My Thoughts is a discussion feature I like to include sporadically on my blog and each one goes towards my goals in the Discussion Challenge hosted by Nicole and Shannon. I try and reason out things and talk about things which have been on my mind.
Let me tell you a story about a book I read very recently. I’d borrowed a book from the library as it had been on my TBR for a while. It was different to my usual reading but I had been interested in reading it for a while. Another blogger asked if I wanted to do a read along to help motivate us to get through it. We were expecting an interesting book that was different to the usual forays into this genre. We ended up struggling through for many long days to get the end. It was interesting the direction the plot went in, but the book was overloaded with too much science and so many unlikeable characters and it simply wasn’t worth the time I spent on it. Add into the fact it caused me to have a reading slump over Christmas and you can tell I wasn’t best impressed.
In case you’re wondering the book was The Three-Body Problem. If you’re into sci-fi you may like it but I was completely overwhelmed by science and can’t recommend it even slightly.
Now, you may be wondering why this story is relevant (or not, considering you’ve probably read the post title) but I’ve never been great at abandoning a book and not later trying to read it again. I want to stop that. In fact, I want to remind myself, and you lot, that it is okay to say you don’t like a book. You don’t have to like every book and it’s okay to stop reading and prioritise other books on your TBR pile. It may be the only way to conquer it.
Anyway, after finishing The Three Body Problem I realised I would have quit that book far sooner if I had been reading alone and it also made me realise that struggling through a book you’re not enjoying isn’t fair to yourself and it’s not fair to the books you have unread.
I employed this same logic when reading The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer. I was intrigued in the first 100 pages, although the pacing was slow, but there was really only one character at that point. But then the romantic interest got introduced and everything went downhill from there. After 250 pages (and I should really have stopped sooner than that) I decided enough was enough and abandoned it. Do I feel a bit bad I didn’t continue? Maybe, but I more felt an overwhelming sense of relief to be done with it. I wasn’t enjoying it. I was questioning the logic and beginning to hate the characters I hadn’t had strong feelings about before as they were acting so illogically and out of character with how they had been originally described. In the end, I was happy to stop and move on to other books I was reading as I had plenty to get on with.
In the end, DNF-ing a book is a way to set yourself free from it. Sure, sometimes you won’t be in the mood to read something and will put it down after a couple of chapters, but if you can make it to near the halfway point and you’re still not enjoying then it’s time to let it go.
I can’t tell you how to determine if you’re enjoying a book. Sometimes you can be frustrated by characters but still like the story and it makes it worth going until the end, or the characters, especially secondary ones, redeem the fact the main character are annoying. It’s all personal opinion but remember next time you feel like complaining how bad a book is, you can just stop. That’s what I will be doing more of.
Have you gotten to the point where you’re done with bad books? Do you like to DNF or do you force to get to the end to see what happens?