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?