To Quit Or Not Quit a Book? Our Readers Weigh In...

Posted by Marie on February 23, 2018

Reading is a bit like dating. Sometimes a book ignites a spark, and other times it fizzles. So we asked our followers on Twitter and Facebook: Do you stick with it or do you move on? Check out some of the most popular comments below and let us know which camp you fall into.

1."99% of the time I will finish the book. I feel I owe it to the author," says Todd.

2. "I usually stick it out. There's been many times that I've ended up loving something that wasn't initially drawing me in," says Andrew.

3."Move on. Reading should be a pleasure. If it’s not the book for you, it’s not the book for you," says Barbara.

4."I give it the 100 page limit. If I am still not into the book by that page, I put it down and get another book to read. Life is too short to suffer through a book you are not enjoying," says Luci.

5. "I used to stick with it, but I have decided that I only have so many years in my life and it is not worth it! There are so many good books out there to discover," says Tamara.

6. "I always finish them off. I sometimes put them down and pick another book but always come back," says Carola.

7. "It depends on the level of not pulling me in. If I'm not loving it, but still want to know how it ends, I'll stick with it. But if reading it feels like a chore, I'll stop reading it," says Chelsey.

8. "If it’s a book I really want to read, I try the audio before giving up completely," says Dana.

9. "Put it away and try much later on. Tastes and style change over the years," says Brad.

10."Depends on why I'm reading it. For review? For my private students? For research? For pleasure? For the first 3, I stick to it. For the last, I move on," says Elizabeth.

11. "If it's unrecommended I'll give it 2-3 chapters. If it's an author I like or has come with a respected recommendation I'll give it more time," says Danielle.

12. "I always try to stick with it. I feel like there is something to learn in the struggle of getting through a book. I’ve only put down a couple of books, but that was because I developed a strong dislike for the material," says Kira.

13. "I usually move on. For every page I force myself to read that I'm not enjoying, that's time I could be reading pages that I love," says Nicole.

14. "Some books take more time than others to learn the flow of the prose, but more often than not it pays to keep reading until you get there," says Carole.

15. "I leave it alone for a couple days and if the desire to read it doesn't come back then I just don't bother," says Teresa.

16."So much of my reading is for book clubs that I pretty much always stick with it—at least I’ll have people to complain to!" says Megan.

Comments Showing 1-50 of 433 (433 new)

message 1: by Calli (new)

Calli I tend to be in the camp of finishing books. I want to know what happens! However, there have been a few times where I haven’t finished a book.

I think the 100 page trial is a good rule of thumb. If I’m not interested in what the ending will be after 100 pages, then it feels like I am wasting time. Life’s too short for that. It’s my opinion that a book should figuratively “show a little skin” at the point of 100 pages to entice me to keep reading.

That said, I also enjoy finishing books because I like to write down special quotes from books that feel like universal truths or really speak to me. And if I don’t finish a book, I might miss something really inspiring or insightful.

message 2: by Inken (new)

Inken If the book doesn't have me by page 100 I'm done. Life is too short to waste it on books that don't interest me. There are so many excellent books out there that I'm not reading while I'm wading thro something that I'm hating.

message 3: by Rivalic (new)

Rivalic I usually stick with the book, but you what gets me? When the story leaves at a cliff hanger, and then there's a sequel. Man more reading. . . .

message 4: by Adrienne (new)

Adrienne Freeman I've quit books - I have an entire Goodreads bookshelf titled "Started-couldn't finish". Some were audio books that were digitally downloaded and expired before I could finish - so, hopefully, I can go back and finish them at some point. Sometimes, the book and I are just so hopelessly incompatible with each other, its best to just let it go.

message 5: by Nichole (new)

Nichole I used to be in the camp of finishing books no matter what because I felt duty-bound to finish even bad books. Now, life's too short. I know what I like and don't like.

message 6: by Lauriie (new)

Lauriie I normally finish my books because I want to know what happens. I have a DNF shelf, but I don't use it much.
I have one book which I started, stopped, started again and so on until I finally got through it, but I finished it in the end.

message 7: by Sonia189 (new)

Sonia189 I read it all. If I don't finish I would always think it was a failure of mine or that I wasn't fair to that book.
But as the years go by and the time to read is less, I think I'll need to seriously think about the DNF status...

message 8: by Alex (new)

Alex Move on

message 9: by Aqsa (new)

Aqsa I stick with the book. I hate myself for it but I feel like I can't let go. I have to see how it ends no matter what and if I don't then my curiosity will kill me. I do however put it down if it's unbearable to pick it up some other time when I have the mood to be patient with the book. I feel like I won't do it justice if I move on from it without even knowing if all my frustration was worth it in the end.

message 10: by Diane (new)

Diane I used to always finish, even if I hated the book. However, as I've gotten older and my bookshelf has expanded with so many "To Read" books, it isn't worth it anymore. I will typically give it 75-100 pages, unless it's just abysmal and I can't take it anymore.

message 11: by Lili (new)

Lili  Marcus Ever since I started reading when I was eight years, I've only DNFed 1 book and it was only because I found some triggers in the story.,, I really can't stop reading something until I know how it's ended. H*ck, I can't even put down a book so I usually finish reading it them in one sitting..Doesn't matter if they're good or not,,Though this year, one of my bookish goals is to learn how to DNF books. LOL.. Thankfully, I haven't yet found a book to DNF since January .. Not that all 30 books Ive read so far were all good, but the ones I almost DNF were ARCs and I will always finish reading an ARC no matter what. :)

message 12: by Justine (new)

Justine I used to finish my books, even if I disliked them; but I decided this year to not force myself if I really don't enjoy it, if it becomes a chore. I only DNFed one book so far! There are so many great books waiting for me!

message 13: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa Nunes I used to make myself read the book right to the end, almost as if I was letting the author/book down by not doing this. Then I realised, there are so many good books out there that I could be reading and why waste my time.

Not every book is everyone's cup of tea and if I am not enjoying the book then it is not worth it. However, I only tend to put down books where I cannot reconcile myself with the writing. It is hardly ever that I put something down because the subject matter or story is causing problems. I like to be challenged, put I can't stand badly written book.

message 14: by Shellie (new)

Shellie Taylor My 1-star reviews are reserved for DNFs. I give an author half of a book. If by halfway through the book it is so bad that I don't even care what happens or if the writing gets better, I quit and give you 1-star. If I at least finish the book, but I still wasn't impressed, I give you a 2-star review. As a reader, I want to be entertained and engaged. I don't want to waste my time reading a book just for the sake of finishing it when I could be reading something I truly enjoy. As a writer, I feel my critiques are a bit harsh, but at the same time, I wouldn't want someone to be so bored with my writing that I waste their time in reading it.

message 15: by Laertes (new)

Laertes For me, it depends on whether it is a novel or a shorter form (like a novella or a short story). I have no problems quitting a novel when I don't get into it after, say, 50 or so pages, but not earlier, because we all know that it can take some time to get into plot, characters, writing style before you know whether you are really into it as a whole - or not. When it comes to novellas and short stories, I normally finish them, especially when the short story is part of an anthology or collection and I liked one or more of the surrounding stories.

message 16: by BookishGal29 (new)

BookishGal29 I usually do my best to finish books because one, I hate to leave things unfinished and two because I believe I can learn something from my (unpleasant) reading experience. Sometimes it is the books that I've disliked the most that I've learned the most things from (usually how not to write). However, if I feel that the book is offensive, obscene or vile, I will not finish it based on moral principle.

message 17: by WendyB (new)

WendyB I have no problem at all setting a book aside and not finishing it if it isn't working for me.
There are simply too many books to read to suffer through one I'm not enjoying. And the author will never know so I don't sweat that either.

message 18: by Aenea (new)

Aenea Jones I have a completionist nature. Go through with it to the end even if it's a drag.
Unfinished business haunts me like nothing else!

message 19: by Laertes (last edited Feb 23, 2018 08:12AM) (new)

Laertes Olivia wrote: "I usually do my best to finish books because one, I hate to leave things unfinished and two because I believe I can learn something from my (unpleasant) reading experience. Sometimes it is the book..."

But aren't books that are offensive the most important books? Because they manage to get to you, ask questions you haven't asked before, make you confront yourself with things you don't wanna be confronted with? And isn't it a fact that 'offensiveness' per se doesn't say anything about the quality of the work? Or in other words: Don't you think there can be such thing as an offensive masterpiece?

message 20: by Kye (new)

Kye Anderson Life is too short...stop the book.

message 21: by Brandy (new)

Brandy Shark I used to finish books, regardless of how terrible, when I was younger, but starting in my mid-twenties, I decided that it wasn't worth it. I'm not going to spend my time on bad books, when there are so many good books out there.

message 22: by Betty (new)

Betty I agree that life is too short. Especially as I get older. I will stick with it till I quit. Not a particular page or chapter. No Mercy Reads.

message 23: by Sarah (new)

Sarah I'm a ruthless DNF-er. If it's not holding my attention, I move on--I have hundreds of other books I want to read! I think I DNF around 10-15% of the books I start.

message 24: by [deleted user] (new)

I used to belong to a book club that stated the rule of the club was to read to page 60 before deciding to put down the book. I still follow this rule.

message 25: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen Garlock Once upon a time I finished every book I picked up. Now I put down more than I finish.

Life is short, and books that are not for me seem so unbearably long, even if they only number a few pages.

Not everything is for everyone. If it were, then where would be the joy in finding a story you wish would never end?

message 26: by Jeff (new)

Jeff Life is too short and there are too many books; I give a book up to 50 pages (or less) before pitching them.

message 27: by skketch (new)

skketch I really challenge myself to finish a book, even if I don't like it because what if it becomes good but I didn't give it a chance? I know that I am not interested in the book viscerally if it sits untouched for days. If I like a book, I will find my mind keeps going back to it wanting to know more and finding little snippets of time to read a few more pages. Also, belonging to a book club makes you finish a book that's not a favorite so you can participate in the discussion of it. There's a good incentive!

message 28: by Cecilia (new)

Cecilia I feel like all these are totally true!

message 29: by Aqsa (new)

Aqsa Looks like there are just as many people who stick to the book as those who skip it! I guess everyone has their own way!

message 30: by JAS (new)

JAS I'll stick it out if the plot is interesting enough after 3-5 chapters. If not I'll move on.

message 31: by Rina (new)

Rina Nichole wrote: "I used to be in the camp of finishing books no matter what because I felt duty-bound to finish even bad books. Now, life's too short. I know what I like and don't like."

i agree

message 32: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly I started using the 100 page (or less) rule after I forced myself to read a book years ago that I ended up hating. Life is too short and there are far too many books out there that I do want to finish to waste my time on something I dislike. My decision to stop reading a book has nothing to do with the author and everything to do with my enjoyment and time invested in a particular book. I've stopped reading books before and then picked up a different book by the same author and loved it.

This Kooky Wildflower Loves a Little Tea and Books 95% of the time, I finish the book. If a book's bad or dull, I simply stop and move on to the next story. Life's way too short to waste time on boring stories.

message 34: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly Sonia189 wrote: "I read it all. If I don't finish I would always think it was a failure of mine or that I wasn't fair to that book.
But as the years go by and the time to read is less, I think I'll need to seriousl..."

It's not a failure if you don't like it. Don't be so hard on yourself. It's your time, your personal choice and taste. It's okay to be selfish with that and pamper yourself with a book that you enjoy. It's okay to stop reading anything that is wasting YOUR time.

message 35: by Phoenix2 (new)

Phoenix2 I usually finish them, but lately I tend to leave them, though knowing that I haven't finished them bothers me....

message 36: by Cassy (last edited Feb 23, 2018 08:46AM) (new)

Cassy I have debated this a great deal. I finish every book, even it takes me 2-5 years and I read 50 books in between. I learn something even from the "bad" books. Plus it bothers me to spend $15-$30 on a book and not see it through. Also, sometimes the reason I don't get far into a book has nothing to do with the book itself; maybe my "real" life was busy or I was distracted by another book.

message 37: by Aqsa (new)

Aqsa Cassy wrote: "I have debated this a great deal. I finish every book, even it takes me 2-5 years and I read 50 books in between. I learn something even from the "bad" books. Plus it bothers me to spend $15-$30 on..." Great answer! I feel the same way!

message 38: by Danielle (new)

Danielle If I'm reading for pleasure I have 30 page rule, if I'm not into it by then I will stop, unless it's a recommendation from someone I trust or I have respect for the author. By 30 pages I may not love a book, but I should at least feel some attachment to the characters or desire to read on. It always bothers me if I don't finish a book or worse a series, but my reading list is so long I've learned to move on. The time you waste pushing through something you don't like is time that could be spent finding your next lightening striking, steal your breath, totally life changing read.

message 39: by Jona (new)

Jona Taylor My policy is, if I bought the book I have to read it. But sometimes the book is so bad I put it aside to read later -- later rarely comes.

message 40: by Wdmoor (new)

Wdmoor I give a book two chapters at the most, sometimes only one. If I don't like an author's style then I don't care how good the story it's just going to distract from any reading enjoyment. Reading should be a pleasure, not a chore. I also feel no compunction about quitting a book mid-read. I recently quit mid-book when I realized the author was cribbing the plot from another of his books...and that hadn't been very good either.

message 41: by Alondra (new)

Alondra Miller I hate when good books go bad. LOL

I used to force myself to finish, but I refuse to continue reading a book that is just not for me. Not every book is for every body.

Life is too short for bad books.

message 42: by Jennifer (last edited Feb 23, 2018 09:11AM) (new)

Jennifer Smith I usually finish the book. Most of the time, I find I end up liking the way the book ends, even if I felt it got off to a slow start. There are also several books that I haven't liked all that much that I read just to knock off the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge. I may put the book down for a day or two or read another book at the same time (I have a book that I read at home and different book that I take with when I'm subbing at one of the schools I work for), but I do usually finish the book.

There has been only one book that I started but didn't finish, even with trying the audio book, and that was just because of the kind of language that was used a little too much in the part that I did read/listen to (at least in my opinion).

message 43: by Tara (new)

Tara It all really depends why I am reading the book. If it is for a book club, I will finish it regardless, and just express my negative feedback about it. Otherwise, I tend to try to finish, but if I really don't like it, I will put it aside. I've only done that a handful of times when I really really didn't like the book. I agree that life is too short (and TBR lists too long), to waste on something that you are supposed to be reading for pleasures sake.

message 44: by Marigold (new)

Marigold I will definitely put down the book and move on to one that fits me better. If I think the writing is particularly bad or stilted, I will give up after about 20 pages. If I discover the book has an element that I personally dislike (ghosts or spirits, for example), I discard it immediately. If I think the book insults my intelligence, good-bye!
I don't have to like the main characters because their personalities add depth to the plot.
I have been an avid reader for almost 60 years and my tastes have changed but I think I can tell early on whether or not a book is worth my time. So many books out there that I CAN enjoy ..... why waste time on the ones I don't appreciate?

message 45: by ♛ Garima ♛ (new)

♛ Garima ♛ I also feel that I should finish the book, I own it to author but life is too short to read something I don't many books, so little time...but I keep it in my maybe-later shelf. Who knows when mood strikes....

message 46: by Tyler (new)

Tyler Gray I used to always finish but i'm getting better at learning to DNF. I'll give a book some time but if it's starting to feel like a chore to read, when i'm supposed to be reading for pleasure, i'll move on. I try to read until I reach a point where it's DNF or go into a reading slump, then it's just time to move on. There are so many wonderful books out there to read and you only get so much to live.

message 47: by Cendaquenta (new)

Cendaquenta I DNF very very rarely - I think 3 times in the last couple of years, and only one of those was because I outright could not stand the book and didn't feel I could derive any kind of value from it.
Mostly I DNF when the reading experience just isn't there - when I feel like all I'm doing is moving my eyes over the words rather than actually reading. That sort of thing is very much a matter of the headspace I'm in rather than the fault of the book, and I'd rather lay the book aside than let it be ruined for me by circumstance.

message 48: by M (new)

M My firm belief-life is too short for bad books!

Everyone has different tastes in stories, authors, genres, etc that I really think that a bad book for me is a great book for someone else, and there are a million other books to choose from. If I'm not enjoying a book by about 1/3 of the way through then I just move on. Reading should never be a chore.

message 49: by Douglas (new)

Douglas Roberts I dont DNF many books as a great many are rereads of my favorite books. I like to finish all the books that I start. When I first started Lord of the Rings, I would have stopped in the first 100 pages, but I read on and it became one of my all time favorites. It also introduced me to fantasy which I love.

message 50: by Amber-Leigh (new)

Amber-Leigh I used to stick with it until the bitter end, but nowadays books have exactly 100 pages to give me a reason to finish them before I'll jump ship. Life can be tough enough sometimes without my reading time adding to the burden.

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