t grab me right away, so i put them down and came back to them later and they turned out to be great, fabulous, even close to favourites – i’m scared i’m going to miss out on a good book if i give up too early. it’s silly because i’ve read a lot of crappy books, or rather books that just aren’t for me, and i should have abandoned them.

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    • I try to give a book until the halfway mark to sell me on the story. If it hasn’t gotten better by that point, I’ll say goodbye. I get what you’re saying though — I used to refuse to give up because it almost felt like if I gave up, then what I read so far wouldn’t count somehow. Like if someone asks you if you’ve read something, you can’t just say “I read half of it” b/c it’s like you didn’t really read it at all. At least that’s how I used to feel. Now I’m a free-wheelin’ quitter, hahahaha.

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  3. Ok, I’ve never been monogamous or devoted when it comes to books. You’ve made me realise that I’m a book slut! Oh god! I’ve always stopped and started, picked up on some months later, quit cold turkey on others. I guess I just figured that certain states of mind are better for certain stories and I’ve always just tried to match my reading material to my state of mind at the present time. It never occurred to me that really that people might feel guilt abut quitting books. Now I feel there’s a huge gaping hole in my moral compass 😉

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