Discussion: How do you feel about unfinished books?

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I’m sure every reader has been there. Felt so bored with a book that you just put it down and don’t pick it back up again. Or maybe it wasn’t what you expected and you didn’t enjoy it because it wasn’t your ‘thing’. Whatever the circumstances, I am interested about how readers feel when this situation comes round.

My first point in this discussion is that books cost a lot nowadays – like we’re talking (in Britain) on the average of £7.99 per book if you’re getting them brand new in a proper bookshop. So it’s quite substantial amount of wasted money if you don’t like the book, so before buying a book, the reader should feel pretty confident that they are going to enjoy the book.

But how can this always be the case because I know some readers are very wary about researching the book that they are about to read beforehand, for fear of their reading experience being ruined by spoilers. So how can you be 100% confident you are going to enjoy a book before you read it?

The truth is, you can’t, and I borrow a lot of my books from the Library before buying them, just in case I don’t like them and don’t finish them. This of course, saves a lot of money and I don’t feel quite so bad about not finishing them if I haven’t paid money to read them.

But is the frustration really just focussed on the fact that you paid good money for the book – or do you find that you are frustrated about other things? Such as the wasted time you spent on the book or the disappointment of the read not living up to your expectations? I find the fact that I wasted time on a book quite annoying. Obviously I use reading as a relaxation tool and it is completely for pleasure for me, so not enjoying a book is completely defeating the object for me.

So when do you decide that you are going to give up on a book? Do you give it several chapters? Personally, I usually get roughly mid-way if it’s my own book before putting it down. I like to give it the best chance possible, and if it’s really unbearable, I would probably put it down mid-way and blame it on lack of interest in the genre at that point in time – and come back to it at a later date.

How do you feel about picking up a book you started and didn’t finish and trying to read it again? I usually find that my expectations on the book are lowered, and therefore I enjoy it more, because I wasn’t expecting to enjoy as much. But I never really feel thrilled about picking up a book that I have tried to read before.

How often do you not finish a book? I am really writing this post inspired by an experience with a book that I just had, but I’m definitely going to try and reread this one again sometime. The reason why I put this one down is because I haven’t had much time to read lately, so I’ve sort of lost track of what’s going on. In a couple of weeks, I’ll probably start from the beginning again.

So what are your opinions on unfinished books? How do you feel about them? And is there ways to get round them?

I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on the topic.

Thanks for reading, everyone!

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28 thoughts on “Discussion: How do you feel about unfinished books?

  1. Helen Jones says:

    It’s rare that I don’t finish a book, but it does happen. Like you, I borrow a lot of books from the library so it’s not so bad if I don’t finish, but I do get a bit upset when it’s something I’ve paid for. I started a book recently that had loads of wonderful reviews, and I couldn’t stand it. I found it so irritating I gave up about a third of the way through – even thinking about it now is annoying ha ha. However, there are no guarantees, and I think the more we read the more we get a feel for titles we’ll enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Poppy says:

      Oh yes, it’s really annoying when a book has had a lot of hype and you feel confident that you’re going to enjoy it – but don’t. That happened recently to me, too, with Rebecca Whitney’s ‘The Liar’s Chair’, which turned out to be really disappointing. And I definitely agree with you when you say that the more that we read, the more we love the books that we are really interested in. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Helen, it’s really interesting to read your perspective. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. FictionFan says:

    I only rarely abandon books because I try to choose carefully, but it’s the time I resent rather than the money – though that’s mainly because I get so many free review copies. I’m laughing, though, because I actually get angry at the book if I feel I have to abandon it. Usually I wait a few days before reviewing a book, but when I abandon one I usually immediately comment on it on Goodreads – and my comments are so grumpy and bad-tempered when I read them again later! It’s as if I feel the book has deliberately made me not enjoy it! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Poppy says:

      Aw, I know, books make you feel so many emotions, and sometimes they really can leave you irritated if it seems that the plot is going nowhere! I bet it’s really funny reading back on your comments later on! 🙂 Thanks for sharing your opinions!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. alwaysbooking says:

    I try really hard not to DNF a book. I’m always convinced it will win me over in the end… most of the time that doesn’t happen. If it’s a new to me author I tend to buy the cheaper ebook or borrow from the library to see how I like the writing style. It’s so sad when you dedicate good time into a book you were looking forward to and it just irritates you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Poppy says:

      Yeah, it’s a good idea to buy a cheaper version if you aren’t sure you are going to enjoy it. I also think it’s a good idea to come back to the book, if you didn’t finish it, and try and reread it, because it might all just depend on your mood. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your thoughts – it’s really interesting to read other people’s perspectives on the subject.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Loreen says:

    Life is too short and there are too many books to waste time reading something you don’t enjoy. So, if by page 100 I’m not lovin’ it, I put it down and move on to the next.
    I used to try and gut it out reading everything I started like it was a requirement, but I don’t think that way anymore.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Poppy says:

      Oh, I love that philosophy! I definitely agree with everything that you say – there is no point reading something you don’t enjoy, if you are reading purely for pleasure. Thanks for sharing that. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • Poppy says:

        Oh, I know! It’s a nightmare if you’ve got to study a book you hate for an exam! I’m really lucky because I love both the books I’m studying at the moment -‘An Inspector Calls’ and ‘Pride and Prejudice’. 🙂

        Like

  5. Julie's Book Cave says:

    I recently tried to read a book three times. I wanted so much to like the book because everyone was talking about in a very positive way but I just couldn’t connect with it. I read the first few chapters over and over again but I just couldn’t make to half way. Now the author has just released their new book but I feel I don’t want to read it which is a shame because it’s probably brilliant. There are one or two that I’ve done the same with. Hopefully I might be able to read them at a later date. I do resent that I’ve wasted my time though. As Loreen said, life’s too short.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Poppy says:

      Yeah, I know it’s often really disappointing and irritating when a book doesn’t live up to your expectations – especially when it has a lot of hype. It’s also hard to admit that you don’t like a book when literally everybody else seems to love it – but I think it’s really important to remember that everyone has their own taste when it comes to reading (as with everything else in life), and not everyone can be expected to enjoy a certain book. Just read what you enjoy and don’t feel pressured to like it or read it because everyone else does! 🙂 So, which book was it that you tried to read? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Julie's Book Cave says:

        It was After Me Comes the Flood by Sarah Perry. I don’t blame the author – it was me. I just couldn’t connect and that’s quite unusual for me – I almost never give up except for the two or three times I’ve mentioned. I’m not going to give up though. I’ll go back to it at some point. It’s all subjective, as you say. I didn’t enjoy Lord of the Rings the first time but when I read it a few years later I thought it was a work of genius! I think sometimes you have to be in the right frame of mind and in the right place.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. brmaycock says:

    I actually try to force myself through it. I have a total of four books I haven’t finished,three from years and years ago and one of them only this christmas. I’m going to get back to it because it’s driving me nuts, even more so because it’s from Netgalley. I’m a chick lit-head first and foremost and it’s chick lit from one of the biggies, but the characters are really irritating, I find them immature and self absorbed and the whole premise of the book was starting to wear on me. I’ve read books before that were going downhill and then picked up, but in general if you can’t take it then life probably is too short(I’m a bit stubborn though!). Like everyone above I take my time choosing books and that’s probably what gets to me most, when the cover and blurb don’t match the writing. I live by the ‘look inside’ option and it generally keeps me on the straight and narrow, but with an arc you can’t do this and that can trip you up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Poppy says:

      It’s interesting to read about your thoughts! Everyone seems to spend time choosing books carefully, whereas I don’t really. I tend to choose books on a whim, depending on my mood at that point in time. I don’t really just stick to one genre, but of course, I’ve got my favourite genre. So maybe that’s my downfall; I don’t spend as much time choosing my books. 🙂

      Like

  7. Kate W says:

    I can count the number of books I haven’t finished on one hand – I basically always push through although at the same time I’m old enough to know that life’s too short for bad books :-/

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lauren @ Wonderless Reviews says:

    I’ve never DNF’d a book and I don’t think I’d be able to because I’m too stubborn, haha. I am extremely easily distracted though so I have put an insane amount of books “on hold” and also because I’m a mood reader so sometimes I’m just not feeling it at the time. I could be so excited to read a book, but then my brain will just go “WELL ACTUALLY” haha. It’s why I always have a ton of currently reading books on the go. I do plan on finishing the books I’ve put on hold whenever I feel in the mood for them!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Poppy says:

      Wow, really?! I don’t do it often, but I can think of three that I haven’t finished in the past year, but maybe I can class them as putting them on hold – because I do intend to go back to them…? Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Lauren! 🙂

      Like

  9. Fatima @ NoteablePad says:

    I really had to think hard for this, because I don’t think I’ve ever DNFed a book. I’ll endure even if I really hate the book, and then I won’t stop complaining about it. I always think, it might get better and I won’t know because I DNFed it haha. I’ve actually bought a lot of books that I simply lost interest in, but I make sure I don’t spend too much on books.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Poppy says:

      You’ve all clearly got a lot more patience than me, ha ha! 🙂 And yeah, I make sure I don’t spend much money on books. It’s amazing how many new books you come across for a fraction of the price in second hand shops! 🙂 Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Fatima.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Ioana @ booksreenchanted says:

    So much food for thought here, Poppy, love this post so much!

    For the books I buy, I usually luck out most of the time because I do so much vetting beforehand, so those I mostly like/finish, though once in a while there are exceptions. With ARCs, my dnf rate is much higher. In that case, I’ll read enough to be able to write even just a quick review (so that my Netgalley ratio doesn’t dip too low…).

    I don’t think I have a particular % at which I give up – with some books I can tell within a few pages that it isn’t for me, and with others, it’s only once I’ve gotten halfway through or more than I realize I have no idea what I’m reading and why I’m reading it. I guess in general I give up when I KNOW for a fact I’m wasting my time.

    Liked by 1 person

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