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Sandi Shilhanek | To Finish or Not Finish?

Last year I did something I haven’t done in about 20 years. I set aside a book unfinished. This week I have been attempting to read another book by a different author, and am not very far into it, and am finding myself looking for chores that need doing rather than be lazing the day away reading.

While I feel guilty if I don’t finish this book I also feel horrid about all the books waiting so patiently for me to finally read my way to them. This leads to the subject of whether or not to finish the book that is going slowly, or to continue to persevere.

What would you do? Would you continue on with the book that isn’t working for you or move on? If you stopped the book would you set it back on the shelf or would you give it to someone else to hopefully enjoy? As for me I’m going to move on to a new book, and will keep this book in my stack because it’s on my Kindle, so it’s not taking up any space. Hopefully it’s my mood and some day this book will be right for me.

Until next week happy page turning to all.

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Readers 'n 'ritas...celebrating literary obsessions




26 comments posted.

Re: Sandi Shilhanek | To Finish or Not Finish?

Oh, Sandi...This happens to all of us, and it is particularly upsetting when it is a review book. Setting it aside will not change a thing, just prolong the agony. And, there are so many books in the tbr pile that need attention.

Sometimes I will just scan thru the rest of the book and try to get enuf of the plot to write a review. Before I throw in the towel and cry uncle I read other reviews to see if I've missed something. (Sometimes I wonder if we are reading the same book tho!)

Fortunately this rarely happens. So, don't feel guilty -- it happens to all of us at some time or the other.
(Betty Cox 11:45am March 15, 2009)

I read quite a bit of history from Herodotus to Stephen Colbert(!) and I find repetive phrases and stuff that is just not all that interesting(i.e. the difference between spearpoints in North and South America...pfft) and I feel no remorse for skipping the samples of unintelligible ancient languages and the minutiae an author feels obliged to include. Many times , the 'tone' of the book is made plain at the beginning. I usually know if I will finish the book by the end of Chapter One.
(Dawn Raymer 12:16pm March 15, 2009)

I really get upset when I start a book and then realize I really am having a hard time finishing it! I set it aside and read something else, but I always go back and finish it. I refuse to not finish a book, you never know,the longer you read maybe it'll turn out better than you thought. At least you can hope so!!
(JoAnn White 12:26pm March 15, 2009)

I used to force myself to finish books I didn't particularly care for, hoping they would get better, but I've come to realize it's a waste of my time. I have many books to read on my shelves, so I now stop and start a new book.
(LuAnn Morgan 12:30pm March 15, 2009)

When I can't suspend my sense of disbelief, I toss the book. And lately, I've found too many like that. I'm glad I'm not a reviewer I don't have to read books and give a neutral review, I can say it's lousy if I want to!
(Ruby Johnson 2:56pm March 15, 2009)

I have come across a few books that I just cannot get into and I just put them back on the shelf. There are not too many books that I cannot finish. I hate it that I cannot finish it. I know the author put alot into writing the book. I guess you can't like everything?? Judy
(Judy Cox 4:41pm March 15, 2009)

That is something I have been dealing with lately. For the first time, I have a fairly substantail TBR pile. I am now finding that I can't keep into books by authors I normal devour. I think it's because I know I have better books to read.
(Natasha A. 5:18pm March 15, 2009)

There are very few books that I don't or can't finish. When I try reading one that I can't handle I usually get rid of it because I'm never going to read it. Why take up space? Someone else may enjoy it. It does make me feel bad because I know that someone spent a lot of time writing that book or maybe not. Lucky for all of us there are wonderful authors writing good books, it is a matter of what appeals to each of us. There are rare occasions that I know the book is not working now but probably will later, then I keep the book to try again another time.
Thanks for a good discussion Sandi.
(Donna McClure 5:23pm March 15, 2009)

I find myself guilty of this more than I think. A bunch of books in my TBR pile are actually books I had started but just couldn't get into and I've put them back into the pile. I feel guilty cause I have spent the money on the book and don't want to waste money. I try to convince myself that I will dig it out again someday and read it all the way through. But I think I'm deluding myself. Those books keep creeping to the bottom of my TBR mass never to see the light of day again. Though sometimes I'm positive the book will pick up and grab my interest so I may skim a bit, and on occassion the book has turned out ok. If you've only tossed a book aside twice in 20 years, I'd say your doing pretty damned good!!
(Shauna George 5:25pm March 15, 2009)

i read 4 or 5 books a week. if it takes me more than a day of 2 to read a book, its bad. it use to be i HAD to finish no matter what, now if a book is just not grabbing me by the 3rd or 4th chapter i stop. too many other books to read.
(Becky Kinkead 5:30pm March 15, 2009)

It is rare that I can't finish a book but it does happen. Sometimes it can have nothing to do with the book even but it just the wrong time to read a particular plot element. (like reading about spiders after having a nasty spider bite). I think you hit the nail on the head--- the piles waiting to be read make the experience more unpleasant! If it's not a review book, move on. It's a review book then you gotta just think of it as homework and just read it in that frame of mind and hopefully find something in it. I mean well, I would rather read Dante's Inferno than Rabelais even though time has labeled each as "good books". I just don't like Rabelais so it feels like homework. You gotta do what you gotta do. Then I read in manageable chunks of time like an hour or two til I finish but reserve time for a book I love to read alongside it. Nice topic and one on my mind. I am reading a so-so book now with only 100 pages to go but I just had to pick up something better as I make it to the end of that book. One thing I have started to do is reserve nighttime and weekend reading for books that strike my fancy better and use morning time for others I need to get read. My nighttime chill out time is reserved for books that are a true pleasure.
(Merri Crawford 5:33pm March 15, 2009)

Hi Sandi! I've not finished a book for a different reason than having it not being interesting enough. I've been in the situation not finishing a book because it's too...well, filled with tension! And I'm also guilty of...dare I say it? ...skipping ahead to the end to see if the book is worth the pain? I know that sounds bad -- but hear me out -- I used to read books from one particular romance writer for a long time. I even had her on my auto order, not even bothering to read anything about her latest book, I'd just order it. Well, I was about half way through one of her stories and feeling the pain of the poor heroine, thinking 'this has to get better' when instead, it got worse. My author committed the one truely unforgivable sin -- the hero slept with someone else!! I put the book down, disgusted with the whole thing -- then cooled down and yes, I skipped ahead and read the ending. Did I read the entire book after? No, I didn't. The ending just wasn't quiet up to it...it being his absolute break in trust -- not just his either. I felt tricked by my author. Somehow cheated on as much as the poor heroine!
Anyway, I do find books I can't read after a few chapters, and sometimes it's my mood, other times it's the (still) lingering fear that an author might break my trust with the way the story is heading -- too much tension and so on.
(Billi Jones-dimatteo 6:22pm March 15, 2009)

There was a time when I finished any book I started whether it was good or bad. No More! I not only don't finish I sometimes give them away quickly. I have too many books and there is not enough reading time.

Once in a while I start a book that I think is lousy now, but may have potential later, my reading moods shift a lot and so that one book is one I'm willing to take a chance on later. These are however few and far between. So in answer to your question, I've grown conscience of a large TBR and if the story's not working and the potential in my opinion is not that good, out it goes!
(Livia Holton 7:24pm March 15, 2009)

Well, I just have to finish a book no matter what, but if I have other things I need to do, I will put the book down go do what needs to be done then go back to it. No matter how many time I stop and start back on this book I will finish it one way or another.
(Debbie Beverley 7:26pm March 15, 2009)

Sandi for me I have had this problem. I started a Jane Green novel last year,found I wasn't getting into it so since it was a library book I just return it and move on. After that I just pass her books without picking it up no matter how much praise it gets. If I don't like an author don't waste your time on them when there are ones out there you know you will enjoy better.
(Maggie Roso 7:48pm March 15, 2009)

Sandi, well my opinion is that there are too many good books out & on my TBR bookcase to waste time on a book that's just waisting my time. You could always put it down & pick it up again at a later date.
(Mary Griffith 7:53pm March 15, 2009)

I usually feel I must finish a book. I've
started "War And Peace" 4 times, but
could never make it further than about
page 80. I've put a a horror book
down - sorry, just can't do them.
Other than that, I think I've always
finished. There have been times I've
wondered why I've wasted my time the
book was such a waste. I just keep
hoping It will get better. It is dumb,
because as Mary just said, there are
too many good books out there
waiting to be read.
(Patricia Barraclough 8:02pm March 15, 2009)

Good question, Sandi. This rarely happens to me. When I was younger I would have finished the book no matter what. Or I would feel really guilty. Now that I am older there have been a few more books I have not finished but I no longer feel guilty. Life is too short to waste reading time on a book you just can't get through. Last year I took a book back to the library that I could not finish and it was by one of my favorite authors so that does happen as someone else mentioned.
(Mary Perry 9:18pm March 15, 2009)

When I was young I would finish a book no matter if I liked it or not. I felt as if I started something so I just had to finish it. Now as the years have gone by, I realize life is too short to waste it on bad books. If a book is up to my liking I will put it down. Once in awhile I hate the writing style but like the plot; if I just can not take the writing, I will skim to the back so I know what happened to the characters.
(Sari Nichols 11:09pm March 15, 2009)

Life's too short to read a book you don't enjoy or can't get into. If it can't get me within the first 3 or 4 chapters, I have to set it aside. Too much good stuff out there to spend time on bad stuff!!!
(Rachael Grime 11:43pm March 15, 2009)

It totally depends on why I don't want to finish it and if it is an author I usually enjoy. Sometimes I will pass it on, sometimes I will put it aside and come back to it later. It could be a mood things, or a topic thing, sometimes a topic just hits you wrong and you can't deal with it right now. But later is okay for some reason.
(Melissa Tackett 11:30am March 16, 2009)

Sandi - this just started happening to me recently - I've decided that time is too precious to not move on and read a better book.
(Laurie Kapkowski 2:37pm March 16, 2009)

Sandi, I've always told my story of reading "Wuthering Heights" and having to skim 7 chapters to get to the story. I seldom just drop a book, but I may skim to the end just to see if it get's any better. Too many books to waste my time on a bad one.
(Ilene Pedersen 7:59pm March 16, 2009)

I have no qualms at all about putting aside a book that doesn't grab me. Too many books, too little time to waste on something I don't like.
(Michelle K 8:01pm March 16, 2009)

I used to hate to not finish a book. I keep thinking it's going to get better, that maybe at some point it's going to get a lot better and I might really miss something good.
The past year, though, I've given myself permission to not finish a book that I don't like...and it feels great, I'll tell you! I don't ever keep them, but pass them. If I didn't like it, I didn't like it, and that isn't going to change.
Like someone else said, life's too short to waste it trying to get through a book you don't like.
(Janet Lewis 2:36pm March 17, 2009)

Hi Sandi, I've only had that happen a couple of times over the years, but sometimes you just have to walk away and pick up another book. We don't necessarily have to like every book we pick up and like others before me have said, Life is to short to muddle through a book you just don't like;-)
(Gail Siuba 6:21pm March 17, 2009)

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