Saying Goodbye to Books That Never Said “Hello”

Like many readers, I have long struggled with the concept of leaving a book I don’t like to move on to the next book. Granted, when I was in school I had no issue not finished those books because they were assigned and therefore not what I wanted. Books that I pick up on my own, I feel I have to finish. This has lead to many hours committed to a book that I had lukewarm/negative feelings for, which in turn would end in me taking time away from my passion due to the sour taste the previous book left.

This year, thanks to listening to the What Should I Read Next? podcast, I found solace in the fact that it is not only okay to abandon books that I’m not enjoying but there is a reason for my feeling obligated and I am not alone. The reason, that I heard from many guests on the podcast, is that due to the enforcement of required reading in school many people think that once they start something they MUST finish it. When it comes down to it, there is no reason that one should finish something that isn’t bringing them joy.

A few days ago my husband watched me pull a bookmark out of a book that I had been reading, and set the book on my “return to the library” pile on our table. He looked horrified and said, “You never quit a book.” He absolutely has a right to be surprised. This morning I was pacing around our home and finally turned to Cody (the a fore mentioned husband) and asked him to help talk me through something. I had started Emily of New Moon by L. M. Montgomery, due to a long standing love of Anne of Green Gables, and while I felt that the character of Emily is perfectly delightful I had a hard time getting excited to continue reading it. So I asked that Cody talk to me about how it’s okay to not love Emily as I love Anne, and that it might not be the right time for me to read this novel.

These are all things that I logically know. Things that I would have no issue preaching to someone who comes to me with a similar thought. Naturally it is different when I am the one reading. It isn’t, but it’s harder to make oneself open their own eyes.

I believe that as we come closer to the end of the year (I know it is only October, but it is never too early to think about goals), one of the goals I will set for myself is being more intentional about what I read. Making sure that I don’t waste time reading things that I don’t at the very least like. Do you have similar problems leaving books? How do you combat it?

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