When do You Stop Reading a Book?

When do you stop reading a book? As soon as it becomes too boring, when the pace starts to slow, at the first page when you don’t like the opening line or do you dig a little deeper, trying desperately to hold on and finish what you started?

I’ll admit, I’m definitely the latter type. I will try to finish every book I start until that little voice in my head that tells me I’m wasting time on a bad or boring-to-me book when I could be reading something I really love, or at the very least like. I know it’s illogical.

  • When I don’t like a television show that’s on, I’ll immediately change the channel
  • When I don’t like the song that’s playing, I’ll immediately skip it

But when I’m reading a book, I’ll try to stick it out. I think that says less about how much of a quitter I am and more about my investment in books. Not just financially, I’m talking figuratively here. Sometimes books deserve a second chance and sometimes they don’t. But at what point do you decide to call it quits?



When do you stop reading a book?

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

This is my latest struggle. The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton.

I so wanted to love this book. Mostly because I thought I was going to. When it came out I saw it on the news, it had just won the Man Booker Prize and I’ve adored other Man Booker Prize winners. But this went on and on and on. It was cleverly written sure but the mystery wasn’t quite intriguing enough to keep me around after the countless seemingly inconsequential findings.

I was almost half way in before I decided it was time to give up. It’s still sitting on my shelf and it still makes me sad when I see it. It’s taunting me, laughing at me because I couldn’t bring myself to stick with it.

Part of me would like to finish it one day. It’s something I started that I didn’t see through ’till the end. I’m the kind of person that is bothered by that.

Another part of me, the stronger part of me, says who cares!? You wasted enough time on something you didn’t enjoy, why would you try again? Life is short. There’s not anywhere near enough time to read all the books that you’d love let alone enough time for the books you don’t.

There’s not much that scares me more than knowing there’s a billion books out there that I would love that I will never read or discover.

Right now, I’ve decided to not bother with books I don’t enjoy. Once I get bored, once I stop reading for a week because my current read isn’t engaging enough, it’s time to stop.

I used to see books through to the end, books I did not like. Never again, unless they happen to be really, really short and I finish them without even realising I’m near the end – yes that can happen, but mostly only with ebooks.



What kind of reader are you?

Do you try with all your might to see a book through even if you’re bored and can’t wait to start another? Or will you call it quits right away, not wanting to waste time reading something you don’t enjoy when instead you could be reading something that really excites you?

Please tell me when you decide to stop reading a book in the comments. I want to know. I will be comparing your answers and coming up with my own perfect solution for this conundrum!



2 thoughts on “When do You Stop Reading a Book?

  1. I stop reading whenever I get bored by a book or don’t like it. It varies. Some books don’t make it past the first page, others it’s a few chapters in if I feel bored and just don’t like the style. Depends on the book for me.

    1. Wow. Do you remember what books you’ve given up on on the first page? I think I’ve only done that with a couple of very poorly edited indies but if it’s trad pub then I normally stick something out that I don’t like until I’m about 1/3 of the way in before I definitely know I don’t like it.

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