Thursday, November 11, 2010

Do You Know When to Let Go?

Guys, I has the guilt and the frustration right now.

I'm conflicted on when is the precise moment when to decide that a book is just not for me. It really feels like back in high school, breaking up with that really cute, really nice boy who turned out to be kind of predictable and doesn't have any standout qualities...

But could POTENTIALLY make you happy...

BUT you're just so unsure that you don't want to waste anymore time on it...

(I've never actually gone through this hypothetical, analogical scenerio, but I've read about it!)

It's so hard for me to put down a book in which I've already invested time and money. It's equally hard to continue turning pages when your eyes glaze over and it's been 15 minutes and you've looked at the same sentence 20 times. Giving up, to me, feels like I'm not being fair to the author. What if they have something special in store several pages down the line? I know that I could pick up a book I'd be more interested in, but what if something MINDBLOWINGLY AMAZING happens within the next 200 pages?! And I miss out on it? And then all my friends are talking about "OMG can you BELIEVE that one part of Said Book?! It changed my life! I can solve ALL the world's problems now!"

I realize this is highly unlikely. But that's how my mind works. I'm super enthusiastic about books, as are we all, and I love to pick out the good things in the books I read. So how do you know when to say goodbye? I've only DNFed 3 books in 2010.

I asked a couple other bloggers via Twitter and here's what they had to say:

Tara from Fiction Folio
"I have only stopped reading one book. If I start it, I have to finish it.

Tara from Hobbitsies
"I hate giving up. If I don't like a book, I'll put it down and come back to it. Usually my mood affects how I like what I read."

Kristi from The Story Siren
"I have a 100 page rule. I used to feel more guilty [about giving up]."

Kate from Literary Explorations
"I've rarely given up on a book, but I think if I wasn't liking it halfway through then I'd give up and read something better."

Jamie from The Perpetual Page Turner
"I have such a hard time not finishing a book.. but lately I give it about 100 pages, depending on how long the book is."

Jami from YA Addict
"I have a 5 chapter rule."

Melanie from Reclusive Bibliophile
"I usually give it a few chapters, say 50 pages-ish, and then I give up if I'm not into it. I feel a little guilty jumping ship, but then I glance over at my TBR pile. I just try to remind myself that not every book is for every reader and then move on to one that hopefully will be for me."

Annette from Annette's Book Spot
"Usually 50 or so. But if it's a longer book, or one I THINK I should like, I give it longer."

So there it is. It's good to hear what other readers think, but it doesn't lessen the guilt for me. I think the more that the TBR pile grows (and it will, that wily minx!) the less guilty I will feel about letting go and moving on.

Melanie said it best when she told me: "You'll just have to decide what feels worse: guilt or boredom."

So what do you guys think? Do you have a hard time giving up on a book? Do you feel guilty about doing so? Or is giving up not even an option?


  1. My give up rule is a 100 pages. Sometimes I will come back to it when I am in the mood but generally if I have given up I don't return. I don't really feel guilty because at least I gave it a shot :)

  2. I don't have a rule, I just give up when I start to not like it. I don't want to waste my time reading something I'm not enjoying, because that is the whole point in reading for me. I do try to push past not liking it at first though, because sometimes I think the mood I'm in may affect how I feel about the book.

  3. Ehh...give it up. Your time is precious! This is supposed to be fun! And I'm saying this with a feeling that deep down you are talking about MY FAVORITE BOOK EVER. It's okay--everyone has different tastes, and if a book isn't for you...stop making yourself miserable and go pick up something you can devour :)

  4. Ugghhhh - this is my big issue right now. I can not give up on a book I've started. I have only given up on two books so far (one I sneaked a peek at the ending so I know what happened)
    I'm like you - I hold out hope until the end that it will turn around and amaze me. It doesn't usually happen though. I am currently reading three books at one time becuase none of them are grabbing me but I won't stop reading them....just in case :-)

  5. Great post! Sometimes it's really hard to end books because you've heard such great things about them. I gave a 50-100 page rule. I actually just started a monthly feature highlighting the books I had to "break up" with.

  6. I very rarely give up on a book, but occasionally I put it down and find something else, intending to come back to it later. Usually I do, but if I don't, it was probably not worth ploughing through.

  7. I don't give up on books, I just set them aside to be finished at an indeterminate point in the future. There's four of those books right now in my reading pile. I'll finish them when I finish. Idk I think I've DNFed like 3 books this year. I just have a tough time giving up!