Do You Quit or Slog Through ’til the End?

Do some books make you want to toss 'em in the burn pile so you never have to see 'em again? (Source: "Book burning" by Patrick Correia , via WikiCommons)

Sometimes a book is such a bad match for your tastes, you’d like to chuck it in the fire. But, do you finish it first, or just quit it. (Source: “Book burning” by Patrick Correia , via WikiCommons)

This is a short post, but one meant to satisfy my own curiosity about my friends out there who read. Just wondering if you’re the type that quits a book you don’t enjoy or tries to slog through ’til the end.

I used to be a slog-through-to-the-end type. I figured if they invested the time writing it and I thought it was interesting to pick up, I ought to finish it. Like that dude from Brokeback Mountain, I was a “I wish I knew how to quit you,” kinda gal. But nowadays, I’m the “life is too short” type. I’m not sure if it’s just that I’m getting older, or because I always feel short of time to accomplish my daily goals, but either way, I’ve made the decision that if it isn’t working, I’m not going to continue.

I don’t give up after a few pages, but if I’m 60 or so pages in and it’s awful, I’m done. In the immortal words of Sweet Brown, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”  Interestingly, it took me well into adulthood to come to that conclusion.

However, my daughter, 7, has come to that conclusion already. She was reading the Divergent series, and loved books one and two. She got to book three in the series and quit. Seriously, just quit after about 50 pages. I was like, “Don’t you want to know how it ends?” She shook her head. “Not if it’s like the beginning of the book.” She seriously had no interest. I even offered to read her the book at bedtime, to which she said, “No, no, no.” She was done. (While I generally will give up a book I don’t like, I must admit, I wouldn’t quit the final book of a series I’d otherwise liked. I have to know how it ends.) She  decided that it wasn’t her thing, and she’d rather spend her time reading other books or doing something else.

But again, that leads me back to my question:

(P.S. I rarely get to use ride or die chick, so thanks for letting me use it in the poll)

About RJ Crayton

RJ Crayton is a former journalist who now writes fiction. She's reported for the Kansas City Star and Wichita Eagle, as well as the smaller publications Education Technology News and Campus Crime. She has two published novels, Life First and Second Life and blogs for Indies Unlimited and the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. For exclusive content and first looks at her new work, sign up for the newsletter at http://rjcrayton.com/subscribe.
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11 Responses to Do You Quit or Slog Through ’til the End?

  1. Jeri says:

    I am a reformed slogger. I’m much better at putting down books that don’t catch my interest than I used to be, but still feel bad about it, even though I know life is too short and all that jazz 😉

    • RJ Crayton says:

      I know exactly what you’re saying. I do feel bad putting it down, as you know someone worked hard on it. But, not every book is for every person, and hanging with a book that isn’t for you makes you unduly detest the author. If you put it down early, you can say, “not for me,” and perhaps be willing to give the author a try again. But, the books I’ve slogged through, I really ended up despising the author later and just feeling ill-will because all I could think of was how much torture they put me through (when if I’d just stopped, I might not even remember I’d disliked a book of theirs if I saw their name come up again).

  2. DV Berkom says:

    Yup. Same here. I give up if I get bored (and, unfortunately or not, I’m easily bored).

    • RJ Crayton says:

      Yes, that seems to be the consensus. And, frankly, nowadays, everyone’s time is at a premium, so clearly moving on is probably the most effective use of time. That way you can enjoy a better book. 🙂

  3. Dale says:

    Hmm, it depends on so much like as you said, if it’s a series I have started and enjoyed I will always read through to the end but other books not so much. I just decided I’ll click the ‘put up the goods’ one. 🙂

  4. I was a Ride or Die Chick for many years, ever since a schoolteacher challenged me to read War and Peace! Two unreadable books later sat unfinished on my conscience for many years and I made repeated attempts to finish them because I felt bad about it. Now, nah, I’m getting older, life is getting shorter, and if I’m not hooked pretty fast I’ll give up. But that does depend, now I come to think of it, whether I have paid for the paperback or downloaded a freebie. 😉

    • RJ Crayton says:

      Seems like the consensus is to move on if it’s not working. Though, I agree with you about giving something a little more time if you’ve paid more. I also will give it more time if someone I trusted recommended it or it’s a national best seller. In those instances, I figure maybe I’m missing something and need to give it another chance.

  5. Mel Parish says:

    I think e-books have changed my attitude. I’m less likely to feel the need to slog through a book if I’ve only paid a dollar or two for it – it’s very easy to say ‘enough!’ and to find something more interesting to read.
    Recently I gave up reading the latest book in a (long) series by one of my long time favorite authors, when I sadly realized I could barely remember the thrust of the plot because it was so similar to several of the previous books that there was little to hold my attention.

    • RJ Crayton says:

      Oh, how interesting, Mel. I hadn’t really thought of price being a factor. But, it totally makes sense. If you haven’t plunked down tons of hard earned cash (or maybe you plunked down none, given the proliferation of free books), it’s easier to toss it aside than if you’ve spent $20 on a hardcover.

  6. I used to read to the end, too. No more. I’ll give it 50 pages if it’s reasonably well written to give it time to develop. But if I see multiple errors and immature prose at the outset then I’ll stop after just a few pages. I don’t have time for ‘bad’ reading that I won’t enjoy. I also will give up on books the ‘just aren’t my thing’ when I’m reading. That doesn’t happen often but some very dark stuff is too depressing.

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