Thursday, October 25, 2007

Booking Through Thursday: Read With Abandon

Today’s suggestion is from Cereal Box Reader

I would enjoy reading a meme about people’s abandoned books. The books that you start but don’t finish say as much about you as the ones you actually read, sometimes because of the books themselves or because of the circumstances that prevent you from finishing. So . . . what books have you abandoned and why?

It is not often I abandon a book. More often than not, if I do, it is with the intention of one day going back to read that book. The books I do abandon with no intention of picking up again are few and far between. In order for a book to be banished from my ever-to-be-read pile, the book likely failed to interest me. I only ever give up on a book when I do not care about the characters or what happens next. I will not even bother to read the end because, frankly, I don't care. These are usually books that I find utterly boring for whatever reason. The writing, the story, the subject matter, or the characters . . . In these instances, I am unable to connect with the story or the characters, and I make the decision not to force the issue.

Sometimes I will start a book that I find boring after awhile, but I know I might like it at a different moment in my life--those are the books that go back on my shelf for a possible reading later. With so many books in my TBR collection, however, I have not had much of a chance to return to those unread books.

I have read books that get off to a slow start or may have boring patches that I do continue reading, and in these cases it's simply because I do care about a character and what might happen next. And for the record, let me clarify that slow and boring do not mean the same thing to me. Boring is something I am uninterested in. Slow just means that it is taking me a little longer to move forward in a book, through the text, than I might prefer. Being slow works well for some books and is a necessary effect. Some of my favorite books were books that required me to slow down, savor and read more carefully. Other books are meant to be inhaled and gulped down quickly.

I have no qualms about giving up on a book if it isn't capturing my attention the way I expect it to. However, I do not so easily give up on a book just because it may not get off to the best start. There have been too many instances where I end up being glad I took a chance and kept reading and hardly any when I have wished I had not wasted my time.


  1. Well said, Wendy! I agree that timing does play a part in my reading too. Most of the times I don't go back to reading the book again if I find it boring or uninteresting in the first place because there are too many books in my TBR pile. Nowadays I tend to be more choosy so that I won't waste my time reading something which I don't enjoy, especially when my reading time is so limited, hehe.

  2. Rebecca is very boring initially but it is a very good read. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand has a somewhat boring start but I loved reading it. I still read it.

    I do agree, a book might have a slow start but might have great potential if one plods through.

  3. Great points. Sometimes I find I'm just not in the mood for a certain book but end up loving it another time.

  4. I'm with you. I rarely ever completely give up on a book. I'll set one aside and pick it back up later but rarely completely abandon one.


  5. Well my big abandoned book is Ulysees and I'm certainly intending to try again... You're definitely right - boring and slow are not the same

  6. I've forced myself to keep reading a book a couple of times before even though I really didn't want to but here recently I give a book a couple of chances and if I'm just not into it I'll put it down. There are too many books in my TBR pile for me to have to suffer through a book!

  7. Melody - Thank you! Sometimes it is hard to return to books I mean to pick up again. I admit I've struggled through some that I liked on some level but wasn't thrilled on another. I tend to enjoy most of what I read overall though. I'm not quite a critical as some. :-)

    Gautami - Yes, that's exactly it!

    BookGal - Thank you. I find that too. Mood and mindset do play a part in our perceptions of what we are reading at any given time.

    CJ - There are some books I can tell I will never pick up again, but others I can tell might interest me under different circumstances. I hate to deny a book its day of reading just because my mood wasn't right.

    Crafty Green Poet - I haven't read Ulysses, but I imagine it is one worth reading all the way through eventually.

    Ladytink - I did that with a couple of books I read for review. I decided then that it wasn't worth it. I read and write reviews for the fun of it and forcing myself to read books I cannot get into is not how I want to spend my spare time.

  8. Sometimes I find I tend to give books too much time and then I go through stages where if I don't like the book I have a "Life's too short" attitude and move on.

  9. Do you ever find it depends on where or when you are in life? I got into "The Golden Bowl" at one point and just devoured it. I'm a big re-reader, but I've never been able to get back into it, have abandoned it several times.

    I don't know if I was younger or smarter or had more powers of concentration then. Of if it was because I was in a bad romance and the book is, essentially, about a bad relationship. But in general sometimes I find that yesterday's loves are today's abandoned reads - and vice versa, too.

  10. Teach - I run into that sometimes too. Just like my cleaning out the closet moments. Sometimes I'm in the mood to throw everything out and other times, I can't part with anything no matter how unlikely I will be to use it again.

    Clea - Yes, I have found that too. Sometimes a book will speak to me when I first read it, but then later in life, it doesn't quite have the same impact. Or vice versa. I think where we are in life plays a part in that. Our reading tastes go in phases just as life does.

  11. I echo your thoughts, Wendy. For example, the way I read LOTR and some light-weight novels are definitely different. With LOTR, I really took my time to study it and savor the details...

  12. Anna Karenina is my abandoned book. I just couldn't stay with it.
    I nearly abandoned Kate Elliott's The Gathering Storm but, finally, after 12 months I finished it. It was a struggle! Crown of Stars is proving likewise but I'm determined to finish it. I doubt I'll ever pick up another of her books once I'm done with this series.

  13. Alice - Some books are definitely worth savoring. :-)

    Julie - Sometimes you just have to give up. There are so many other books to get to, right?


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