To Finish or Not To Finish….That is the Question….

To Finish…or Not To Finish…    A “Bad” Book

I was asked an interesting question today…one I have often debated and heard opinions of and I thought I would post my feelings on the topic (both personal and professional). Usually in the question of whether or not to keep reading a book you as of yet have not enjoyed there are two camps. Camp one claims “life is short…so many books”…stop. Camp two says “How can you stop….when you don’t know if the whole thing is bad and it kind of feels like a failure to stop something you have started”.  I personally am a little OCD about finishing any book I start for two reasons. One is that until that final page is read…the author can still make me believe, can still catch my attention and maybe even make me say “WOW” (this is my professional opinion as well and the one I apply to books I am reviewing in that capacity). I’m not saying this happens a lot but it could and that is why I must push on. The second reason is that for some reason I am very unsettled by starting a book and not finishing…it just feels wrong. I cannot explain it. I know life is short….but well I never want to miss the opportunity of that WOW…even if I have to suffer through quite a bit of what I may not like. What is your opinion….are you a finisher or not? And what makes you finish or not finish?

(P.S. I could have simply posted a stack of books graphic  for this post but why not give a you hunky pic of my favorite Hamlet Kenneth Branagh instead.)



Filed under Library Fun

11 responses to “To Finish or Not To Finish….That is the Question….

  1. Good question for a post. I have a hard time not finishing books. My husband does not understand this. I will complain and complain about a book, and he says, “No one is forcing you to read it, just stop.” But I can’t. Unless a book is just utterly, indescribably bad – the kind where I feel my blood pressure go up when I start reading – then I labor on.

    I think it helps to have a blog or an outlet of some sort. Before I had my blog I posted reviews on Goodreads (and still do), and having that outlet, knowing that in the end I can sit down and compose my thoughts, makes the read seem less of a “waste.”

  2. I’m reading “Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norrel rightnow, and it is beautifully written and amusing and brilliant…and 782 pages long. It doesn’t grab you by the throat and force you to keep reading. It strolls along beside you, nodding its demure head in your direction occasionally and politely discussing the correct way to advance English Magic and defeat Napolean. I keep looking at my to-read pile, but must finish first! I’m sure it will be worth it, right?

  3. I struggle with this too. For the most part, I really try to finish a book. However, when I have other books waiting to be read, I find myself wanting to pick up another book. I really have to be careful though. If I feel like I’m forcing myself to finish a book, my stress level increases and I tend to find myself turned off from reading in general. It’s a thin line sometimes. I’m really not convinced it’s a black and white issue. I think my opinion would vary based on the book.

  4. I’m of the life is short group. I simply can’t continue a book that doesn’t engage me. I have no choice in the matter, my hands simply won’t turn the pages. Time is too precious for me to hope for something better in the next chapter.

    Greg Gutierrez
    Zen and the Art of Surfing

    • stilettostorytime

      See…that just proves my two sides…theory… and most the time..people seem to very adamant about their stance. Thanks Greg for representing the other camp…we won’t attack!

  5. I recently dropped a book, a review book none the less, because I just couldn’t do it anymore. I felt terrible! Guilty even. I think it’s like that with most everything I do though, I have to finish or I feel like I didn’t give it my all. So, for me to have let go of this last book is to say it was miserable.

  6. stilettostorytime

    I know exactly what you’re all talking about…

    Nicki: Although I am more likely to dread reviewing books I did not like, especially those I am giving a professional review…..I think I might be too nice! It makes me feel bad, mean somehow. Like I am dropping kicking someone’s baby! Because that’s what their writing probably is to them. But I always try to be honest no matter what. and it is a nice outlet especially when something really bothered you.

    Kelly: I personally really loved “Jonathan Strange” but I am a huge British literature fan and that could be why. I sailed through it and thought it was smart and whimsical and perfectly timed during it’s Harry Potter heyday. But keep going I know it’s worth it. Although she has another book of short stories…that only read a few out of… bored It somehow felt forced. It sits on my shelf still. Pretty cover though! =)

    Shonda: I completely agree….it’s not black and white. That’s why I love hearing others view on it. I think it is a book by book thing too…I won’t sit through complete drivel for instance but I also would rarely pick up a book and start one that I did not have some reason to believe I would enjoy. I get the high anxiety when I am trying to push and finish something too. When my reading or writing is pushed rather than organic for me…there is no enjoyment. I try so hard to keep that from happening to me since reading is my ultimate escape.

    Thanks for the comments ladies!

    • Ah yes, if you’re doing a professional review then I can totally see where you’re coming from. In most cases, I assume that the author is probably never going to lay eyes on what I’ve written, so therefore I feel that I can be more blunt. However, I also post reviews on Goodreads and there are several authors on my friend list and in those cases I do find that I have a very hard time being honest, knowing that they may read what I write. I do still try to be honest but I also find that I temper my words a little more, careful to be more subtle than blunt.

  7. I am a book finisher all the way. I just can’t leave a lonely, partly finished book on my shelf…even if it isn’t very good.

  8. Pingback: Dracula: The Un-Dead « Stiletto Storytime

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