Closed book with red ribbon bookmark

To Finish or To Not Finish A Book

Do you struggle to DNF a book? Do you feel guilty if you want to quit a book that you just flat out don’t like?

Are you Really a quitter for DNFing a Book?

I am one of those people. I don’t want to be a quitter. I want to finish the book. Maybe it’ll redeem itself. Maybe it’ll have an ending that blows me away. Or maybe, all the pieces just come together in the end. These are all very real reasons on why it’s hard to quit a book.

Here’s the thing though, if a book can’t keep my attention, then is it even a book worth finishing? There are some legitimate questions out there about the ending of a book.

Will The Book Come Together At The End?

In all my years of reading, there’s been one book that stands out for me when it comes to persevering through a book that just isn’t resonating. One book that  I wanted to quit several times and just pushed through, and I’m grateful I finished it because it all came together in this wonderful little package.

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman. I had a really hard time with this book and if you’ve read any of Fredrick Backman’s books, you know he has a unique voice and a unique way of laying out his stories.

the book My Grandmother Asked me to Tell You she's Sorry by Fredrik Backman

This was my first book by him and it definitely gave me a challenge, trying to stick with his storytelling. I am glad I did because I feel that Backman is an incredible artist when it comes to weaving his storylines together. He does a beautiful job of bringing everything together at the end in a way that makes you go, “ohhhh, okay.” 

Because of this book, it’s very hard for me to not finish a book anymore but sometimes I just have to throw in the towel anyway.

When Is The Right Time to Quit?

The bigger question comes when it is time to rate the book because should I even rate a book I have not finished?

There seems to be two camps of thought on this – some say, yes, you rate the book, it didn’t hold your attention, you rate it as such. Other people say you can’t rate what you haven’t read. I feel like there’s an argument to be made for both…to a point. I have tried to work out a system that works for me, that also seems fair in a way that doesn’t ding the author on social media either.

Sometimes I Just Don’t Rate a book

I feel like if I’ve read 50% of the book, then I will rate and review it as well as count it as read. Here’s the thing, I’ve committed time and energy into reading this book so I am sure in the heck counting it as read. I will also review it along with the caveat of how far I read before quitting. IF I have not finished a book, I will only rate it if I give a few minutes to write a review explaining that I have not finished the book and WHY I didn’t finish.

If it’s under 50% I don’t count the book as read and I won’t give a review or rating either. Two books come to mind highlighting each of the above-mentioned points.

The Invisible Hour by Alice Hoffman is a book I did not finish but I did read over half of it before calling it quits. I rated it and reviewed it because I felt like there was a very definitive reason why I didn’t finish and why I ended up not liking this book.

Another book, and this will be a very unpopular opinion, Beach Read by Emily Henry is a book I put down after 11 pages. How in the world can I make a decision in the first eleven pages? Easy. The main character grated my every nerve and I found some reviews and someone else had the same issue and asked if it was worth continuing. Someone responded that if you didn’t like her now, she doesn’t really change throughout the book. 

cover of Beach Read By Emily Henry

That was enough for me to put it down and pass it on to someone who would appreciate it more than me. But, it’s not a book I counted as read nor is it a book I reviewed. It’s just one I donated to someone else and moved on with my reading life. This has nothing to do with the book, but with me as a reader and my personal taste in characters I do and don’t want to read.

Maybe It’s Just Not The Right Time

There are other books that I have started and decided that it wasn’t the right time. I don’t always consider myself a mood reader, but sometimes my mood does play a part in what I read. If I’ve read a lot of one genre, I’ll realize at some point that I’m burnt out and I need to put the book up until later. There’s no reason to force myself to read something I don’t want to read at the moment. I’m no longer in school! So, it’s okay to realize now is not the time, but maybe later. There are times I’ve gone back to a book and thoroughly enjoyed it!

Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz

Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz was a book I read almost all of and didn’t like it. A couple of years later, I tried again and loved it. I love these action books, so I was surprised how much I didn’t like it. But, I should’ve stopped early on when I wasn’t feeling it…I was burnt out of the genre and just needed a break.

It’s Okay to Not Finish a Book

At the end of the day, reading is supposed to be fun, to be relaxing, and a way to decompress. If you don’t like the book, put it down and try something. There are so many books and so many genres, it’s okay if we don’t like the same books, but hopefully we can still chat about books!

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