Skip to main content

It's not you. It's me.

A couple of days ago Read Roger posted his thoughts on the reader's right "not to finish a book."There are many reasons you might choose not to finish a book. You get bogged down, lose interest, something more engaging comes along, you may not even be able to put your finger on the exact reason. But one way or another you put it down and don't come back. 

I am often motivated to finish a book I am not enjoying out of sheer perversity or a desperate hope that it will pull itself out of the nosedive at the last minute. But the last book I simply walked away from? I think that was The Fetch. It was just so cold and strange and, try as I might, I couldn't get close to any of the characters. I don't like doing it, but finally it was just time to move on.

So what was the last book you gave up on? And do you have a hard and fast rule on calling it quits? 

Comments

  1. I started into the first volume of a very popular MG fantasy series, got about five chapters in, and... just couldn't bring myself to go on.

    It wasn't that Action Stuff wasn't happening, it was that I'd never really been captivated by any of the characters (sure, they were nice people, but none of them had that *spark*, you know?) and so it didn't really matter to me if they survived the Action Stuff or not.

    I'm thinking that maybe I just missed something, or read it at the wrong time, and if I force myself to push through to the end, I might get what it is that so many other people like about this series. But on the other hand... I have a pile of other books to read yet, and life is short.

    I think that if I were an agent/editor and that manuscript came across my desk, I would be sending the author back a reply that said, "There's nothing really wrong with it, but I didn't fall in love with it. Best of luck placing this manuscript with another agent/editor."

    As for hard and fast rules, I don't usually give up on books, even ones I'm not enjoying very much -- I'm a speed reader so it's almost easier just to skim through to the end and see if it gets any better. But if I'm five or six chapters in and I'm just not having any fun at all, and there seems to be nothing built up in the story that I can look forward to, then it's time to call it quits.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love the title of the post.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It is a great title post. I also end up just skimming the book. I have a hard time, specially if I had bought the book to just DNF. I have a friend you also had a hard time finishing The Fetch because it said it had romance, but when she read it it had little or no romance in it. The last book I had a hard time finishing was Death's Daughter by Amber Benson.

    ReplyDelete
  4. RJ, that's it exactly. At least one (preferably two or more) character needs to spark. Otherwise....the void.

    Liz, grin. It's just how I feel when I have to break up with a book I'm reading.

    Princess Allie, I just could not slog through another page of it. I felt bad, too, as I loved the author's first book, which was just beautiful. I've never read anything by Benson.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I really hate not finishing a book I have started, and I try to push through most of the time. Having said that, I have had one DNF this year already which is a bit of a worry, because normally I only have one a year! The book I gave up on a few weeks ago was The Fool's Tale by Nicole Galland.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Marg, one a year's not bad. But I can see why you're a bit nervous. Mine was in January and it was a bit disheartening.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous8:57 PM

    I kind of get easily impatient if the novel doesn't capture my interest from the start or if the style of writing sort of bothers me. I try no to "drop" the book because this was someone's hard work and it deserves a chance, but sometimes I get plain fed up. The last book I really wanted to drop (but didn't) was Thief with no Shadow by Emily Gee. Didn't like it for many many reasons

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hey Sharry! I know the feeling. My temples start to feel tight and I completely agree about giving someone's blood, sweat, and tears the attention it deserves. I read your review of the Gee book. I hate it when a character's obsession gets so wearing you just want to die. Hope you have something good up next!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Great topic, Angie. I don't think I've read about bloggers discussing this before... but it is a topic all of us have some experience with.

    I usually plug through a book even if I'm not enjoying it so much for the same reasons as you. Very rarely do I never finish a book. My teen has no problem deciding halfway through a book that it's boring or what not and can put it down for good. She did that a few months ago when she was halfway through the fourth and final book in a series she was reading. A highly recommended one, too! I couldn't believe it and found myself strongly encouraging her to finish it. I backed off when she sighed and asked me if I was actually going to force her to finish it. (I admit I wanted so badly to say yes.)

    I almost envy that ability to just let a story go without knowing what happens even if I'm not enjoying it.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Christine, lol. Was this a series you had read and liked? I can see myself wanting to do the same thing in your place. I have trouble letting go unless I feel what I'm reading is an actual waste of my time. But I so rarely feel that way about reading. :)

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

You Might Also Like

Review | A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

The first review of the year! Writing this one always feels fresh and hopeful to me and like it may set the tone of my reading year in a way. This was a very good one to start with. And the moral of this story appears to be: I will never tire of Beauty and the Beast retellings. A fact I was not unaware of, but that I am happy to have confirmed once more, this time after reading Brigid Kemmerer's A Curse So Dark and Lonely. My favorites tend to run the Robin McKinley way, with the most recent favorite retelling being Meagan Spooner's wonderful Hunted. But this is the first retelling of my favorite fairy tale that I've read that includes both traditional fantasy and modern contemporary settings. I didn't think it could work. Or, at least, I was skeptical that the one would interfere with the other or that the different dialogues might clash. How happy I was to find that the whole thing played out seamlessly. How happy I am to have discovered Brigid Kemmerer's writin…

Review | All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater

I thought today would be the perfect day to review this unicorn of a book. It is All Saints' Day—a fitting day to revisit all the crooked ones, no? It is also the first day of November and so, today, . . . well, you know the rest. What I'm saying is, today is kind of the perfect day to do all the Maggie Stiefvater-related things! Which is, of course, why I'll be attending her signing event later this evening at my local indie, key in hand. I know. I win today. I do. What I do not do is take it for granted. My good fortune or this book. This beautiful, beautiful book. But before we get into my reaction, I want to make a brief request. If you haven't yet had a chance to read Maggie's post on how this book came about and what it was originally going to be and what it actually became, I straight up implore you to do so. It is one of my favorite things I've read this year and it is something I needed to read this year. My favorite line? "I discovered that I wa…

Angie's Best Books of 2018

It is the last day of the year. Are you with me? We made it this far. I think we'd better keep going. I always enjoy arriving at this final post of the year so much. I love seeing all of your lists and all of the books and words and hearts and monumental efforts that gave you life this year. That helped get you to this point. With me. I have felt rather keenly these last 365 days how in it together we are. How we have to be. And I am grateful for you. For each of you who leave comments and send recommendations and write and read and push forward into the darkness. I'm so grateful for you. 
And so here I leave my best books of the year. It's a whopping 28 titles, guys. Twenty. Eight. I haven't had a list that long in a handful of years at least. That is something to smile at. A record of a year well read, indeed.

Photo by @aamith (in the order in which I read them)

Circeby Madeline Miller The Princeby Katharine Ashe Burn Brightby Patricia Briggs Any Groom Will Doby Charis …