It’s true. I don’t quit books. Even if I can’t stand the story, the characters, the sentences, the dialogue. Doesn’t matter. I plow through.
I’ve been told over and over that this is a mistake. “Life’s too short,” they say. “So many great books out there, don’t waste time on bad ones.”
Yeah, yeah. I know.
But I have my reasons. And they are four-fold:
1) The book might get great right after I put it down. This is my major fear when it comes to quitting books. What if I give up one page before the big car chase scene where everything gets turned on it’s head and suddenly it’s the Best Book Ever. Take The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Everyone knows you need to give that one a good 100 pages. Maybe 125. If I’d quit 50 pages in I would’ve missed one of my favorite literary characters of the last five years. (Lisbeth, not Blomkvist.)
2) Quitters never win. Or something. I keep a running list of the books I read (started in September 2002 and still going strong), and if I don’t finish a book, I can’t add the title to my list. Feels like cheating. And I crave adding to my list. It’s the Rachel Bertsche version of the gold star.
3) Someone put their heart into this. It’s totally cheesy, but when I consider quitting, I can’t help thinking that someone out there sat at her desk day after day, pouring every ounce of her being into this book. I feel like I owe it to that writer to at least finish the story, even if my final verdict won’t be so positive.
4) If I don’t finish it, I can’t speak to it. Since MWF Seeking BFF hit shelves, the reviews I find most frustrating are the ones from readers who didn’t finish the book. I’m of the opinion that if you don’t get to a book’s end, you can’t comment on the story as a whole. It’s not an informed opinion of the entire book if you tossed it aside after 50 pages. So when I read, I want to read to the end. Even if I don’t like the book, I want to be able to say why. I hate coming to book club with only one comment to offer: “I couldn’t get through it.”
So that’s my story. I finish books. I took an extremely informal Twitter poll once and learned I’m in the minority, but at least I have my reasons.
All that said, I wouldn’t mind changing my ways. I get the sense that I’d read a lot more if I didn’t force myself to stick with books I didn’t enjoy. I move through the tough ones mighty slowly.
So, now’s the time. Please convince me to start quitting books. Ok? Go.
What about you? If you don’t like a book, do you put it down or suffer through?
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