Saturday, May 21, 2011

Life's too short to read a bad book

I have a problem. If I decide to read a book and I get past the first few chapters, I'm the sort of person who has to finish it, no matter how angry it makes me, or how awful I think it is. I have this compulsive need to finish it, even if I think I already know what's going to happen.

Recently I was moaning about this to my friend Lana. The problem was even worse than usual, I was on the third book in a series. There were (I thought) five books total. Each book was just as bad as the last but they were all relatively short and I just kept telling myself, "Just read fast, you'll get to the end soon!"

What did Lana tell me? "Sari, life's too short to read bad books. Just let it go and start something you like!"

If only I'd listened to her. My compulsive book (series) finishing habit was in full force, and although the MC was driving me up the wall, the secondary characters were cliche and poorly developed and the plot was incredibly predictable, I KEPT READING! I know, there's something wrong with me.

I was halfway through book four when I read something saying there were actually six books, and another two still to be released. Oh hell no!

That was when the truth of Lana's words sunk in. I had a stack of other books I wanted to read. Why was I wasting my time reading a book that made me cringe when there are so many other brilliant books written by talented authors out there? I stopped reading at book four, halfway through the book.

My compulsiveness didn't entirely leave me. There was a love pentagon going on (yes, pentagon, just one of the many reasons the books were driving me insane - and it was YA) and I had to know if the guy I was voting for ended up with the girl. Got on Amazon and searched for some spoiler reviews. There were many many less than happy reviewers, and no my guy did not win.

The good news? I've read four books I've adored since then, with nary a love triangle to speak of. (Not that I have anything against love triangles, so long as they serve a purpose and... well that's a post for another day).

Are you like me? Do you read a book even when it's really not doing it for you? Or are you quite happy to set a story down the moment it starts irritating you, no matter how much time you've invested in it?


  1.  Oh so sorry you had to deal with this recently? I used to trudge through books, almost at all cost. The busier life gets, the less I've done that. To a fault. Like right now, I'm about 30%-50% done with 3 books. BAD BARBARA!!! I did quit one book at 4%. It was too terrible to go on!

  2.  I try really hard to finish it, otherwise I feel guilty - don't ask me why, but lately I've been putting down what I can't keep reading, and moving on... best thing ever!

  3. No, not bad Barbara! That's good. Make time for the good books. Ditch the bad. ;) 

  4. I used to be really bad about that. My wife told me, basically, what your friend said to you. But not as nicely. She also said if I was going to keep reading things I didn't like, I wasn't allowed to complain about it anymore. Being able to complain about how bad it was may have been the only thing that enabled me to go through bad books. I'm much more capable, now, at putting bad books to rest. 

  5. Sounds like we're going through the same process, Tania. It's quite liberating to tell myself it's ok to stop reading a book halfway thorugh if I'm really not enjoying it.

  6. I am the same, i have to finish the book. The only one i think i have failed to finish was Animal Farm.

    I got the point, i understood the humor and the parody. I understood the political statements. I just didn't like the stupid talking animals. Leave it to Disney i say!

    Other than that i have to finish. Might i be permitted to ask WHICH books you were reading? you can email me personally if you don't want to blab about poor books on here.

    then i might be able to avoid them.


  7. Lol. I haven't read Animal Farm yet. I do have it sitting on the bookshelf though.

    Emailed you the books! One of the many vampire series out there. I think I should have stopped at the Vampire Academy series (which I LOVED) because the other series I've read have gone downhill since then.

  8. I really don’t have that problem, if I don’t like a book I
    will not finish it. I really have no patience for things that do not interest
    me. Hell, if I am liking a book and in the middle of it and I somehow get
    sidetracked into reading another book (new re-leases and such) I put the book I
    am in the middle of down and move on to the next… I have about 5 books right
    now that I need to finish … if only my favorite authors would stop releasing
    new stuff! lol

  9. I'm pretty sure I know which book series it is. And if it's the one I think it is, I managed to quit at a pretty good place.

  10. I'm afraid I always finish a book, but I might be getting over it. Maybe. Sort of. I usually read multiple books at a time and lately it seems like the books I'm less interested in are starting to have a tendency to sit in my currently reading folder for a long long time.

    I guess I haven't given up on them, but I have taken an extended break from reading them.

    Oh who am I kidding? Maybe this time I can break the cycle. I would love to know what book series was driving you nuts. hmm.. 

  11.  It usually takes me a while to realize a book isn't working for me. Normally if I put off reading it for a few weeks or when I've rolled my eyes at the characters enough times to finally be annoyed with them. Sometimes it's when I open another book to preview and realize that there really is better stuff for me out there. But I don't have a problem dropping a book I didn't finish, it just takes me a while to get there.

  12.  Now I'm sitting here staring at my 'vampire' shelf and wondering which on it is. XD

    Haven't started Vampire Academy yet, though I do own the first one.

  13. Haha! My boyfriend pretty much gave me the same advice. I was reading a book at the time that annoyed me to no end, yet I wouldn't put it down, no matter how frustrated it made me. When I finished, I found out there was a sequel.

    I'm still fighting the compulsion to read it as well...

  14. I'm merciless. I have so little time to read these days that if the first few pages don't grab me, it's going to the charity shop.

  15. I used to be like you. I never read a book I didn't finish. But that was back when I had A LOT more reading time so it didn't make a big difference. Now that I'm a mom of four, my reading time is precious and I will willingly drop a book if it's not working for me at all. Books that I have a love hate relationship with (love some things, hate some things) I generally try to finish, if only to help me identify what things work and don't work for me as a reader. (Valuable knowledge for writing.) And there are some times that I force myself to finish a book if its for a specific purpose like reading to study the genre that I write in. For that purpose it's valuable to read both the good and the bad so as to familiarize myself with what is being done in the genre I write in. But if it's the 3rd or 4th book in a series and it's become painful, I consider my debt to my studies paid and put it down.

  16. I read a book once that had a love rhombus in it...okay, I made that up.  Personally, I feel it's more of a waste of time to start a book and not finish it, then it is to get through book, no matter how much you don't like it.  I started the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo with high expectations last year, but found that it kind of sucks.  Still, it's been gnawing at me, and I'm going to take it up again soon even though I don't expect it'll get any better.  

    My past and my book shelves are littered with books I've begun but never finished.  It's my goal to eventually get through as many if them as possible.


  17.  So exciting having a mention in your blog! And I'm proud that you stopped reading. What's next on the reading list?
    I had to put down another book the other day. Which killed me since I usually LOVE the author. It was just too horrible to sit through. And I have a shelf of other things staring at me. 
    I used to be like you, and NEVER be able to put books down, even if they were bad. But lately, I just can't deal with the thought of wasting my time. 

  18. Lol. I'm trying not to name books I haven't enjoyed on my blog. The bit about the teenage love pentagon is a clue though, and before that there was a love square but one of the guys died. Obviously the girl, feeling unloved, found herself two more guys to replace him and fight over her.

    You should definitely read Vampire Academy! It's one of my favourite series, and my fave within YA paranormal.

  19. Lol. Lissa, now I want to know which series you think it is! Hmmm...

  20. If you're sitting on it for a few weeks at least you know for sure that you don't want to read it anymore. If the characters and plot are still calling to you after a while you probably know you still want to read it.

  21. I probably still agree with you, if it's just one book (depending how awful it is). It's the neverending series I'm afraid of. My compulsive reading needs to be stopped somewhere. :)

  22. Um, if I've started a BOOK then I generally need to finish it. A series? Not so...if I hated the first book, I won't read on.

  23. I prefer to finish a book, but if I didn't like it, I won't read the rest of the series.  Also, sometimes I don't finish a truly horrible book.  If I not only don't like it, but I also think it's so horribly written that it will hurt my writing, I stop.

    I agree, life is too short to read bad books.