I saw a poll on Goodreads last week that asked whether or not anyone puts down a book without finishing it, and if so, how long does it take? A later poll asked readers what drives them to put down a book.
I’m a reader who has no problem putting down books that I am not enjoying. I truly do not see the point in going on if I am forcing myself to drag my eyes across the pages. Some readers are able to do this, and while I honestly see this as a form of torture, I do respect their choice. Because they can do what I surely cannot!
I usually put down books about one-third the way through. I’ve gone further for some, but not all. Usually one-third is the point where I know if I can take the story anymore or not.
My reasons for not finishing books vary. I once set aside The Tsarina’s Daughter by Carolly Erickson because I was so upset by all the historical inaccuracies in it. I know historical fiction novels take liberty with actual events and people, and I can tolerate some of that despite my inner history nerd coming out often. But with Erickson’s book, I felt there were so many inaccuracies that it was painful. The Russian Revolution is one of my favorite eras in history, and I’ve read a lot about Tsar Nicholas II and his family. What I was reading was nothing remotely similar to what I read in history books, so I became upset. It was too much for me.
I refused to finish Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder halfway through because of the sudden change in the storyline. It came out of left field for me and my mind was so boggled that I couldn’t finish. I also was beginning to get bored with the novel.
Other times, I was either bored with the story or couldn’t get attached to any of the characters. So once I read about one-third of those books, I knew I couldn’t go further, so down those books went.
I am still amazed by how some readers do complete books they are not enjoying. I guess the will to finish each book and see how it ends is the drive. If so, I give readers like that a lot of credit because they have more willpower and patience than me!
Am I right? If you are the kind of reader to finish each book you read despite not enjoying it, is it the will to see how it ends the drive for you? If I’m wrong, please tell me! And if you put aside books like I do, I’d like to know what drives you too.