Reading Problems: Learning to Give Up

Sometimes, when looking at the “New Books” section of the library, I get a little depressed. Not because everything is so terrible — quite the opposite. There are so many new books coming out, all the time, that I want to read. What gets me down is the realization I get, that, with a backlog list a hundred miles long, I will never be able to read everything I want.

With so many things I want to read, and a list that grows faster than I can burn through books, there’s something I’ve had to come to terms with. Giving up. Sometimes you start a book, you think you’re going to like it, but then, halfway through, or partway, or after the first paragraph, you realize, this thing is not for you. I feel weird, leaving things unfinished, so usually, unless I really hate the book, or I’m only a page or so in, I’ll slog through to the end, so say I completed the journey. But how much reading time does that take away from books that I could really love, or books that I’ve been meaning to read for years? What’s the point in spending all that time — and it is so much time — reading a book if you don’t love every moment of it, if in the end you regret your choice?

So I’m learning to give up on books. I might hate them, or I might just be unimpressed, if I’m not excited to drop on the couch and crack that spine, I don’t see why I should waste another moment.

 Obvious exceptions: Books I’m reviewing, books I need to discuss with friends/coworkers, I’m stuck on a plane and I only brought one book somehow.

What do you do if you don’t like a book (you’re not required to read)? Do you soldier on? Or toss it aside? Do you have any exceptions?

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