Permission granted – you don’t have to finish reading a book. Perhaps you’re gasping with horror right now – surely if you start reading a book, you need to finish reading it. Why?
Do you have an obligation to the author? Will the author know you started their book but didn’t enjoy it enough to finish it? Will your grade three teacher scold you? Will the librarians know when you return the book? Does it mean you can’t start reading another book until you’ve finished it?
The answer to all these questions is no! There is the slight caveat that if you know the author, perhaps you might want to finish reading their book!
I used to finish any book I began, ploughing through shaky character motivation, boring descriptions, meandering plots, too many long-winded sentences.
But there are too many wonderful books out there to spend time on one that’s not to your taste. For every book I read, there’s a thousand other books I’m not reading.
I always give a book a fair go – I’ll read a few chapters before deciding that it’s not for me. But just because a book isn’t for me doesn’t mean that it’s not a good book or it’s not a wonderful book for someone else. Some of the best bookclub discussions I’ve had involve half the women championing the book and the other half wanting to throw it across the room!
I have an unfinished book sitting on my window seat, ready to return to the library. I read the first four chapters and skimmed through the rest of the book. It was a non-fiction book, and I thought it would be useful background information for the book I’m writing. It gave me a little bit of insight but I didn’t think it would offer me much more, and I have a pile of non-fiction books on the same topic, waiting to be read. So I’ll return it, unfinished.
Let me know your thoughts on this controversial subject!