Deciding Not to Finish

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Alas, it was not meant to be.

One of my reading goals for this year was to finally read Love in the Time of  Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  I’ve had a copy on my bookshelf for forever.  It’s been hovering at the top of my Goodreads TBR ever since I started keeping track of books I want to read when I joined the site.  I read and loved his One Hundred Years of Solitude some years ago.  I had high hopes.

Today I decided to abandon it.  I got to page 132 and could progress no further.  For weeks it sat on my bedside bookcase admonishing me.  I even obtained the audio book version from the library and tried to listen to it on my commute.  Nope.  Couldn’t do it.  I just didn’t care.  The story went nowhere.  And maybe it eventually does, but I don’t have the mental endurance for it right now.

It doesn’t help that I’m making myself finish my book for book group, and it’s also taking its sweet time progressing (Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, in case you were curious.) I’ve been entertained and not too annoyed by it, but it needs a good editor, in my opinion.  Now I’m in the home stretch, less than 100 pages.  And I think – I hope! – that there’s a resolution coming soon.

I still feel a small twinge of guilt whenever I abandon a book.  I read a great post on Book Riot a few months ago that said that reading should not be a chore.  Not that we shouldn’t try to stretch ourselves and read challenging things, but that we shouldn’t make ourselves finish something that makes us feel absolutely miserable while doing so.  I totally agree.  What’s the point?  Are we going to get some kind of reward, a gold star or an ice cream cone?  (Wait – I might make myself finish Love in the Time of Cholera if there was free ice cream involved.)  No one cares what we read!  Well, no one outside the lovely, friendly book-blogging world, that is.

And who’s to say that some future incarnation of Laila won’t pick up this novel again in ten, fifteen, twenty years?  She may love it.  I’m not ruling it out.

How do you feel when you don’t finish a book?  Any guilt?  Any books you regret making yourself finish?

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6 thoughts on “Deciding Not to Finish

  1. I hate abandoning a book, but I do it anyway. There are so many good books out there; not all of them are for me. With reading time being so precious there is really no reason to grin and bear it. I could not finish American Gods (I lasted about 1/3 of the way in and hated almost every minute. True, it was an audio book and I’m not sure that is a good format for it) but I loved The Graveyard Book, The Ocean At The End Of The Lane and Anansi Boys. I regret making myself finish The Story of Edgar Sawtelle and most recently Go Set A Watchman. I could have been reading something else. Bummer. Life is just too short.

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    1. I could see how an audio book of American Gods might not be fun. It’s a meandering sort of book and I might have abandoned it were it not for my book group. Good to know about Anansi Boys. I’ve read other comments that echoed your thoughts on that one. I’ve just started reading Go Set a Watchman so I’ll let you know how I get along with it!

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  2. I used to feel very guilty but these days, if the book isn’t doing it for me I move on and don’t worry about it. Still, I will slog through a book sometimes because I think I should. The older I get the better I get at not doing this, no time to mess around with books I am not enjoying!

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  3. I strongly believe that books come to us at the right time, like magic. 🙂 Silly me. But it is true in my case. I always discontinue a book when I’m not feeling it, even if there are only 100 pages left to go. I feel like when I am ready for it, it will appeal to me. That was my experience with Grapes of Wrath. When I finally read it completely I loved it!

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