I think one of the hardest things to navigate as a reader is the concept of abandoning books. I’m pretty sure this applies to a lot of fellow readers, but there is nothing more heartbreaking than being really excited about a book and realizing you can’t make yourself finish it.
It took me many years to realize that it is okay to abandon books. Particularly nowadays, with my hectic schedule, there is no way I can “waste” my time on books I don’t click with. However, I have to say that it never gets easier and it breaks my heart every time.
My list of abandoned books isn’t necessarily long but there are some popular books that have made their way onto the list. I think sometimes I was reading these books at the wrong period in my life and/or needed to consume them in different ways, i.e. an audiobook. For example, I tried so hard to read “Guns, Germs, and Steel” but could never manage it. Then decided to get the book as an audiobook, and although it took me forever to finish, I managed it and am so glad I did.
There are of course the books that just were never meant to be finished. On my list of books I will never finish is “The Orphan Master’s Son”. I was so excited for this book, considering the setting is in North Korea and the topic is so atypical. For whatever reason, I did not find myself enjoying the book. I really tried to stick it out, but the characters were not speaking to me and the plot line was confusing to me. I hope others had a better time with this book!
Another one of these books I will never finish is “Anathem”. I love science fiction and given the reputation of this book, I really thought I was going to enjoy it. I read a bit of it, and the beginning was not drawing me in. It felt painful to read it, I hate to say it. Again, the plot line and the characters were not garnering my attention, I felt like the setup for the rest of the story was taking too long. I hope that potentially if I give this book another try it might stick, but I will leave it be for a long while before attempting this.
Those are just two examples of books I have had to abandon. I remember them almost as well as the ones I actually read, and I never get over not being able to finish them. I think, however, as readers we have to realize that not all books will appeal to us (sadly), and that we have to know when to give up and when to push through.