Posted in Books, Literature, Reading

To finish or not to finish: knowing when it’s time to put a book down

A few years back I met a woman who said she’ll give a book five chapters before she decides whether or not it’s worth finishing. At the time I found this utterly horrifying, how could one possible conceive of leaving a book unfinished?

I’ve had close friends and family tell me that it’s “not like me” not to finish something I’ve started, books especially. I start as I mean to go on. However, if I persist with a book that I’m clearly not enjoying I have a tendency to avoid reading it. I don’t move on to another book and promise myself that I’ll return to the previous one, I just don’t read at all. It seems ridiculous but for years I swore by this because I couldn’t leave a book unfinished. As recently as last year I’ve forced myself to get through a book I really wasn’t enjoying (I won’t say which book because everyone seems to love it!).

My New Year’s resolution for 2017 is to accept that not every book is going to be for me. The challenge is, when do I draw the line? How far into the book do I go before I decide that this just isn’t working for me? Is five chapters sufficient? Is there a defining moment at the beginning of a book that tells you that, yes, this book is worth reading fully? Thankfully I haven’t read a book so far this year that has presented me with that challenge, but I’m anticipating it.

How about you? What makes you put a book down? Or are you like me and force yourself to read it no matter how awful you find it?



I have a Bachelor degree in Psychology and a Masters degree in Journalism. I love to write, especially about mental health and animals. I like to use my blog as an outlet for new things I discover in these areas and experiences I have.

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