My answer to my blog post’s question is, “Nope.” And I’m okay with that. 🙂
Oh, when I was younger, time wasn’t as big a deal. If I had the hours to stroll through a book I wasn’t exactly enjoying, but thought I would eventually come to enjoy it if I stuck with it, I was more likely to keep strolling on through the pages.
Besides, even though I was raised with a love for checking out library books, once I got to a certain point in my adolescence, I began to buy books too. If I’d spent my money on a book, I wanted to finish it.
However, I’ve come to feel differently about that. If you’ve spent your money but still have more time, you likely have time to make or receive more money. But once you spend your time, you can’t make or receive it back. When a year, a week, a day, an hour is gone, it’s gone.
Even more valuable than the money I spend on books is the time I spend reading them.
So, when I have no obligation to finish a book I’m not enjoying, I’m now comfortable leaving it unfinished and saving my time, whether I spent money on the book or not. For the most part, I read for pleasure, and that’s what this bibliophile wants a reading experience to be: a pleasure. I’m not looking to spend hours waiting for a novel to “get good” at some point. I’m looking for it to be good. I don’t want to push through the first third or half of a book to eventually arrive at the enjoyable phase. I want to enjoy a whole book.
Whether I’m liking or loving a book, I want to be loving or at least liking it all the way through.
Granted, that doesn’t mean a book has to hook this particular reader with the first line or page, or that one unexciting scene or two will instantly make me abandon ship. If the basis of the plot interests me and the writing style/quality is holding its own, I’ll usually give a book 50 pages or so (or about an hour of my life) to persuade me to keep reading. And sometimes, when I suspect a book isn’t working for me merely because of my mood, I’ll take a break from the book and give it another try when I’m in a different head space.
In general though, for a book to be worth my limited, valuable time, I want to enjoy the whole experience of reading it—with few, if any, lapses along the way.
Sure, there can be a certain satisfaction in pushing through a chunk of less-than-interesting pages or chapters to get to the good stuff after while. (“Whew—I made it this far. Now it’s getting interesting!”) And I figure some readers will feel dissatisfied if they don’t finish a book they’re not enjoying, since quitting in the middle wouldn’t give them the sense of completion or closure they count on.
But if you aren’t a “push on through” kind of reader, and if you happen to feel guilty about that, don’t. There are countless books out there, and not one of them is the right one for everybody. If a book isn’t hitting the spot for you, another book will. It’s okay if you’d rather use your valuable time on reading experiences you’ll fully enjoy.
So! If you’re not enjoying a book you chose for pleasure, what do you do? Set it aside, or push on through?