8 Reasons I Struggle To Put Down A Book

I HATE when I’m reading a book and I’m not really feeling it. Because then…one of the hardest bookworm decisions has to be made. To put down the book or keep reading? I mean, it’s a tough decision. If I don’t put it down I am at risk for subjecting myself to something awful and possibly putting myself in a dreaded reading slump. I recently had a REALLY tough time putting down a book —  I put it down and was so close to talking myself out of it. But my book people on Twitter stepped in and off to the library I went to return the book.

I realized there’s many reasons why I struggle to put it down. Let’s explore them.

1. I think “IT COULD GET BETTER” and history has made this be true for me.

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Some of my favorite books started out rough or slow (Code Name Verity and Jellicoe Road). I can’t imagine not having those stories in my life!! But there are more books that DIDN’T get better…that weren’t that one that was worth pushing through. But I get so caught up in the fact that books I may have wanted to put down have been SO WORTH IT. Even though mathematically that’s a small percentage. But I’ve never like math anyways.

 

2. I’ve invested so much time into it.

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SERIOUSLY THOUGH. Let’s say I spent an hour or so reading a book. I CANNOT GET THAT TIME BACK. I could have been reading something else so I might as well just finish so it wasn’t wasted time. Plus, LET’S BE REAL….an unfinished book can’t count towards my Goodreads challenge and I can’t figure out a way for the pages I DID read to count in my pages read count on Goodreads. I NEED TO GET SOME SORT OF CREDIT FOR READING WHAT I DID. I might as well just finish the damn book to do that.

3. I like finishing what I start.

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It’s true. I hate starting something and then leaving it unfinished. (Although look at all my unfinished series…IT REALLY DOES BOTHER ME. I swear). It just nags at me.

 

4. I’m NOSY.

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I like to know what happens in most cases. Even if I’m not really digging it I mostly ALWAYS have the desire to know what happens. Even if it’s excruciating for me to keep reading or putting me in a slump. Sidenote: Book friends are so useful in this way. I always get them to tell me what happens if I don’t want to finish a series or a book.

 

5. It’s just kind of my personality.

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A problematic part of my personality. I suck at letting things go. This is why my closet has tons of things I haven’t worn in 5 years in it. I’m always like BUT MAYBE I WILL WANT TO WEAR IT. Toxic friendships? Took me years to let some go. I always try to tell myself things could turn around. It could change. People will be less sucky. Miserable situations? YEP I JUST TRY TO FIGHT THROUGH IT HOPING IT GETS BETTER. I’m just the worst at letting go….even when I know I should.

6. I spent money on it.

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I wish money grew on trees but ALAS IT DOES NOT. So if I spent money on a book? I feel the most guilt in the world to not finish it. I know I could pass it along or donate it but I still feel guilt like WOAH. This is also why I’ve gotten better about being more selective with what books I buy.

7. I have an obligation & I feel guilty.

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If it’s for book club, it was a gift, a bff’s favorite book or I said I’d read with a friend or anything like that? I AM DOOMED. I’ve only ever not finished one book for book club but I did have to put my foot down with that one because I was in a major slump because of it.

8. I’m unsure whether it’s the book or ME:

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I wrote this post “It’s Not You, It’s Me…Or Is It?” a long time ago but this is still a huge issue for me. Sometimes I can’t tell if it’s just a mood thing or it’s not the right time…or if it just really IS the book. If it’s a ME/outside factor than I’ll try to pick it up again sometime later (in an ideal world).

 

It’s a hard moment when I’m faced with dilemma of quitting a book. ALL THESE FACTORS MAKE IT SO HARD TO MAKE A DECISION.

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LET’S TALK:

Are you good at putting down books you aren’t into? What factors make it hard or easy for you?

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 30 year old married lady who is in denial that she's actually that old. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, listening to music with oversized headphones and having adventures with her husband and dog.

Comments

  1. I’m the same way. Except, I’ll go on and read the whole series, just knowing that it will get better. And then it doesn’t. I just can’t not know what happens.

    • YES I’m *mostly* the same with series. I just officially let go of some because I realized I was like in the middle of 70 series soooo the ones I didn’t like had to go!

  2. I have to finish a book or else I feel the guilt, especially if a book is sitting on my shelf. I feel like its judging me. I am more prone to say that I won’t finish a series. I feel like getting through a book I’m not into is more of a victory for me. I actually had a problem with this this year when I said I was done with a series because I disliked the book so much, but then I was forced to buy the next book in the series in order to go to a book event.

    • YES they so sit there judging me!! That’s why I’m better with DNFing library books because I can just take them back haha.

      They forced you to buy a book to go to an event?? 🙁 Sometimes I go just to hear and not necessarily buy when I don’t have money!

  3. I’m bad at putting down books, because of all of the reasons you’ve listed above. I’ve only ever done it a handful of times but I do try to revisit it it a year or so later.

    When I first tried Twilight I hated it but I picked it up a couple of years ago and ended up really enjoying it.

  4. I used to struggle with this a LOT but now I am so much better at letting books go. The time you spend wondering if you should carry on with a book and the misery you feel forcing yourself to read a book you’re not really digging is THE WORST and I refuse to do it. Reading is a hobby, it is something you should enjoy doing and if a book is not making me happy then I put it down and move on. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

  5. 1. In that case, I always check out Goodreads to see if people think the story gets any better.
    2. That’s definitely something that makes me want to finish a book, but I think this way: I already wasted one hour, do I want to waste even MORE time on this book?
    6. That’s why I’m now very careful when it comes to buying books. I don’t buy them on a whim anymore.
    7. YES. That’s hard. When it was a gift, I feel horrible for telling them I didn’t like it/DNF it.

    • YES I totally do that too! And most of the time? I’m just as indecisive because everyone is so split haha. I try to see what people I usually ALWAYS agree with say though.

      I love your reframing for #2!! It’s so hard though because I’m like okay at least at the end of the hours I can say well I finished a book but at the end of the hour I’m like WHAT DO I HAVE TO SHOW FOR THIS?? I need to get over it.

      SAME. I have changed my buying habits soooo much. Unemployment helped that one. More choosy.

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who has gift guilt. It’s not even just books either!! So many presents people have bought and I feel compelled to wear or use.

  6. I do this as well. If I start a book, I need to finish it. I’ve only DNF a book once in my life and it was The Host, but I didn’t invest too much time (by the time I got to chapter 3 I stopped reading). But two of the main reasons why I don’t DNF is because I spent my money on the book and because I’ve invested my time and sometimes the book does get better and is a win win but sometimes it doesn’t and it’s a shame but I feel proud of myself because I finished it. Does all this make any sense? I hope so, for my sake LOL

  7. Yes, yes to pretty much all of these! Except #1 actually, as I’ve found this to be false for myself. I think, when I’m struggling with a book, it clouds my experience with negatives and anger at wanting to put the book down but not being able to because I’m hoping, so hoping, that it’ll get better. I struggle with #4, especially with review books! And oh, the guilt when I set aside an ARC (which has actually gotten better since I changed my review policy). But I’m slowly getting over that, because I’m sick of wasting my time on books I don’t like (yet I still do it anyway). I have such a hard time putting books down, so I always say I’m “setting it aside for later” because maybe, just maybe, it’s my mood and not actually the book. I like to give some a second chance, which has proven to be better as I actually end up loving the book at a later date. Great post!

    Oh, and happy birthday Jamie! 🙂

  8. I TOTALLY get you on the wanting to finish for your goodreads count. I swear that thing pushes me to do more than I ever would have done before. It’s like a leisurely yearlong competition. I usually end up scanning books that I’m not that into. You know like okayyyyy he kisses her let’s move onnn okayyyyy now they’re broken uppp. Now she’s having second thoughts *skip a few pages* lets just see what that last chapter says. I don’t know if you’ve read the daughter of smoke and bone series but the first one – SO GOOD – second one had chunks that dragggggged my lifeeee away. So I skipped a few chapters. Haha I still got the gist of it. I am with you on the not wanting to put it down unread. I want the satisfaction of knowing what happens!

  9. Lol, represent for the clothes that haven’t been worn for 5 years! (me too!)

    I have SUCH a hard time putting books down for many of the same reasons. This week I had a book I expected to love just bore me to death and I did eventually put it down intending to DNF it, and start another book. Well, luckily for it, the other book I picked up didn’t grab me either, so I picked the first one back up and pushed through to the end. Then I went back to the second book thinking maybe I only found it draggy because the first one had been bumming me out, but nope. It never got better either. So this week, not one but TWO books got read that I should have just put down and walked away from. And now my brain feels so fried that I’m scared to pick anything else up.

    Is it your birthday? (The person above me is wishing you a happy birthday.) If so, happy birthday! Hope you find a fun way to celebrate and get many many books! Here’s to 29! You’ll rock it!

  10. Prior to blogging (and even into my first few years) I had the mentality that I needed to finish books, regardless of my feelings on them. This led to a LOT of wasted time with books I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I began to notice that when I was forcing myself to read a book I wasn’t into, it definitely affected my mood.

    These days I’m MUCH better at walking away. I know some people have a 50-page rule or even a 100-page rule and while I don’t have a set number of pages I read, if something isn’t working out in the first few chapters, I’m okay with cutting my loses and moving on. There are so many other books out there and only so many hours in the day – you already spent an hour on a crappy book, do you really want to waste another four finishing it?

    As far as the money factor goes, used bookstores and libraries are perfect for this. Those are my guinea pigs when it comes to trying out new authors/books. If I wind up liking it, awesome! If not, no harm done and I don’t have to feel guilty for spending $25 on something I’m never going to revisit.

  11. It use to be really difficult for me , but then one day i came across this quote about life is too short to finish bad books. I agree. If i am not into then I’m just not. Ill put it down, away or something. Life is just tooo short!!

  12. Most of the time I’m pretty selective about the books I read, especially if I buy them, so I thankfully don’t have this dilemma very often. When I do, it’s a really tough decision, because I like to finish what I start and/or I’ll feel guilty. If it’s a book I agreed to reading for an author or publisher I feel extra guilty (that only happened once and I did have to put it down – I just couldn’t being myself to keep going). It can go either way for me, it just depends on the book, my curiosity level, and my perseverance level at that moment.

  13. OMG I can SO relate to all of these. I think starting next year I am going to start DNFing some books.

  14. Agh!!! The biggest dilemma ever as a reader. Lately I find myself drifting away from a book more so than saying it’s quitting time. If I’m reading 2-3 books at a time there’s probably one that can’t keep up so I put it aside. But then like you said… was it not a good time? was it the book? is it me… do I have a short attention span? I had to create an “On Hold” shelf for these books since I’m also not ready to “let it go” and mark them as DNFs.

  15. I’m terrible at putting books down for pretty much all of the reasons you mentioned BUT I’m okay with this because I’m USUALLY a relatively good judge of what I think I’ll like. But when I’m feeling not-so-flaily about a book (SO SAD!), I usually don’t feel like I’m laying it down forever if I actually stop reading it – I almost always come back to it eventually. Most often it’s a case of the wrong time for that particular book. It makes me wide-eyed when I see people spend so much money on books and then DNF them so easily! My budget doesn’t allow for that, which is why I GUESS I’ve become pretty seasoned at judging what I think I’ll like before I buy OR just using the library (I have NO RESERVATIONS about having the library buy a book that I’m not sure about – I do it ALL THE TIME).

    We have almost the same thoughts on this one, Jamie! xo

  16. Every single one of these is so me! The money one especially. As soon as I started reading the list, I was thinking about that same thing. I’m terrible at putting down books that I bought because I just hate the idea of having wasted my money. I do it with books I got as gifts even more because I don’t want to have wasted someone else’s money. It feel terrible about that. It’s so rare for me to put down a book because one of these things will just make me keep going. I always kind of feel like I’ve failed or something when I put down a book even though I know I shouldn’t. Being an English major has probably made it worse because I’ve become used to pushing through books I don’t like because they’re assigned and I have to. It’s something I should probably work on.

  17. This is absolutely me! I seriously struggle to put down a book I picked up. I have also had history tell me that it will get better. I went through a string of books that I forced myself to finish because I realized I had about ten books I had started and then stopped for some reason. A few of them ended up being favorites but a few also ended up being total stinkers!

    I think my policy on DNFs is to give it a few days. I put it down, pick something else up, just have a quick break. If after a few days I want to read it again then I do. If it feels like a chore then I won’t finish it. Reading should be fun! Sometimes I’ll even try and if I pick it back up and absence hasn’t made the heart grow fonder then I will in fact let it go.

    But it’s still hard. I DNf’d a review book recently and I still feel bad about not finishing it. Even after really not liking it and seeing mixed reviews from other people I still feel like a failure. But I tell myself it’s not fair to the book. I’m only going to end up saying bad things if I force myself to finish it and then I’ll hold a grudge. Poor book doesn’t deserve that!

  18. About three years ago, I developed the attitude that life is just too short for a bad book. If I don’t like something by 1/3 of the way through, I won’t keep reading it- and I refuse to feel guilty. When reading becomes a chore, life is over– okay not really but it may as well be. How did this happen? I was reading Wicked. Everyone was raving about it, and I didn’t like it. I wondered if I was stupid, if it was going over my head… but then I decided it wasn’t my fault if I didn’t like something. It just was. I stopped halfway through and gave it to my husband, who is a voracious reader (more so than anyone I’ve ever met except his mother). He finished it. When I asked him his how it was, he said “meh”. I tortured myself with a book I thought I should like, and all he said was meh. Never again.

  19. Yes to all of these. I HATE DNFing a book. It has to cross a line or make me reread a page because I am so bored and cannot focus on the words before I can put it down and not feel bad about it.

  20. And I’ll add: “I Want the Bragging Rights, God Damn it!” (pretty much the only reason I kept-on-keeping-on with Ulysses)

  21. YES to all – except maybe about the money thing because I do a lot of library and review books. I hate not knowing what is going to happen and not finishing what I started and I said I would read this so I have too. That’s a serious run on sentence because that’s usually how it’s screaming through my brain!

  22. 1, 2, and 8 are especially true for me. Number 1, really, is kind of painful. Because if you stop you’ll NEVER KNOW if the book got awesome later. Still, I’ve gotten better about letting go of a book that I’m not loving, because when it comes down to it, life is too short to read ALL the books so you have to pick and choose and I don’t want to waste my reading time on something that’s not doing it for me.

  23. I’m actually in an awful reading/blogging slump right now, partially because I have refused to put down my past few review books. None of them have been bad, but I wasn’t in the mood for them. Hopefully this next one will be a quick read, because I’m pretty behind right now.

  24. I’m not so great at setting down books, but lately I’ve been pretty hard to please, and uber grumpy on top of that, so I kind of feel a bit like the Reign of Terror, but for books. One tiny little misstep, and I’m ready to toss it off a cliff. Although I did get a bit better – there was one book I was reading, but not really into, so I set it down and I intend to get back to it when I’m more in the mood for that type of book. But getting to that place was really hard! I especially struggle with the “but what if it gets better?” hope. Although more times than not I’ve ended up hating it even at 70% and then I’m stuck finishing it anyway!

  25. I just nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award! http://www.thebookishowl.net/?p=5180 🙂

  26. I always think. How do I mark this book if I don’t finish it. So I have to finish plus I just feel like I should finish what I start

  27. I basically agree with all of these things – but also I believe that it takes a lot of discipline to see a bad book through. In the long run, it’s beneficial to finish a book you didn’t like.
    But I’m more likely to call it quits on books I’ve borrowed from the library just because sometimes it can be a hassle to renew them, or I can always borrow them again later when I have more time.

  28. I totally am struggling through a couple books in this manner right now. It’s even worse when they are part of a series that I liked from the beginning. I always feel obligated to finish it out. Eventually if I really don’t like it I get distracted by a stack of new books and it slips into the never finished pile.

  29. Thinking it could get better, and not wanting to lose the time I’ve already invested into the story get me every time.

  30. #6 is the biggest problem for me. If I bought a book I really don’t want to not finish it. That’s why I try to only buy books I really want to read. At least there’s used bookstores to sell books to!

  31. I struggle with putting books down too! I think I’ve maybe only DNF two in the past two years I’ve been blogging. TWO. You hit everything perfectly on the head with this post. I’m the type of person who is stubborn and since I’ve spent so much time reading this anyway, I might as well finish it. I also am the optimist and hope that it’ll get better. Books can improve! Beginnings can be shaky! Unfortunately, like you, most times they don’t get better. *le sigh*

  32. This is me. THIS IS ALLLLLL ME. Except maybe the finishing what I start… I don’t generally feel guilty leaving things unfinished ost of the time. Other than that, I have a hard time putting books down for your same reasons.

  33. Wow, I do every single one of these XD

  34. I totally get all of these. But, I’ve also gotten to the point that life is too short to read books I don’t like or have to force myself to finish. I set it aside and move on. Deciding it was ok to do that was very liberating!

  35. Ha- I love this post! I’m with you on almost all of these things. I rarely DNF a book and I think it’s mostly because I like to check things off the list! But, I’ve now realized that failing to DNF is a huge time suck and is preventing me from reading so many amazing books! DNFing more books is one of my 2015 goals!

  36. Definitely the money thing AND the fact that I’ve invested so much time … those are great reasons as to why I can never put down a book! I’m getting better at it, though, especially since I don’t have a TON of time to read these days … I have to read what’s good now! Or at least something that keeps my interest.

  37. I wrote a whole post once explaining why, this year, I’ve learned how to DNF. It was after I had read a book that really wasn’t worth the struggle or time; something about the extreme of that unsatisfied, nagging feeling when it ended really pushed me over the edge. I’m not too ruthless, as I’ll often give a book 50-100 pages to see if I want to continue reading it! It is hard, but it’s totally worth it because you almost always end up reading a book you love instead. (PS – I need to know all the time too! Which is why… I pretty much usually just skip to the end if I don’t want to finish something.)

  38. I really hate putting a book down. I have so few. I nearly almost push myself through it or at least return to it. One of those is Jellicoe Road — my BFF has been telling me to read it and it’s just so sloooow but I’m going to try again. Sometimes I have to be in a new mood.

  39. Great question! Right now, I am plodding through a slow book that I am invested in because I think the writer is good, I’ve read her before and I want to know where the characters go.
    Sometimes, if a book is just moving too slow or I hate the writing midway, I’ll speed read through it, just so I can finish.
    But I haven’t done that in a while.

  40. I have no problem stop reading a book if it’s no longer a good read. I figure life is too short to read bad books.

  41. All of this literally just described me! I hardly ever put down books because I want to give them a chance to get better and I want to find out what happens. It’s even worse with series, I’ll read all the books even if I don’t like them just so I can find out how it ends!

Trackbacks

  1. […] The Perpetual Page-Turner lists 8 Reasons she struggles to put down a book. […]

  2. […] Jamie lists eight reasons she struggles to put down a book. […]

  3. […] Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner talks about why she hates to DNF in 8 Reasons I Struggle to Put Down a Book […]

  4. […] “8 Reasons I Struggle to Put Down a Book” @ The Perpetual Page-Turner: I definitely DNF books, but I always feel a lot of guilt about it, and I even wrote about it once, so I definitely related to all the struggles Jamie goes through with the same problem. […]