In an ideal world, we would love every book we have the fortune of sticking our noses in. However, in reality? So not the case.
I used to pride myself on the fact that I would trudge through a book all the way to the end, even when I wasn’t feeling it. Nowadays, I’ve adopted quite a different mindset on the matter and I can’t believe I used to have pride in trudging through something. You might have to trudge through some things in life such as dental appointments and awkward conversations with your ex on why you broke up with him. But you should never have to trudge through a book of all things. I wouldn’t force myself to finish a plate of lasagna I didn’t like, so why would I force myself to finish a book I don’t like?
Anyway, if you’re one of those readers who, like me, get halfway through a book, stops feeling it and then tosses it aside? You’re good, go on and get outta here. (Or keep on reading if you’re curious to see what I have to say to the less enlightened.)
For the rest of you that need a bit more convincing, here are three solid reasons why it is perfectly fine to quit a book, whether you’re just a few pages in or a few pages from the finish.
It gives you more time to pursue other books
Just like there’s a lot of fish in the sea, there’s a lot of books out there waiting for you to get your hands on them. The straight up truth is that it’s okay if you’re not feeling a book and want to drop it like a hot potato. The book isn’t going to feel sad and neglected (probably) and you don’t really lose anything by not finishing it. Sure, maybe you won’t know what ends up happening or the nuances of the details, but that’s what Google and Goodreads are for.
It helps guide your reading tastes.
When you end up hating a book halfway through, that’s a clue that something about the book isn’t vibing with your tastes. For example, a recent book I quit irked me because the terminology kept repeating itself and annoyed the heck out of me. Similarly, there was a book series that was popular when I was in middle school that I just couldn’t get into. Why? It had a lot of ‘text speak’ in it, which was hip back in the day but drove me batty. Let your reading intuition guide your preferences so in the future, you can find better books.
It can help give constructive feedback to authors.
While it’s not guaranteed an author is going to read or care about your particular review of their book, your thoughts on a book you couldn’t or didn’t want to finish can help an author develop their skills. Most authors care about what their fans think of their books, so if a ton of people share that they couldn’t even finish a book, that’s a red flag to the author that they might have to reconsider the direction they’re heading in. Again, Goodreads is awesome here. If you’re nervous about writing a bad review of a book, check out what other people have been saying first. I’m sure you’ll find that you’re not alone. And so what if you are? Your opinion still counts.
I hope these reasons persuade you to feel less guilty about dropping a book you don’t enjoy. After all, reading is supposed to be like taking a nice, meandering walk through a different world. Not like trudging through 5 feet of mud.