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You don’t have to finish a book you don’t enjoy

You don’t have to finish a book you don’t enjoy

You don’t have to finish a book you don’t enjoy
December 03
13:00 2022

There can be pressure to finish a book, even if you don’t like it. Yet there’s nothing wrong with giving the novel a rest.

Reading is an intimately solitary activity. Unless you are popcorn reading in a group like in elementary school or engaged in a book club, you are most likely reading by yourself.

Take command of your freedom in this individual activity. If you are not enjoying the book you are reading, don’t finish it for the sake of being able to check it off. No one is holding you accountable.

Many people use the Goodreads app to track the books they read. The app helps readers remember books that seem to slip from their memory after time has passed. Books can also be added to a virtual shelf in the event you want to plan to read them in the future.

So, when you stop a book halfway through, you may become conflicted. Do you mark it as read on Goodreads? Can you go as far as to rate the book out of five stars?

There are too many books out there to get bogged down with one you’re struggling to pick up. Walking into Recycled Books on the Denton Square, it is easy to get overwhelmed with the wealth of selections. The aisles wind to little corners and secluded nooks that feel like undiscovered treasures.

Calculating the total number of books in existence is a logistical nightmare. Where do you start? Are more books being printed as you chase them around to count?

What about self-publishing, e-books and other asterisks? There are an estimated 134 million books in existence, according to the Mental Floss. The Atlantic published a similar figure in 2010, placing the tally at 129 million.

Let’s use this conservative estimate and say it takes a person about a week to read a book. Using that math, it would take about 2.4 million years to read every book. With that impossibly large library of possible paperbacks to choose from, it’s alright to let a few of them go if they’re not your thing.

If you find yourself in a stalemate with the book you’re reading, not wanting to pick it up but not wanting to move on forever, consider reading two books at the same time. As we established, there are no rules because this is your own reading arena. It could be challenging to juggle two plots at once, but if they’re different enough, you can overcome this roadblock.

Having multiple options might help you read more often and for longer. The change in plot and style can help make reading more engaging.

Reading is a tiring activity. In the world of rapid gratification and endless media possibilities, pacing through a book can feel like trying to run through water.

It is a mental challenge to push on once you’ve reached the end of a chapter. There is also the physical challenge of tiring out your eyes, moving them left to right across the page, over and over.

Do some self-searching and figure out why you’re reading. Is it for entertainment? Put down the book that is not entertaining you.

Is it to pass time? You might end up spending the evening on TikTok if the book you’re reading is not stimulating. Is it to add to your book count, for social prestige, or to read the book that everyone else says is great, but you don’t enjoy?

Tally the book on your list. If you read a decent chunk of a book you didn’t like, you’ve read the book.

In social discussions, own the fact that you didn’t like the book. Your opinion is unique and valid.

With about 4 million books being printed each year in the United States, readers are chasing an impossible task to finish them all. Finish the ones you want to. Move on if you want to.

Featured Illustration by Isabella Isquierado

About Author

Jack Moraglia

Jack Moraglia

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