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Unfinished Books

In the past few months, I’ve stopped reading two novels, less than halfway through reading them.  These books were both well-rated on GoodReads and were books I’d heard good things about.  But from the moment I picked them up, I struggled with poor writing quality and boring plots.  This got me wondering whether putting a book down before finishing it is a good thing or not.

Sometimes it’s true that a book or a movie can be amazing, but might start out a little slow, so should we finish every book we start?  Or is there a certain point where we’ve been given all the warnings, and we’re choosing to simply continue wasting our time.

I never used to stop reading books partway through, but since my reading time has become more and more precious, I’ve become far more protective of this time.  If I get past the first five chapters or so, and I’m still not enjoying the book, I feel a strange resentment towards the author for the time I’ve already invested into reading the book, and I put it down.

Now, this isn’t to say that every book I’ve ever put down has been a terrible book.  Not every person is right for every other person, and every book is certainly not right for every person, so I really shouldn’t feel any animosity towards a writer if I didn’t enjoy their book.  And, this also brings me back to the question I’ve been considering, could these books be amazing, and I’ve missed out terribly by putting them down?

What do you think?  Do you ever stop reading a book partway through, and if so, do you ever wonder whether you missed out on something amazing?

Leave a comment


  1. I used to finish every book I started. What I learned is if I’m not enjoying the book a third of the way through then I should move on. It isn’t a commentary on the work of the author or the quality of the book. The simple fact is that the book is not what I need at the moment. I suggest you move on, guilt free, you can always return to it later. Like you my time to read is limited. So I try to make the most of it. I read several books at a time and my mood dictates which one I pick up each night.

  2. I often used to leave books aside to read other books. In fact, I have dozens, if not hundreds of unfinished books around which I intend to finish some time. However, all of those books are a burden and an obligation. It was a huge relief to me when I was struggling through something I just didn’t like to realise that I didn’t have to finish it _ever_. I could get rid of it and never read it again.


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