2016 Library Challenge: A Book You Never Finished

unfinished book

Are you someone who always finishes a book when you start it? Or are you prone to stopping midway through and never finishing?

Depending on which category of reader you fall into, you may or may not have a hard time finding a book to meet this requirement.

Personally, I often will finish a book once I start it, even if I don’t like it. I will persevere through the end, hoping that my opinion will improve as I get closer to the end. (That almost never happens, but I can’t bring myself to stop.) But I’ve had other people tell me they have a general rule of thumb they use if they’re not enjoying a book–like waiting for the first 100 pages and then making a decision. But I can’t do that because my curiosity usually overrules my good sense and then I read so far in that I feel like I might as well just go ahead and read to the end.

I do have less of a masochist streak about it than my brother, though, who once he starts a series then feels compelled to finish it, even if he hates everything about it. My rule for a series is I’ll try to finish the first book but if it didn’t hook me I don’t feel like investing any more time in the subsequent ones.

I’m actually more likely to acquire a book and then just never get around to reading it in the first place, rather than stopping partway through, which is problematic in its own right but is also an entirely different conversation altogether.

Which type of reader are you? What are some books you haven’t finished? Tell us all about it in the comments!

Author: berryvillelibrary

"Our library, our future"

6 thoughts on “2016 Library Challenge: A Book You Never Finished”

  1. I used to be compulsive about reading until the end, but I now give myself permission to stop. I’m not exactly sure when the change came about, but I think it happened because of all the books I had to preview for my classes. At some point it became very liberating to trust my instincts and say, “I’ve read enough. This won’t meet the goals I have in mind. I can move on to another possibility.” I have to admit, though, once I allowed myself to stop reading books that didn’t fit my objectives, the ability to let go became easier. I now set aside books I pick up for pleasure too. A sad confession for an English teacher, but there it is. I rarely throw books away, though. I know timing and life experiences impact our responses, so I usually shelve the books for a later encounter.


    1. Thanks for commenting, Leslie! 🙂

      Yes, I agree that it is liberating to acknowledge it’s okay to move on. I still am working on that in regard to finishing, but I have gotten better about applying that to things I’m not interested in. Used to, I would think I was incredibly defective for not liking books everyone else was raving about. Now I am much more willing to shrug it off as being a matter of individual taste and move on to other things.

      I also agree about timing. I’ve noticed every single time I read Catcher in the Rye, my amount of sympathy for Holden Caulfield is an exact correlation of my mood. If I’m feeling grouchy, I am more inclined to agree with him.


  2. I feel compelled to finish a book recommended by a friend. But in these situations, I’m not simply reading for my own interests; I’m reading for the discussion that will follow, and it’s the discussion that’s important, right?


    1. Yes, that’s very true!

      Have you read anything good lately? I recently read and enjoyed Louise Erdrich’s new book. I’ve followed her stuff since reading “The Red Convertible” in your class. 🙂

      Otherwise, I’ve been reading a lot of historical fiction.


      1. I have not read any recent fiction by Louise Erdrich. I liked Love Medicine, though. Recent books: 1) The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker. Some people on Amazon said it was too long, but I listened to it while I was exercising, so I wasn’t in any hurry to finish it. It’s a fun blending of folklore in turn-of-the-century New York. 2) I would enjoy discussing Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates with some folks. 3) Right now I’m listening to Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman. As with most collections, some are more interesting than others, but I love Gaiman’s imagination and diversity. When I’m not reading, I’m watching Korean drama on DramaFever. 🙂


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