At what point do you give up on a book?
I struggle with this. The English teacher in me does not want to give up on a book – EVER. I want to finish it and be able to find something of value. The competitive, neurotic list-maker in me doesn’t want to give up because I don’t want to be able to say it beat me and I want to add it to my list of books I’ve read. And the lit lover in me doesn’t want to give up because, hey, it’s a book and surely every book has something in it to make it worthwhile. I have this mental picture of the Island of Misfit Toys in my head when I think of the books that I can’t love, and I’m sad that I can’t find it inside of me to appreciate a book on some level.
But that’s ridiculous, right? I’m not going to love every book I ever attempt. My TBR pile is raging out of control. In fact, it’s less like a pile and more like several stacks that are slowly but surely taking over my living room. I have so many new releases this year that I’m excited about, and I work in walking distance from an eight story library. Eight. Story. I will never live long enough to read all the books I want to read, and I want to be sure I have time to reread my favorites periodically too. So why waste time slogging through something that I’m not enjoying just so that I can say I finished?
I ask because I started a book in January and I can’t seem to motivate myself to carry on with it. It’s The Wild Girl by Kate Forsyth. I specifically asked my friend to buy it for me for Christmas (if you’re reading this, Alana, I’m sorry! I will pick better this year). I should be loving this book. It’s about fairy tales. It’s got a beautiful cover. It’s historical fiction and romance. It’s by an author that I’ve read and liked in the past (although, in fairness, it took me quite a while to really get into Bitter Greens too). And yet…
I have completely stalled on reading this. I hit a point in the book where I can tell something is about to happen, and I am really, REALLY not happy about it. Part of me says, “Power through it, finish the stupid thing, and move on.” Another part of me says, “Just let it go already.” Which voice to listen to?
At the moment, I’ve given up on it because I have Orchid Affair, My Dear Bessie (which I am LOVING – more on that at a later date), and 2 ARCs that I am really pumped about. So I have moved on for the time being, but I’m arguing with myself about whether or not I will eventually go back to The Wild Girl and finish it up.
So here’s what I’m wondering – what would you do? Are you the type of person who opens a book, reads a chapter, and has no trouble saying, “Not my thing – moving on.” Are you the type that feels like, in order to have given this book a fighting chance, you read 150 pages or so and then think, “Well, I made it this far. Might as well finish.” Or are you somewhere in the middle?