Tuesday, March 1, 2011

To Finish or Not To Finish?

I used to hate reading books in grade school. Of course there were a few books I really connected with and loved such as The Giver, To Kill A Mockingbird, Othello (Yes...I have a place in my heart for Shakespeare…is that odd being an anti-reader?). But for the most part I couldn’t get myself into books during my grade school years. I think it was the whole thing about having to read certain books as opposed to being able to choose what I read.

Nowadays I find that I enjoy sitting down with a good book. I have a good amount of TV shows that I watch so my reading time is often limited to when I’m waiting somewhere or sitting on the metro. Although I do read before bed from time to time. While I don’t read as fast as my friend Shirin, I do get through some books. I really enjoyed my last big read, Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol. I love Dan Brown’s writing style in that he writes short chapters that really keep you on your toes and end with a cliffhanger. The Lost Symbol was especially fun to read because the setting was Washington, DC and the characters were running around a lot of familiar territory…including my commute to work!

I moved on from The Lost Symbol to a book I’ve wanted to read for a long long time: Wicked.

I have always wanted to see the musical, but knowing that there are a LOT more details in the novel, really wanted to read the book. I bought a copy and was really excited to dig in…but it wasn’t at all what I was expecting. Right from the start, there was a lot of vulgarity. Now honestly…it wasn’t to the point of ridiculousness…and not more than I could handle…but it just really surprised me. On top of that the language was really complicated…due in large part to the fact that the setting is a made up world with made up creatures, lands, items, and magic. While the language and crudeness were things I didn’t expect, I figured I’d probably get used to it and kept reading.

After about 100 pages, I wasn’t used to it. Opening the book started to feel more and more like those high school reading assignments. But I really had wanted to read this book…so I kept reading…

I’m now 200 pages in…and not only do I rarely pick up the book…but constantly think about other books I really want to read like Water for Elephants and how I feel like I will never get to it before the movie comes out. Or I find myself looking around the bookstore and seeing tons of other books I think sound really interesting. And then I’m sad that I’m in the middle of a different book that am not at all enjoying.

Tonight I found this book at Costco and it just sounded SOOOOO interesting to me for obvious reasons.

I finally gave in. I purchased it and I am literally moments away from digging in…but I can’t help but feel a little bad for giving up half way through a book I used to want to read so badly!

I know this is probably just one of my silly quirks and I should have given up on it way faster than I did. Have you ever given up on a book? Was it a book you really thought you’d love or was really looking forward to reading? How long did it take you? Did you feel the same way I did? (Got any good reading recommendations?) Let me know in the comments!


  1. Absolutely toss in the towel on that book! I *love* to read (don't watch tv) and prior to having a toddler in my life, I could do 5 or 6 books a week. Not so many now :) I used to make myself finish any book I started. I've learned that life is too short for that!

    I used to participate in an electronic mystery books mailing list. The general rule there was the 50-page rule: if you aren't into it by page 50, give up. Took me a while to start doing that, but that's my current practice. I have gone back to a couple of books just to see if I found them better at a different point in my life, and for a couple of books that was true.

    So - toss it aside and go to another. Try again later. BTW, I loved Water for Elephants.

  2. I've given up on books before (not Wicked, but I can see why you would...). Really, if you're dreading picking it up, it's not worth reading anymore. Typically, I'll end up reading the spark notes or googling the ending just to see if I really should push through. Generally I don't end up pushing through.

    I also agree with Jacki...Water for Elephants is a must read.

  3. I feel the same way you do! I can't think of a time I've stopped a book, with no intention of ever going back. I read about 1/2 of the Facebook book last year, but for some reason needed to stop. I intend to finish it this summer though!

    I felt exactly as you did with Wicked - I did not like it but hung in there to finish it. But I would not recommend it (I don't even remember anything about it, just that I struggled to finish it!).