Goodreads Blog

What Makes You Put Down a Book?

Posted by Elizabeth on July 09, 2013
We tried to find out! Here is a list of some of the top books you put aside and a few reasons why.


Comments (showing 1-50 of 1,011) (1011 new)


message 1: by Tina (new)

Tina That's interesting! I try to finish most books. But if I just can't, then I set it down and try to come back to it at a later point. Sometimes timing is just off and its not what I want to read at that point, but might be perfect later on.


message 2: by Gladys (new)

Gladys Maina Very interesting. I abandoned Eat, Love, Pray. Maybe someday I will finish it because as a rule, I don't leave books halfway. I hoped to see the devil wears prada.


message 3: by Gabriela (new)

Gabriela I used to read every single book I started, until a teacher told me that "life is too short to read a bad book. Put it down, and move on." I never forced myself to finish a book after that.


message 4: by Laura (new)

Laura My own personal most abandoned classic is The Sound and the Fury. I tried to read it several times. I would come back to it, perhaps get a bit further and then abandon it. It always made me sad as I love Faulkner's short stories. I eventually gave up and donated the book to the library.


message 5: by Jodi (new)

Jodi Campagna I usually try to finish everything, no matter how much I dislike it. However, I recently came very, very, very close to abandoning Kate Atkinson's "Life After Life". Not only did the story move at a snail's pace, it was 520+ pages long. Reading the entire thing was a huge chore. To be honest, I'm sorry I stuck with it. Too much time wasted for not enough payoff.


message 6: by Aiza (new)

Aiza Gladys wrote: "Very interesting. I abandoned Eat, Love, Pray. Maybe someday I will finish it because as a rule, I don't leave books halfway. I hoped to see the devil wears prada."

Yess! I also wanted to see devil wears prada in the list. Abandoned it twice.!


message 7: by Christy (new)

Christy I had no trouble finishing Eat Pray Love or The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I finished 50 Shades of Grey but got half way through the second before I gave the set I bought to a cousin. I just found it to be a long, drawn out Harlequin with dirtier sex. The other books I tried but just could NOT get into at all so yes, Casual Vacancy and Wicked were abandoned.


message 8: by Marti (new)

Marti Dyer-allison In high school, my Biology teacher told me "if a book doesn't capture my interest in the first 50 pages, I put it down and go on to the next book." Ever after, that has been my rule! If the author can't make me "care" about the characters in 50 pages, I won't finish the book -- e.g. Jonathan Franzen's "The Corrections." Who cares?


message 9: by Jody (last edited Jul 09, 2013 08:19AM) (new)

Jody K I've abandoned Eat, Pray, Love (absolute apathy for the character/author) and 50 Shades of Gray (out of embarrassment/bad writing and editing). I also abandoned the Lord of the Rings series because, to me, it was boring. I look forward to abandoning Atlas Shrugged.
I don't have time for bad books. I give them 50 pages or so. When I abandon a book more than halfway through, it is with angry regret that I gave it so much time.


message 10: by Tia (new)

Tia I put down The Wedding Machine by Beth Webb Hart. I usually will pick up a book that I put down and reread it with fresh eyes. I loved Moon Over Edisto by Beth Webb Hart. Too much going on in The Wedding Machine ..... too many people and drama in their lives to follow. UUGGHH!!!!!!!!


message 11: by Tina (new)

Tina gabiiescobar wrote: "I used to read every single book I started, until a teacher told me that "life is too short to read a bad book. Put it down, and move on." I never forced myself to finish a book after that."


Good advice!! I should remember that when i just really don't like a book! Like I said above, I try to finish them at some point, but there are definitely times that I don't finish it and just get rid of the book.


message 12: by Angela (new)

Angela Kinder I eventually try to finish books, eventually. Wicked took me a few months, but I finished it and even went on to read the other books in the series. I think I've only abandoned one book because it was so poorly written and the author though he was a gift to literature.


message 13: by Gail (new)

Gail I also put down Eat, Pray Love and Casual Vacancies. I also abandoned East of Eden, The Corrections, and I Am Charlotte Simmons.


message 14: by Linda (new)

Linda I'm having that problem with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo right now. I'm on page 59 and am just forcing myself to keep on. It must get better at some point. I've read a lot of great books that were really slow and boring the first 50 pages, so I always try to push past that point. But if they haven't grabbed me by page 75 or so, then I'm done.


message 15: by Alicia (new)

Alicia Interesting. I finished 3 of the top 5 Abandoned. Never started the other 2..yet. Finished 2 of the 5 Abandoned Classics. Never started the other 3...yet. And I enjoyed all of the ones I've read. hmmm.


message 16: by Gail (new)

Gail Hagans This is an interesting study! I usually try to finish every book I pick up. I find that audiobooks help me with some of the ones that I'm not getting into. Maybe it's just by the readers voice or the character voices - dunno - listen to a lot of books now more than read! Sometimes though, there is still one that comes along that gets deleted from the playlist!


message 17: by Kim (new)

Kim Aiza wrote: "Gladys wrote: "Very interesting. I abandoned Eat, Love, Pray. Maybe someday I will finish it because as a rule, I don't leave books halfway. I hoped to see the devil wears prada."

Yess! I also wan..."


I read it but it reminded me of a former boss so i had panic attacks the whole way thru.... im not afraid to abandon books anymore! lol


message 18: by Joan (new)

Joan I may be the only one but I hated The Kite Runner, boring, boring


message 19: by Miss Ryoko (new)

Miss Ryoko There are just way too many books I want to read to waste my time on an awful book I've picked up. If it's awful, I won't read it til the end. There are better books out there that deserve the time.


message 20: by Zee (new)

Zee There were only a handful of books that I have abandoned. One of them was the Girl with a Dragon Tattoo - albeit the fact that my boss brought it to me and told me that it's a great book, I never really got into it and then, after watching the movie (and not liking all the violence in it, not to mention porn stuff), I figured that I would rather read other books.

Another book, The Jesus You Can't Ignore, was simply boring because the author, John MacArthur, just ranted on and on about how he hates everything post-modern and whatnot. I don't really care for stuff like that. Especially when he wasn't logical at all and contradicted himself and the Bible.


message 21: by Mary (new)

Mary Very interesting. I started all five of them and put all five of them down. I did end up going back and finishing Fifty (really bad, but I read the whole series ugh!), Dragon Tatoo (ended up reading the whole series and really liked it), Eat, Pray Love (it was o.k.) and I really liked Casual Vacancy.


message 22: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Interesting, but with so many great books out there and "so little time" as the saying goes, why force yourself to finish a book you don't like? Not me -- I move on if the first few pages don't have me hooked.


message 23: by Morgan (new)

Morgan This is cool! I actually really liked Wicked. Reminded me of Paradise Lost which I love. I've only stopped reading one book (that's not on here) because I thought it was poorly written. I just ignore bad books *cough cough Twilight*


message 24: by Mary (new)

Mary Jodi wrote: "I usually try to finish everything, no matter how much I dislike it. However, I recently came very, very, very close to abandoning Kate Atkinson's "Life After Life". Not only did the story move at..."

I agree. I don't see what all of the raves are about. I finished it, but not sure if I got it???


message 25: by Heidi (last edited Jul 09, 2013 08:20AM) (new)

Heidi gabiiescobar wrote: "I used to read every single book I started, until a teacher told me that "life is too short to read a bad book. Put it down, and move on." I never forced myself to finish a book after that."

Very good advice. As a person who feels I HAVE to finish things, I have wasted much time reading books that I only finish because I feel I have too! I'm going to try to remember this int he future.


message 26: by Gale (new)

Gale i try to finish books, but sometimes that is just not the book for you


message 27: by Lostaccount (new)

Lostaccount Darkpool Not surprised Casual Vacancy is on the abandoned book list. Unadulterated rubbish (IMHO).


message 28: by Zee (new)

Zee gabiiescobar wrote: "I used to read every single book I started, until a teacher told me that "life is too short to read a bad book. Put it down, and move on." I never forced myself to finish a book after that."

Yeah, that's the rule I try to follow too.


message 29: by Maggie (new)

Maggie Walsh The only one I have read was 50 Shades....was bored by about a third in but made myself finish it just in case it got better. It didn't.


message 30: by Judith (new)

Judith Williams I end up abandoning more books than I finish. Don't know if it's me or if it's just that there are so many unreadable books.


message 31: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Dahl The only book I've abandoned - so far - was 'The English Patient'. I almost abandoned 'Lonesome Dove', but I managed to stick it out 'til I hit the magic 100 page mark... then, when I was done, I was sorry there weren't another 1000 pages or so. Unfortunately, the books that McMurtry later wrote to make those extra 1000 I wanted didn't capture my interest at all.


message 32: by Catherine (new)

Catherine I absolutely agree that life is too short to finish a bad book! I usually give up after a chapter or two, but I once got halfway through a long novel by one of my favorite authors before I realized that I didn't like the book or the characters. I have to say that I've heard enough about "Eat, Pray, Love" and "50 Shades of Gray" that I am sure I will never abandon them simply because I will never start them! BTW, is there a way to abandon a book on Goodreads without having it appear as finished or currently reading?


message 33: by Virginia (new)

Virginia Life is indeed too short to read a book that you do not like. There are thousands and thousands of books out there. Why waste time on one that you are not enjoying? I have a list on Goodreads with the books I started, but could not finish. It is not a long list, but I have no qualms about abandoning a book after giving it 50 pages or so. There are a couple I have abandoned after five pages!


message 34: by Georgie (new)

Georgie Even if I find the book I'm reading *cough*A Discovery of Witches*cough* is the dullest, most arduous and terrible book I've read in a long while, I still make myself finish it. Even if that means skim-reading and/or skipping to the final chapter.
At least then I feel it hasn't defeated me!


message 35: by Jean-Pierre (new)

Jean-Pierre Vidrine Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs. I had heard his work praised as genius; but a few pages into that book proved to be nothing more than drug-induced nonsense. Chariots of the Gods by Erich Von Daniken. An interesting (even if outrageous) hypothesis proposed as a without-a-doubt conclusion by the author who won't even consider other possibilities.


message 36: by Robin (new)

Robin Altman Christy wrote: "I had no trouble finishing Eat Pray Love or The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I finished 50 Shades of Grey but got half way through the second before I gave the set I bought to a cousin. I just fo..."

I abandoned The Corrections, also!


message 37: by KC (new)

KC Yep - left Eat Pray Love on the floor. Never finished Moby Dick or the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Finished Catch-22 but had to force myself. Most of the time, if I'm going to abandon a book, it's pretty early on. If the story doesn't grab me or the writing doesn't hook me - I have plenty of other books waiting for me. I have never been able to finish Ian McEwan - he writes beautifully - but I cannot stand his characters. There is not one redeeming thing about them for me. So regardless of how many book awards he gets or how many people tell me I should read him...I just have a bias now and I may never get past it.


message 38: by Deb (new)

Deb Could Goodreads create a button or star type thing for abandoned books? I just created a list for when I give up on a book. It cracks me up when I get recommendations based on that shelf.


message 39: by Kate (new)

Kate It takes an awful lot to make me put a book down; I am a compulsive plate-cleaner because I have to find out WHAT HAPPENS. At a minimum, I trust the author to have a good sense of Story, even if he/she writes poorly. But egregiously bad writing (John Grisham's "A Time to Kill" is the one that pops to mind) will turn me off within five pages. Fortunately, this is rare. I can almost always find something worthwhile in a book --even if it's only How Not to Write a Book.


message 40: by Colleen (new)

Colleen McCarthy Love it - great infographic. I'm embarrassed to say I think I abandon more than I finish. I think the Kindle makes it easier to do that because I can just take it off my Kindle and pretend it doesn't exist!


message 41: by Ron (new)

Ron Life is to short to read bad books


message 42: by Louise (new)

Louise I read 4 of them. 50 Shades and Wicked I hated. Eat Pray Love and Dragon Tattoo were just okay. I have no interest in a Casual Vacancy because I don't even like the Harry Potter books.


message 43: by Chris (new)

Chris I am so glad to know I'm not the only one who abandons a book within the first few chapters if it doesn't grab me. I used to read to the end if I started it. With so many books on my list and not enough time, I don't like to waster my reading time on something I'm not going to like.


message 44: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie There are too many amazing books out there to stick with ones you don't love. I abandoned Eat Pray Love, too, but I did listen to it in the car, and it was a completely different experience. It was like a friend describing her vacation; she was not as whiny and self-absorbed on tape.


message 45: by Deborah (new)

Deborah I abandoned The Great Gatsby, Twilight, Atlas Shrugged, and The Bell Jar. I would never even bother trying to read crud like 'several shades of stupidity and misogyny' the premiss is disgusting enough.


message 46: by Nina (new)

Nina Books are like food - sometimes I just want something quick and nibbly, like a naughty-but-nice thriller or an entertaining, but forgettable romance and other times I want a feast to savour, which will stay in my memory forever because it's characters/ingredients were so perfectly made. Sometimes the feast exceeds my current appetite so I put it aside and plan to have it for left-overs another day. Cervantes' Decameron is a feast I haven't quite finished tasting, having started it about 10 years ago. But I will finish it by the time I am 70 for sure!


message 47: by Nancy (new)

Nancy I agree with "Deb" (above). How about a page/list for "Books I DIDN'T put down but should have"?


message 48: by April (new)

April Baker I've will stick out just about every book I start, even if it becomes a chore. Sometimes I'll put it down and go back to it, some times I push to finish it on the first go. So far there has only been one book I have completely given up on and I have no plans to return to it or anything by the same author... And that was Wicked. I forced myself to read his What the Dickens book and it was terrible. When I saw the same issues with Wicked I wasn't having it. His concepts are great... His writing is terrible!


message 49: by Beth (new)

Beth Elliott Gail wrote: "I also put down Eat, Pray Love and Casual Vacancies. I also abandoned East of Eden, The Corrections, and I Am Charlotte Simmons."

Gail wrote: "I also put down Eat, Pray Love and Casual Vacancies. I also abandoned East of Eden, The Corrections, and I Am Charlotte Simmons."

Gladys wrote: "Very interesting. I abandoned Eat, Love, Pray. Maybe someday I will finish it because as a rule, I don't leave books halfway. I hoped to see the devil wears prada."

Gladys wrote: "Very interesting. I abandoned Eat, Love, Pray. Maybe someday I will finish it because as a rule, I don't leave books halfway. I hoped to see the devil wears prada."

I read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and liked it so much I bought a e-reader so I could get the other books quickly. wish there were more in that series


message 50: by Moyasser (new)

Moyasser Hafiz Actually, it is catch 22, not finishing a book.


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