Stop reading if you’re miserable.
I’m in this massive reading group on Facebook and a question I always see being asked is, “when do you stop reading if you aren’t liking the book?”
Once upon a time I was a finish-no-matter-what kinda girl. I struggled through books I’d have rather thrown in a fire because I didn’t want to feel like I’d completely wasted my money.
Then one day I was about halfway through a book when I suddenly thought to myself, I’m so miserable, why am I still reading this?
Reading isn’t supposed to make you hate reading, and if it is put that book down and forget it exists.
So, when this question pops up and I see the answers vary from, “25%,” “50%,” to “I just finish it,” I wonder why it’s so important. Maybe it has to do with the fear of missing out – like if everyone loved a certain book and you’re just not enjoying it, if you push yourself to finish it then you’ll see what they loved about it.
And that’s just wrong. I’ve never read a book where the first half is like running in waist deep water and the second half is so good that it redeems the first half. Sure, books that have better beginnings or better endings can make the not so enjoyable parts easy to overlook, but not if you’re miserable through the bad parts.
A book with a slow beginning can be hard to get into, but if the writing is still solid it’s not an entirely miserable experience.
But if you’re not liking a book because of the wiring style, plot, depth-less characters – get out now.
Like, right now.
Here’s an example: my friend’s favorite book is The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. We made a deal where I would read this book and she’d read something by Jane Austen. Well, It’s been months and I’m still only in the first few chapters of her book. I’m not use to the writing style and in general it’s not in my top favorite genres, but I’m not miserable reading it. I know that giving it more time I’d read it a lot faster, but I haven’t actually gotten into it yet, so I don’t mind the slow pace.
But when a book makes no sense, every conflict is resolved with a flick of a wrist, and I want to bang my head into a wall I know it’s not me, it’s the book.
My answer to this question of when to stop reading is – if you have to even ask, then you better stop now. Stop when you are miserable. Stop because you’re just wasting time, and most people don’t have a lot of free time to read anway.