“Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it.” – William Faulkner

I cannot think of a time that I have ever not finished a book which I have started, always pushing through to the end…until recently that is. My first read for 2017 made me seriously think about the reasons behind finishing a book which provides no enjoyment at all. As I painfully pushed through to the last page, feeling an actual physical sense of relief once the last page was read, I questioned my sanity. This author is one of my favourites and I have read many of his books but this particular one? It was torture to read.

Many of the authors we look up to emphasise the importance of reading as part of our growth as writers. Raised by a family of book lovers my love of reading is natural, possibly even genetic. Even if I did not have a passion for writing I would remain a bibliophile. In my younger years I stuck to favourite authors and genres but as the years have passed and I have matured I like to try out different genres and authors, especially books which are recommended by fellow bookworms.

This weekend I picked a book from my tbr pile, got comfortable and started reading. By the end of the first chapter I was irritated and shaking my head. I looked at the pile of books on the counter with longing, wishing I had chosen something else. I put the book down, staring at it, questioning myself as to why I feel like I have to finish it. So I closed it. Put it to the bottom of the tbr pile and chose something else. No regrets.

My inner writer contemplated what it was about the book that I did not enjoy. The characters? The storyline? The actual style and quality of the writing? I am very open minded as everyone enjoys different things. If we were all the same the world would be a very boring place. Even if we stick to our favourite genres and authors there is still the possibility of disappointment, and possibly worse, we could miss out on something different and amazing. So a question – As a writer do you mainly read the same genre as you write or are you open in your choices?

The book lover’s dilemma… have you ever stuck with a book that wasn’t doing it for you? Do you always finish the books you start, or are you able to just let go, shut the book and put it out of your mind? Let’s confess in the comments!

“I don’t care if a reader hates one of my stories, just as long as he finishes the book.” – —Roald Dahl

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6 thoughts on “The book lover’s dilemma

  1. I like to read a wide variety of genres, sometimes because I like each differing genre, and sometimes because I like to have the variety. I have found some gems within genres that I originally snubbed, so I’m a supporter of reading outside your comfort zone. That being said, I still sometimes struggle to finish a book if it’s completely off the charts from what I prefer. And, as someone said above, there have only been one or two that have been so truly disturbing that I had to put it down, maybe for good…(lookin’ at you, Naked Lunch). However, I think another part of my personal reader’s dilemma is that I’m constantly telling myself, Just because I haven’t finished it yet doesn’t mean I won’t finish it ever. Right? So I have a tbr pile, and a tbrs (to be re-started) pile. 🙂 We’ll see if that pile ever amounts to anything!
    Thanks for the interesting topic! I especially liked this sentence: “Many of the authors we look up to emphasise the importance of reading as part of our growth as writers.” Part of the reason I feel the need to have variety is so that I’m living up to the expectations of being a writer, a fact I may or may not like.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m so glad it’s not just me 😂 Sometimes my expectation of a book is way better than it turns out to be, so I find that I can’t finish it.

    Funnily enough, I’ve grown up with YA literature – even started writing in that genre myself – but now, I have to have a little flip through the pages before I buy a YA book to make sure that I like the reading style, because lately I’ve been finding that a lot of YA books sound quite babyish to me. It kind of makes sense – I think as you get older you grow away from genres like you do toys or music or films. That’s a definite distinction I’ve noticed with my reading preferences recently. I think as we mature, we start to crave literature that we can relate to more, so now I’m moving more from fantasy/adventure/supernatural literature to romance and drama and just real life stuff. It’s really interesting when you start thinking about it all.

    Thanks for starting the conversation!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, thank you for the message. Always good to know that someone is on the same wave length.
      This past week I had to put another book down only partially read. A sequel to one I had just finished. Although the book was slow and not as action packed as the cover promised I enjoyed the story line and then continued on the the sequel to see how the story ends… Unfortunately on top of being a very slow read, the author repeated a lot of the first books details in the sequel. It was torture…
      I think sometimes we as “mature adults” enjoy the YA fiction so much because it is so far from real life. An escape from reality. I do often find myself wondering how it is that these books are classified for readers between 11 and 17 – lol!
      I try and read a few “adult” novels inbetween with a love for crime thrillers but sometimes that is too much reality 😉
      I spent my teenage years binge reading romance and now as an adult feel that they contain more fantasy than the stories of magic and dragons.
      I love that we, as people, go those different phases in life. How boring it would be if we only ever liked the same things and never grew or changed as individuals.
      Thanks again.

      Liked by 1 person

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