7 Reasons To Abandon A Book

It’s the struggle of every reader. We’ve started a book, and for whatever reason, we’re just not feeling it. But we’ve already invested time and money in the book, and it feels like we need our own permission to abandon it.

What Does It Mean To “Abandon” A Book?

You’re mid-read, and you decide to stop. Abandoning doesn’t mean skimming through the book at the bookstore, or reading the jacket at the library, and deciding it’s not for you. At the abandonment stage, you are fully committed to reading the book. You’ve consumed several chapters at least. Book abandoning isn’t swiping left on Tinder. It’s breaking up over third-date brunch.

Wait, Why Should I Abandon A Book?

Hang on, you might ask. Why abandon a book in the first place? If you’ve started something, shouldn’t you see it through? Maybe it picks up at the end. Maybe you’ll learn something by continuing, even if it’s just that you won’t choose that author or genre next time. Aren’t all books inherently worthy in some way?

And I answer: yes. You may learn something by continuing. You may even magically start liking the book (although in my experience, that rarely happens). But reading books you’re not sold on makes you read slowly. You’ll hesitate before picking it up. You’ll find yourself doing other things besides reading. And that means you’re denying yourself the pleasure of reading other books, ones that will make you happy and teach you even more. Why would you do that to your reading life?

7 Reasons You Should Abandon That Book

  • You hate the main character. Her voice grates on you, or you can’t understand his motivations. It feels uncomfortable to be viewing the world through the main character’s point of view.
  • You can’t identify with anyone in the story. You don’t hate the characters, but you’re unable to feel a connection with any of them.
  • It’s triggering a sensitive issue. It can be very difficult for some people to read about 9/11, for example. Or maybe you’re going through something that is mirrored in the plot, like a pregnancy loss or the death of a parent. It might be a good book read at the wrong time.
  • Something about the writing is taking you out of the story. The author’s word choices, or overuse of certain words, are making you cringe.
  • You’re bored. It’s just not as interesting as you’d thought it would be, or maybe you already know a lot about the subject and don’t feel that the book is adding to your knowledge.
  • You feel preached or talked down to. The author has an agenda that might not have been clear at first glance, but it’s hammering at you now. Whether you agree or disagree with the author’s stance, a lecture might not be what you’re looking for.
  • You’re super-excited about reading something else. A new book has just been released or discovered, and you just can’t wait.

I’ve only recently (within the past couple of years) started allowing myself to abandon books, but it’s a change I’m glad I made. It can be a difficult decision to stop mid-read, but if a book is keeping me from the continuous pleasure of reading, it’s worth setting aside.

Do you abandon books? Why or why not? Leave a comment with your answer!

One Response to “7 Reasons To Abandon A Book”

  1. Yes, I abandon books–and I’ve probably abandoned at least one for each one of the reasons you’ve listed. Some of them have been classics that “everyone” else likes, much to my dismay. Yet abandon them I did. There are too many absolutely delightful books out there to waste any time with ones that are annoying/boring/etc.


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