February 19, 2016

On Finishing What You Start

I'm here to admit that I'm a quitter.
[A book quitter, that is....]

photo from morguefile.com

I just put down a book that has been on my "to-read" list for a couple of years now. I finally got it, finally started in, and I'm just not very into it. It's not a content-related problem, like some books that I choose not to finish. It's just slow and I'm getting antsy.

According to my e-reader, I'm 25% of the way through it. I could skim it to find out what happens, but actually, I don't even care enough about the characters to do that. I'll find a review with a spoiler and call it a day. Or not.

I used to have this compulsion to finish any book I started. I even remember as a librarian telling people: "Give it 50 pages, and if you're not into it by then, put it down and find something else." However, I didn't really follow my own advice on that point. Well, obviously, I've gotten over that!

I think it has to do with 3 or 4 main factors.

1. My reading time is quite precious.
Three kids, and lots going on with school, sports, church, etc., means that I take time where I can find it. I get grumpy if I feel like I'm wasting that time.

2. So much to choose from!
I think my extra long "to-read" list on Goodreads is as much responsible as anything. Back when it was a longer process to figure out what to read next, I was a bit more invested from the start. Now, if the book I'm reading just isn't cutting it for whatever reason, there's 250+ more that are waiting for me.

3. I know what I like....and don't like.
I don't know that my tastes have matured, per se, (since I still read a whole lot of middle grade and young adult fiction), but they have become more pronounced over time. Certain things are almost automatic skim-reads: sappy, predictable romances being one of them. Every so often I make an effort to break out of my favorite genres, but if I'm hating it or bored, I see no need to finish the book (see #1).

4. There's no book police.
In other words--you can't make me!! Ha!  It's rather freeing to realize that I really can read whatever I want. If I decide not to finish something--great! More time for other pursuits. [Like gardening, perhaps.]

photo from morguefile.com
This is not my statue, but I kind of wish it was.

With all of that, it has only been recently that I created a shelf in my Goodreads account for "Did Not Finish." Before that, I would just stop. [I know. Crazy.] Right now there are 5 books on that shelf. Two I stopped due to content, two from boredom, and one was a mix of objectionable content AND boredom. Obviously, those two things are the kiss of death in a book I'm reading! 

So where are you on this spectrum? What makes you decide to put down a book? Do you ever skim read, or just read the ending?

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