Not every book we pick up will be enjoyable. There are just some books that we want to throw into the fire, never to be recalled again. And while that list may be different for all of us, we all have that list. Just as we all have a list of tomes we wish we had never read. Catcher in the Rye, I’m looking at you, you waste of my precious life-hours. Anywho, there’s always a question of when is it okay to stop reading a novel or book that you’ve already started. And what a good question it is.
While this most likely is true for any book that may have been required reading, what happens when you go into a library or buy one at the bookstore only to want to return it immediately after page 2? Hopefully you give it at least two sentences…Similarly, what happens when a friend recommends this book that they say is the best thing since The Hobbit but turns out to be *insert your least favorite book here*? Do you go to them and tell them they have horrible taste in the written word? Honestly, if it was one of my close friends I probably would but what happens next? Do you finish it because you know its their favorite novel even though every muscle inside you is screaming to rip it to shreds and paper mache a better book from the scraps? No? Just me? Okay, moving on.
There are a lot of different ways people decide if they should keep reading, if they hope it’ll get better and I understand that some books are just irredeemable, you cannot make them any better than they are because they were so bad, they can only ever be bad. Some people read a chapter or the first page and the last page (which makes me cringe), others read the last chapter, some read the first two chapters, some read a page in the middle because it should be the interesting part. How do you determine if you stop reading or go on with the story?
That being said, I do believe that it is perfectly fine for you to stop reading a narrative you aren’t enjoying, whether someone recommended it, whether you spent money, whether it was a gift. If you don’t like it, why spend the time to read it? You won’t get that time back. And in the end, you’ll just end up frustrated because the descriptions were flat, the characters unbelievable or there were way too many adverbs/adjectives/random commas. So now you’re mad because you spent time reading this when you could’ve been rereading your favorite book or diving into that TBR pile that has become an unstable mountain of books that may fall and suffocate you any minute. So why spend time on that novel/nonfiction/book of poetry when you don’t have to?
I also have my own personal rule, if I have given a book a chapter, then I read it. No matter how ridiculous it may be, how boring, how cliched or uninspired. I know, why do I torture myself? But it’s a rule I have always had and trust me, there are many books that I read that I regret wasting my time on. However, I know that with most of the books I read, the author has put a decent amount of time and effort into creating it so I try to respect it. I also want to save others the trouble of reading such horrible literature and so I review it and ensure you, my lovely wordy companions, don’t have to waste time, money or anger on reading such idiocy. You’re welcome.
Do you have any books you’ve stopped reading? Were they recommended by friends?
Thanks for stopping by fellow word nerds! Let me know what books you wish you hadn’t read in the comments! I want to see if our lists match up. Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone. Be sure to like this post and follow this blog to become a part of my bookish family. I’m hoping to keep growing and sharing all my helpful tips and book reviews with the world! (Says with maniacal laughter in the background and steepled fingers.) Feel free to add me on Instagram and friend me on Goodreads as well.
Happy (or not) reading!