How often do you quit reading a book? I am not a quitter. Period. I tend to stick with my goals until the bitter end, even when doing so becomes cause for concern. In order to keep writing a new critical book review each week, I challenged myself to read 50 books this year. Today, I admit defeat, but happily so. More freelance editing work is coming my way, so something has to give. What gives me cause for concern is my bad habit of not being able to quit a book.
How often do you quit reading a book?
For years, I’ve averaged two books a month, but that figures in extra time to read during summer vacations when I wasn’t in the classroom. I can recall past instances when a book sat on my nightstand for one, two, or three months as I slogged through its semi-interesting pages. If I started the dang thing, then by golly, I was going to finish it!
Typically that approach worked because I would start reading another book simultaneously, one which better captured my interest. But now with blogging book reviews, I can’t afford the luxury of putting a book on the backburner. Even though I read analytically and as an editor, I still want to enjoy the books I read for this blog.
Alas, I am unable to post a book review today. Out of six months of reviews, I’ve had to let authors know twice that I would be unable finish their book and/or write a review. It is my policy to not post one- or two-star reviews for books by indie authors. Even though I carefully consider each book review request, deciding if a book is a perfect fit isn’t always an exact science.
When it comes to reading books, being a quitter can be a good thing. Which is why I think my reading and reviewing challenge may be the biggest reading favor I’ve ever done for myself. I’m changing my quota to a much more doable two book reviews a month. I also want to fit in one short work a month as well, but those less lengthy reviews won’t be posted here. Viola! My new challenge now entails reading 36 titles a year.
So, my burning question of the day is this: How often do you quit reading a book and why?
The cover images used in this post are for promotional use only and comply with fair use guidelines.
Please share responsibly. Jeri Walker, 2013.
I very, very rarely quit reading a book, and if I do it’s because either the book is so poorly written I just can’t keep reading any more, or because the book is so offensive I am no longer willing to submit myself to the authors thought processes. Usually I finish any book I start, even if I dislike it, like you I am not a quitter and like to complete anything I start.
Scott, I definitely can relate to that feeling of wanting to complete anything you start. I think my main challenge is to be more honest with myself whether or not I am drawn to read a particular book.
It is not often that I quit reading a book. When I do it’s because I just can’t stomach finishing it, meaning it’s a bad read.
Cheryl, a particularly bad read for me was Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I only managed to get a few pages into that one before moving on. It was just so random with incorporating zombies into Austen’s classic story.
I used to always finish a book. Now my time is too valuable to waste. If a book is poorly written and has plastic characters I toss it after about 50 pages.
Yvonne, thanks for stopping by and commenting! I’m getting better at recognizing the value of my reading time. I do too much out of a sense of obligation. It must be the former teacher in me rearing her head from time to time 😉
I’m like you, if I start it, by god l’ll finish it. Generally that means some books will take longer then others because of how it may interest me. My greatest challenge is my dyslexia. I have learned to overcome a great deal of the challenges it presents but it still takes me longer then most to read a (good, average or bad) book. 🙂
Congratulations on the freelance work! That’s great!
I used to always finish books because I felt I owed it to the author and myself. Not anymore. There are too many books out there for me to enjoy instead of dragging through one I don’t. Since I buy my books, I have thought about returning the bad books. I recently bought several books from Amazon, one of them went from self-published to traditional. It was so poorly written that I seriously thought about returning it. I won’t write a one or two star review, but I also don’t feel like I should be stuck with a book that, frankly, the writer never bothered to learn the basics of writing.
I also did a few review swaps and had to contact the authors to let them know I couldn’t finish their books and that they didn’t need to write a review for my book. It might have been a bad move on my part, because word gets around, but I only post honest reviews.
Denise, I’ve done a few review swaps as well, but now I’ve decided to pursue interviews and guest posts instead. It can be awkward when getting to know someone, and then needed to contact them that you don’t feel the book garners a good review. I’d rather have honest reviews than skewed reviews any day.
I don’t quit enough is the short answer. I got into this ridiculous scenario of wanting to read as many books as possible in a year, so then if I was 100 pages in I would finish , even if I wasn’t enjoying it. Now I’ve let go of the numbers & will quit. Life’s too short to waste half a book’s reading time on something you don’t like. So I’d say it’s only 1 book in 10 that I quit, (I’m not counting after the first few pages) but I’m trying to be more particular with what I read. I think it’s an excellent rule of yours to not give a 1 or 2 star review, it doesn’t really help anyone. Better to spend your time on something more worth your while. Interesting topic Jeri. Thanks for the post.
A.K., Doing a review a week definitely starts to feel like a grind, and I’d rather two two great ones a month rather than trying to fit in four when my heart just wouldn’t bee into it. I like the creativity involved in bringing in cool book covers and reviews of movies based on books from time to time. Literature influence goes beyond just the pages of a story.
I think the last book that I actually quit was Game of Thrones. It was something I honestly could not get into at all (odd considering fantasy is my mainstay). I have a book of short stories I have been working through since around Christmas but short stories are great when you can pick and choose stories to read as you want to. I go back to it on occasion when I have run out of other stuff to read readily available.
I rarely if ever quit. There was a time where I was forced to quit because I lost the book. Hate it when that happens.
Jon, I’m not a huge fantasy fan, but I did give GOT a try since I fell in love with the HBO series. After slogging my way through the first one, and even giving it a fairly good review, I’ve just decided why try to read the others when I can just watch them on TV? Lazy or smart move? You be the judge… 😉
Hi Jeri – Good subject. Acquaintance. Where did acquaintance come from? I was looking up the correct spelling (no way intuitive) and lost everything I had previously written. So, I start again. For me, I rarely want to quit on a book that I pick up specifically because the author is local and I might want to interview them for my blog, or they’re a friend or an acquaintance. Hey, I may bump into them some place, and I would hate to have to say that I thought their book sucks, in fact I would never say that face to face with anyone. Yet, some of these definitely do. Suck.that is.
With a traditionally published book, it’s much easier to put one down. Like, I’m never going to see this person. So…
Then we come to me projecting onto my own book. It has received some very good reviews, but a lot of the reviews say that it starts out very slowly. and then shifts into high gear. Well, you have to listen to your reviewers, but many of them see no problem with the beginning. So, what is an author to do? Um, hope they don’t quit after the first 50 pages…
Then we come to your short story collection that I reviewed. I read all of the stories at least twice. They got better the more I read. Which may be my best observation: have some compassion. What? You’re so busy you can’t give an hour or two?
It’s a good subject, Jeri.
Larry, there’s definitely something to be said for stories that get better with each reading 😉 Too many readers are impatient, but I’m probably too patient. It’s hard to find the right balance sometimes.
I review books as a hobby because I read a great deal and I like talking about the ones that truly fire my imagination. This last year that works out to be roughly one a month, 99% of them indie. These are the ones that have it all – innovation, craft, compelling characters and that ‘X’ factor. The ones I don’t review range from almost-great-reads to a few that are ho hum. And then there are the ones that are just plain boring. I”ve given up trying to read those.
Meeks, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I often wonder about that illusive X-Factor when it comes to what makes me want to read a book. I do know that I read out of obligation too often, and I need to work on that!
If I can make it through the first 2 chapters then I usually finish it. If it can’t pull me in by then, then I lay it aside.
I have only quit reading one book and the reason was I clicked the wrong one in Kindle and of course couldn’t return it. Usually if I buy a book I will finish it or leave it to later when I am in the mood to read that particular genre.
I often quit reading books. OK, maybe you can’t call it quitting if it’s page two.
On my Sketching Out blog, I received a book in September that I told them I would review. I read several chapters. Then I read about four other books. Finally, the book went into a box. I felt bad, but I just wasn’t that interested.
On the other hand, I just finished reading Marmee & Louisa, about Louisa May Alcott and her mom. LOVED IT. I may write a book review. But I do have a thing for writer biographies – I eat those up.
It’s very rare that I buy or pick up a book at the library that I don’t finish reading.
Read at least one book a week. If I stop reading a book it’s because after a few pages I simply have no interest in continuing. Could be because I don’t like the way the author writes or the plot simply doesn’t interest me.
However if the subject interests me I will finish the book. That’s how I got through Aristotle’s The Rhetoric. Was warned what a difficult book it was to read, but even though I fell asleep a few times I managed to finish it.
Jeri, I think it’s a good idea to only do two book reviews a month and write about other subjects as well.
I’m on the fence right now! Should I push on because the premise in intriguing or give up because it’s overloaded with weighty exposition and the sentence structure is either very sloppy or a direct translation from an unknown language?
I admit to giving up often. There are so many good books out there. Should I devote my time to finishing the others?
I used to read through books even if they did not really grab my attention; these days I am more selective, if it does not get me hooked from the first couple of pages…it is adios amigo! No time to waste, I must enjoy what I read, otherwise it defeats the purpose.
Once I have a book to read I usually finish it within the next few weeks. I very rarely ever quit a book. My problem lies in how often I do read, which has been sparse of recent. I did just get a rare copy of my favorite Beat author and poet Ginsberg. That and a some of his early essays.
I used to quit reading a book if I got tired of it, or I would forget to carry it around with me and then I wouldn’t pick it up for so long that I would just lose interest, but ever since I bought my iPad a few years ago I finish every single book I buy! I always have it on me, so I can easily read on the go whenever I please, even ones I don’t like that much. I started reading my first Nicholas Sparks novel the other day, and I’m sorry to say that his writing didn’t captivate me but I still finished the book in hopes of an amazing and captivating ending (it unfortunately, didn’t have it).
I can’t remember the last time I actually quit reading a book. I mean sure there are books I start reading and on occasion put down and forget to pick back up, but I always return to them. I have bookshelves in my living room stacked with books and before I go out and buy a new book, I glance through the shelves and check that all books have been read and finished. I remember my English teacher in sixth grade telling us, “Don’t quit a book after the first few pages if you don’t like it. You must read a quarter of the book or 50 pages in first before you can decide.” And I’ve always tried to follow this rule. My problem is, once I get a quarter way or 50 pages in, I feel like I have invested enough of my time that it is worth it to keep reading. I am also the type that has to finish something once I started even if it is months later. So to better answer your question, do I quit reading books? Never. Do I occasionally take a break from them? Yes.
Understandable Jeri! When you’re busy with everyday life it can be hard to find time to relax and be able to do some pleasure reading. I myself have quite reading a number of books before. I’m the kind of person who needs to be completely hooked within the first 50 or so pages, or else I lose interest. For me, I need something that grabs my interest right away or else I won’t enjoy reading.
My problem is that I need to start reading books. I just don’t have a lot of time for it but I suppose if I cut out the tv or something similar it would be possible. It seems better to use your imagination than have images forced at you.
I used to be just like you; if I started a book I was finishing that thing unless it was relentlessly confusing. Until a couple of years ago I don’t think I’d ever stopped reading something I started.
Then I picked up Swamplandia. It had good reviews, but it just didn’t grab me. After a hundred or so pages of slogging through it, I had to take it back to the library and never picked it up again.
Recently, I neglected to finish a book club selection before the discussion. I was briefly determined to finish it afterwards, but realized I really wanted to get on with reading other stuff…So I did! And, enjoyed the tiny feeling of freedom!
I never really quit reading a book…sometimes it just gets lost in the clutter of my life and I promise I’ll get back to it and never do…
Carmen, I can’t possibly imagine that your life could be cluttered… 😉
I will quit a book now if I am not into it. I used to feel that I had to finish the book all the way till the end. Now I think life is too short. There are just too many books out there to not finish the ones that engage me. Thanks for the post. 🙂