When you start a book expecting to enjoy it and it just doesn’t capture your imagination, it’s a bibliophile’s dilemma. Do you finish it?
With the exception of set books we’re obliged to read for study or work, I think we all tend to start books we think we’ll enjoy.
What happens when you really don’t like the book at all? When the thought of reading it for hours longer makes you want to hide it in a lost treasure chest… at the bottom of the ocean…
Do you give the book a chance to reel you in? Or do you cast it overboard?
Personally, I usually decide to stick with it for the first couple of chapters and hope that I’ll ‘get’ the book and start enjoying it. Once I’ve got that far though, I usually want to know what’s going to happen. I continue to read and even if I’m not really enjoying it, there comes a point that I then feel too invested in the book to just give up and not finish. I feel like I HAVE to finish it! It invariably takes much longer to read than a book that you’re enjoying and it can become a real chore.
I imagine you to be screaming at your screen, but there’s so many books and so little time! Why? Why would you continue with a book you don’t like?
As a writer I try to analyse these books and figure out what is it about them that is putting me off. Some books can be repetitive. Recently I’ve read a couple of books that are written from several point of views, which although not for everyone, I quite enjoy until each character starts repeating things we’ve already established. Sometimes the characters don’t have any depth or I find it hard to identify with their motives and then the whole book seems a bit forced.
So although it’s a shame when I don’t like the book I usually manage to take something away from each book I read, even if it’s only a stylistic observation. Luckily it doesn’t happen often but when there’s a book that bores me I usually struggle through until the end.
I read at every opportunity anyway! My favourite thing to do on a night-watch on the boat is get stuck into a great book… I have to set an alarm to keep going off though because if it’s a really great book, I might not notice a ship about to hit us!
What about you? Do you finish books you don’t like?
6 thoughts on “A bibliophile’s dilemma”
I totally get how you feel – I am the WORST for sticking with a book, even if I’m hating it. I worry it may be down to sheer pigheadedness. 😛
I do the same thing – try and figure out what’s turning me off, so I can try and avoid it my own writing.
Love your blog btw – have followed, keep it up! 🙂
With non-fiction books like that, I will eventually start skimming and then flipping through to see if the other chapters have the little piece of information that I need that inspired me to connect with the book. If it is just too archaic in wording and presentation (takes a paragraph when a sentence will do), I will eventually stop. It doesn’t matter how good the information is if the presentation is so bad I can’t schlog through it. My time is limited, so I have to remind myself that I don’t have to read them all; I just have to get what I need out of them. When it comes to fiction, I will give them more time to develop the book, but I still have my limits. If I’m 1/4-1/3 the way in and I just don’t care what happens, I’ll let it go. If I’m half-way through and I only care a little, I let it go then, too. Good luck with your process! It has taken me a long time to get to the point where I allow myself to stop (or skim).
I have been known to skim to get to the end faster but I can’t just not finish at all without feeling beaten!
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Hang in there! It’s not a bad compulsion!
One of my daughter’s is an avid reader, in addition to reading for coursework. Tara prefers to read books. Kindle is okay, but she loves the feel of turning a page.
Long time since I heard the term “nightwatch”. 🙂
I’m the same I prefer actual physical books but the Kindle is perfect for the boat and getting English language books easily from anywhere in the world! Not everyone agrees with reading whilst on watch at night but I would be asleep if I didn’t! 🙂
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