Sometimes we don’t want to finish a book. It’s the dirty secret bookworms believe is theirs and theirs alone. If you organised a confessional, people would come. I swear. We get into such a tizz about our DNFs. Can you imagine people behaving the same way over films or computer games?
My big secrets:
It is OK to dislike a book
It does not mean you are inferior. It does not mean the book is too literary or political or intelligent for you.
You are not a snob for disliking a writer’s prose. You are not a snob for disliking certain themes.
You might like it in the future. You might not. Remember – we bring ourselves to fiction. As we change and grow we need different things from our reading. A character who bored you to tears the first time around might be the one you relate to in ten years. They might not.
Here are reasons I might fail to finish a book. Do you relate to any of these? Let me know in the comments below.
- A newer book is on our shelves, casting its latest-purchase magic. Even worse? There is a book I do not own but somebody else does. Why is the book I have acquired most recently always the one I want to read?
- Dull prose sends me to sleep. The end.
- I bought it for the cover. The shiny, shiny cover which the publisher invested heavily in. Other than that it isn’t my thing.
- Netgalley made me click-happy and now I am cowering in the face of digital files.
- Somebody told me I would love this book. It’s a curse. Speak not the fatal words if you want your friends to enjoy the same book as you.
- It appropriates someone else’s experience. I don’t believe you must live an experience to write about it but you must research and be sensitive to the real thing.
- I’ve read a-bazillion-and-one books this month. I will never read again. I do not know what reading is.
- It’s due back at the library so my reading pace has slowed to snailish. Deadlines. Also a curse.
- Entire GCSES and A-Levels and Degree modules count on me knowing this plot. OK, not relevant right now, but if my understanding of a book is going to be graded my interest in it is nada. Expectations? Curse.
- My book group chose it. Hence I don’t join book groups. That’s deadlines and expectations and I’m-supposed-to-love-it rolled into one. Albeit with tea and biscuits on the side.