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The Front Parlor > Do you always finish a book you start reading?

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message 1: by K.J. (last edited Nov 07, 2018 05:04AM) (new)

K.J. McCall | 8 comments A friend said he always reads a book to the end, no matter what, because he'd feel like a quitter otherwise. His tenacity is admirable. On the other hand, why should I stay with a book that's especially annoying or dull when I'm supposed to be reading it for enjoyment?


message 2: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten  (kmcripn) You shouldn't.

My mom says her father would read the last chapter first to see if it was worth his time. (I could never do that!!)

That being said, I finish almost every book I start. Maybe I've just picked ones that I could tolerate/enjoy/love, or maybe I just feel like your friend.


message 3: by K.J. (last edited Jul 07, 2018 10:23AM) (new)

K.J. McCall | 8 comments Isn't it interesting about reading the last chapter first? Not a month ago, somebody else said they do that for the same reason.

I've never been tempted to do it, either. Wouldn't expect to necessarily understand what the ending means yet anyway. But maybe part of the fun is waiting for that moment when you say, aaah, that's what it means!


message 4: by Anna (last edited Jul 07, 2018 10:30AM) (new)

Anna Faversham (annafaversham) | 106 comments It pays to pick your genre/book carefully to fit what you like but also to check the author's style. I'm in the middle of reading something about the Indian Raj - I didn't think the setting would be what I would like but the book was recommended and I checked the 'Look Inside' feature on Amazon and it looked good so I started it. It's fantastic! It suits me like a tailor made glove. I'll definitely finish it and then I'll read more from this author.

But there are others that I don't finish. Time is a precious and finite commodity - I'm not going to waste mine on books not right for me. But I never leave a review saying 'I didn't finish this' and some disparaging comment. That's not fair because I am the one who has chosen unwisely.

I love your comment, Kirsten - "or maybe I just feel like your friend. "


message 5: by Shomeret (new)

Shomeret | 216 comments I used to start three books before settling on one that I would read all the way through. In June I started a policy of prioritizing my library books by how much I wanted to read them instead of their due date. Since then I haven't had the problem of starting multiple books and not finishing them.


message 6: by nx74defiant (new)

nx74defiant | 14 comments Usually I will finish a book once I start reading it. It is rare, but there are books I hated so much I don't finish.


message 7: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten  (kmcripn) Anna Faversham wrote: "It pays to pick your genre/book carefully to fit what you like but also to check the author's style. I'm in the middle of reading something about the Indian Raj - I didn't think the setting would b..."

I do try and post a review for books I had to put down. Sort of as a warning for others.


message 8: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten  (kmcripn) In June I started a policy of prioritizing my library books by how much I wanted to read them instead of their due date.

What a great idea!!!


message 9: by Meredith's (new)

Meredith's Books (merilibras) | 5 comments Well, it depends. If i hated a book i don't think I'd complete reading it.But certainly i will not quit reading if i didn't like the book at first.How knows? It might turn great.


message 10: by Robin (new)

Robin (ukamerican) | 528 comments My husband says "life is too short to read bad books" and he's right. I read for enjoyment, so if I'm not enjoying it, what's the point? I do try to give the book a fair chance, and I generally only quit if I really hate it. If there's enough redeeming qualities that it's not a complete chore to read, I will finish it, even if I wind up giving it a bad review. But if I'm dreading and avoiding picking up my Kindle because I know what's waiting for me and I'm disliking it that much - it's just not worth it.


message 11: by Kathy (new)

Kathy | 2888 comments Robin wrote: "My husband says "life is too short to read bad books" and he's right. I read for enjoyment, so if I'm not enjoying it, what's the point? I do try to give the book a fair chance, and I generally onl..."

It's funny that this should be posted right now as I just got on Goodreads to post a review about a book that I didn't finish!


message 12: by Leah (new)

Leah Moyes | 22 comments nx74defiant wrote: "Usually I will finish a book once I start reading it. It is rare, but there are books I hated so much I don't finish."

I agree with this statement. If I started it, I finish it, although sometimes if I'm disappointed in the writing I skim, but I always get to the end somehow. I'm an optimist, I just keep hoping it will get better!


message 13: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 697 comments I used to read everything through to the end, hoping that the author would turn it around. But as I age and have less and less reading time, I have become more likely to abandon a book if it isn't working for me, on the "life's too short" principle. A recent example is the first book in the Cazalet series by Elizabeth Jane Howard, The Light Years. Good writing, a real gift for getting into the minds of different characters, but they all were leading such pointless lives and all the men (practically) were cheating on their wives. I hatehatehate to read about marital infidelity! So I found myself dreading picking up the book, and gave myself permission not to.


message 14: by Tammy (new)

Tammy Usually though sometimes I might put a book aside and read another then return to it if I am having a hard time getting into it.


message 15: by Erica (new)

Erica | 362 comments I used to be so staunch and oush myself to finish any book I started. Now however, I know what I like so I can tell within the first 30-50 pages if I'm gonna like a book and will put it aside if I think it's just gonna be a monumental slog. But I get most of my book recs from Booktube or Goodreads from sources I trust so it's not often I start reading a book I will dislike that much. Think I've only dnf'd 2 or 3 books so far this year (and have read almost 50)


message 16: by Sydney (last edited Jul 08, 2018 03:38AM) (new)

Sydney (slknutsen) Me too. I used to be of the opinion that if I started a book, I must finish it. No more! I give it 100-150 pages. If I can't get into it, it's gone! I have a special GR column for those books too. I decided that there are too many enjoyable books out there to be saddled with one that simply isn't.

The last book that I made myself finish was Moby Dick. I generally love the classics, but I hated every minute of it.


message 17: by Cheryl A (new)

Cheryl A | 943 comments I do everything mentioned above!!! Sometimes I'll give up on a title after 50-75 pages, usually after reading the last 10 or so pages and seeing if I want to see how the book got to that ending. If the ending is predictable or I've already figured out that's how it was going to end, I'll return it to the library. I always finish IRL book club books and books for challenges, especially if I don't have an alternative title for the task. Sometimes I'll start and put down a book two or three times - I've had titles that I keep coming back to as wanting to read and am usually glad I tried again (A Discovery of Witches was one I checked out and started three times before I finished it, and then I went through the whole trilogy in a month!).

The last book I made myself finish - don't hate - was Outlander. Not my cup of tea and I'm now off the hook for the rest of the series!!


message 18: by Jan (new)

Jan | 1806 comments Reading should never be a chore; it can be challenging, but not tedious. I firmly believe in "surrendering" a book that just doesn't do it for you. I am a former middle school teacher. I saw too many reluctant readers who only saw reading as a chore. I tried hard to find them books that would interest them, not always successfully. But surrendering a book was acceptable in my classroom. I give myself that same luxury.


message 19: by Eileen (new)

Eileen Iciek | 459 comments I used to finish every book I started, no matter how I felt about it. But not anymore. Life's too short to waste time on a book I don't enjoy at least a little.


message 20: by Robin (new)

Robin (ukamerican) | 528 comments Abigail wrote: "I used to read everything through to the end, hoping that the author would turn it around. But as I age and have less and less reading time, I have become more likely to abandon a book if it isn't ..."

I've learned that even if a book gets a bit better in the second half, or final quarter, or whatever, it's still too little, too late. It's not going to dramatically influence my feelings about it, which is why I don't have a problem giving up on it and not finishing it. I don't need to see whether it gets better or not - it's highly unlikely to get so much better that I would drastically change my opinion/review/rating, so I don't feel I'm missing anything anyway.


message 21: by K.J. (new)

K.J. McCall | 8 comments Robin, I agree. I recently made myself finish Grisham's "Sycamore Row" and Chevalier's "Falling Angels". Neither got "better" enough to justify the read.


message 22: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Crane | 33 comments I give a book about 100 pages. If I really can't take any more, I let it go. I do finish more than 90% of the books I start though. I think an author deserves a chance, and I don't need to be enchanted with the first chapter. As long as there is some freshness to the language and I'm somewhat interested in the characters or story, I'll go along for the ride--at least for a while.


message 23: by Sydney (new)

Sydney (slknutsen) I agree. I've got to give the author a chance to develop his characters a bit before I slam the book shut. That said, I gave In Cold Blood 275 pages before I had to just put it down for good. Too real; I knew the grisliness that was coming. Kept thinking I could deal with it. But in the end, I felt I had the good sense not to burden myself with it any longer.


message 24: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thenightowl) | 2227 comments Barbara wrote: "I give a book about 100 pages. If I really can't take any more, I let it go. I do finish more than 90% of the books I start though. I think an author deserves a chance, and I don't need to be encha..."

I'm the same way...about 100 pages is my limit. The only time I finish is if it's a book club read, but then I can rage about it at the meeting so it's no so bad. :) I also tend to finish if I'm using the book for a challenge.

I also finish about 90-95% of the books I pick up. When I had more time to read I wasn't as picky with my reading material, so I had a lot more unfinished books. Now I have more time constraints so I'm pickier with my choices. I'll read friend and community reviews, take the rating into consideration, etc. Sometimes I'll pick something up on a whim but usually my reading is more pre-planned these days.

I will also rate and review unfinished books. I will mention why I did not finish and how far I got. I find reviews like that helpful because I may not like the same things as the reviewer so it helps me not waste my time.


message 25: by Mary (new)

Mary Elizabeth Hughes | 82 comments More and more often I give myself permission to put down a book. But, on the other hand, one of the benefits of being in a book club is feeling obliged to finish the chosen book, whether one likes it or not. And very often, when we come to discuss said book, I listen with interest as others talk about why they enjoyed it. I often come away with a greater appreciation of the book, which I slogged through.


message 26: by Jayme (new)

Jayme (jaymetheghostreader) | 2807 comments 9 times out of 10 I finish a book. If I can't get through the first 50 pages then most likely I won't finish it.


message 27: by Alice (new)

Alice Poon (alice_poon) Since joining Goodreads in 2014, I gave up on and did not finish 3 books. When choosing books to add to my list, I am very selective and always read trusted friends' reviews before deciding to add or not. I'm not a fan of series, and I avoid genres like romance, mystery and thrillers.


message 28: by Carrie (new)

Carrie Dalby Sometimes it takes me a while to get the feel of a book's tone/voice so if that throws me off in the beginning, I'm usually settled in to it by 50 pages. After that, if it's still not my thing, I'll move on to something else.


message 29: by Allison (last edited Jul 10, 2018 08:36AM) (new)

Allison | 10 comments I always try to finish a book, even if it 's the worst trash I've ever read. However, there IS a book I had to stop reading because it was so terrible: Warsaw. Way too many characters to keep track of, subplots that went nowhere, and bloated purple prose that made it nearly unreadable. There's a reason this book is so obscure.

But I'd still like to return to it at some point to see if it gets any better. I doubt it though.


message 30: by Calvin (new)

Calvin Cherry | 13 comments I have a nasty habit of starting several books at once, and the one I find most interesting I finish first. Usually the one that I am least interesting in gets traded for something else.


message 31: by Allison (new)

Allison | 10 comments Calvin, that happens to me all the time! At least I'm not the only one. :P


message 32: by Gabrielle (new)

Gabrielle Dubois (gabrielle-dubois) | 112 comments Do I always finish a book I started? Certainly not, do you always make friends with people you've just met, when you don't appreciate them? 😏


message 33: by Jean (new)

Jean Blankenship | 54 comments Yes, I make myself finish. I have started books that I did not like, but kept reading and they have turned out to be very good. Also some that I didn't like at all, but I finished anyway.


message 34: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Friedman (sharonglogerfriedmancom) | 172 comments I also finish the books I start. If the book is not exactly what I had hoped, I generally find some redeeming quality: a character I like, an interesting sub-plot, a bit of information that I was not aware of.


message 35: by C I N D L E (new)

C I N D L E (cindle) Absolutely, I always every book I start. This is due in part because I am fairly selective in choosing what I read to begin with. My to-read list is purposeful, and is curated with discernment. I do my research, ensuring the genre, subject matter, writing style, etc., are all things I like to read and or things I gravitate towards, to ensure maximum reading enjoyment or learning.

I may not always finish a book in the allotted one or two week time I initially set for myself when I started reading it (hey, life happens), but yes, I always finish every book I start. In that regard, I hope to never have a DNF or Abandoned shelf. Nothing wrong with having one, but it is my goal to never have either.


message 36: by Jayme (new)

Jayme (jaymetheghostreader) | 2807 comments Unfortunately I do have a DNF shelf. There are less than 15 books on it though :)


message 37: by Alice (new)

Alice | 5366 comments I give it 50 pages and out. If I don't like it there are too many good books out there waiting to be read


message 38: by Francesca (new)

Francesca | 4 comments Yes I do even if I make a huge effort


message 39: by ~Annaki~ (last edited Aug 09, 2018 01:22PM) (new)

~Annaki~ (annaki) | 3 comments No- unless it is a book that I really want to read for other reasons than enjoyment, i.e. big classics that are common reference in social/cultural contexts/situations. I'll whip and drag myself through those.

But if it is an "ordinary" book, then I usually give it 50-100 pages depending on the length of the book and if it still hasn't caught me, then I ditch it- my life is too short for bad books when there are so many good ones out there to be enjoyed.


message 40: by ROBERT (new)

ROBERT | 35 comments I used to but I stopped that practice awhile ago. Life is too short and there are too many books that could be my favorite out there. If the book doesn't grab my attention somewhere in the first 50 pages or less, I move on.


message 41: by ~Annaki~ (new)

~Annaki~ (annaki) | 3 comments Anna Faversham wrote: "It pays to pick your genre/book carefully to fit what you like but also to check the author's style. I'm in the middle of reading something about the Indian Raj - I didn't think the setting would b..."

May I ask what book it is?


message 42: by Mara (new)

Mara Pemberton (marapem) | 14 comments I am mostly an audiobook listener, so it depends either on the book or the narrator.

Sometimes the book sounds great, and after you start listening to it it’s a COMPLETE DUD.

Or the book is wonderful and the chosen narrator is very new to narrating books, was hired because he/she was a friend or relative , or because publisher could pay them a lower scale than a more talented narrator.

Or it’s a combination of a terrible book and lousy narrator.


message 43: by Carol (new)

Carol D | 6 comments I do most of the time, but there are a few I sort of 'wandered' away from. Yup, in the words of one of Dana Marie Bell's characters in her True Destiny series, I'm 'One of 'those' people.'" I'll peek a couple of pages before the end to get a quick scan. Though with ebooks and audiobooks, not so much anymore. *sigh*

A prime example of 'wandered off' I did attempt Herman Melville's "Moby Dick" but the first I think chapter had my eyes glazing over. Stephen King's "IT" beat that as it only took me 5 pages before put it down. Yeah, most books I do read through, but if it completely fails to gain my interest, then nope, not finishing it.


message 44: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Sowards | 75 comments I used to finish nearly every novel I started, but over the last few years, I've put more and more down unfinished. Sometimes I'll give a book 50-100 pages, but sometimes I can tell within a chapter that it's not a good fit for me. And finding historical errors will make me put the book down really, really quickly. I might let a slight one that could be a typo pass, but if I feel the author hasn't done due research, I'm out. The other books on my tbr list are waiting!

Nonfiction is a little different for me. Oftentimes I'll go in planning to just read part of it for research. But there are a few history books I've put down too, even when I was planning to read the whole thing.


message 45: by Mercy (new)

Mercy Madison I really am jealous of all of you who said you finish everything you read. That is not the case with me. I do have a "Haven't Finished Reading" list on my Amazon Kindle. There are about 24 books on that list. Yikes! There are even more books on my "Not Read" list. Much more. : D Though, it's funny that I have 101 books in my "Not Read" list AND on my "Finished" list. That's only with ebooks, though. When you get books for free or for 99c, you often get it. Why not? Then, it doesn't meet expectations and there's another book to try out. How can you force yourself through a non-interesting book when you have another book calling out "READ ME" louder and louder the longer you ignore it?


message 46: by Mercy (new)

Mercy Madison A.L. wrote: "I used to finish nearly every novel I started, but over the last few years, I've put more and more down unfinished. Sometimes I'll give a book 50-100 pages, but sometimes I can tell within a chapte..."

The only time I read non-fiction books is for research. I read a part that I need, only to get distracted by a very interesting part. I never read a non-fictional book straight through. I jump around, finding interesting parts, whether or not it's needed for my novel. And a history book is about the only non-fiction I read. Everything else just doesn't seem as interesting. The occasional literature text might grab my attention, like the book "How to Read Literature Like a Professor," but history is the most certainly the most interesting non-fiction read. "On a Sea of Glass: The Life & Loss of the RMS Titanic" has got to be my favorite historical non-fiction and I haven't even read the whole thing. Or maybe I have? I jumped around all over the place in the book; I could have read the whole thing and not know it!


message 47: by [deleted user] (new)

K.J. wrote: "A friend said he always reads a book to the end, no matter what, because he'd feel like a quitter otherwise. His tenacity his admirable. On the other hand, why should I stay with a book that's espe..."

I won't continue a book I'm not enjoying. Life is too short. LOL


message 48: by Fiona (new)

Fiona Hurley (fiona_hurley) | 249 comments Time spent on a book I'm not enjoying is time not spent on a book I might enjoy better. I usually give it 2 or 3 chapters to get absorbed or give up. Maybe longer if the book is a classic or was a gift from someone.


message 49: by Claudia (last edited Aug 28, 2018 06:27PM) (new)

Claudia Fabian | 10 comments I'll give it a fair amount of time, but if it's too violent or vulgar, it's not for me. If it's too preachy...it makes me uncomfortable. I want to come to my own conclusions AND, I like a happy ending. If it looks like there will be a twist of a "to be continued"...i just might pick up something else to read.


message 50: by Sydney (new)

Sydney (slknutsen) Mary wrote: "More and more often I give myself permission to put down a book. But, on the other hand, one of the benefits of being in a book club is feeling obliged to finish the chosen book, whether one likes ..."

I have drawn the same conclusion in my own book club readings. It's horizon broadening at the discussion. Also, I end up reading book club selections that I may never have picked up at all and, surprisingly, have ended up truly enjoying some of these.


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