Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Way We Are: Do you stop reading in the middle?

Not every book is for everyone. I think we all get that. Just because someone else is in love with a book, doesn't mean that you're going to like it even enough to finish it. Sometimes......

you stop in the middle. Because why waste your time when there are so many good books out there that you really DO want to read?

Or maybe you don't.... Because who likes to leave things unfinished? Who likes to not know how it ends?

So that's my question for you-- are you willing to stop reading in the middle, or do you have to see it through to the end? Why?

photo by Tomas Fano on Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)



As for me, I'm not against stopping in the middle-- I just rarely do. Probably because I rarely pick up a book without first having heard glowing things about it from people whom I know have similar tastes in books as me. Sometimes I PAUSE in the middle... with every intention to eventually finish. (Usually because I have another book to read that's on more of a deadline. Or it's one I've been waiting for.) But I'll admit: I have at least five books at my house right now that I'm technically "in the middle of reading," that have sat there for months. BUT SOMEDAY, I WILL FINISH!

Series, though-- that's another story. I might finish the first book, then have no inkling whatsoever to read the next. My husband though, is "not a quitter!" If he starts a book, he'll stick with it until the series end. Even if that series is a dozen books long. Even if he's not in love with it. I'm not joking.

How about you?

52 comments:

Annalisa Crawford said...

I've never stopped reading a book in the middle, because if I've made it that far I'm darn well going to finish it! The books I've given up on are the ones I haven't even reached 50 pages. It doesn't happen often, and I hate doing it, but once I feel it's a chore to read it I give up.

Laura Marcella said...

I used to have to finish a book I started even if I strongly disliked it. Now, however, I stop if I don't like it. My to-read list grows and grows; it'll take me a thousand lifetimes to read all the books I want! Plus I'm a re-reader, too. So I only finish books that keep me turning those pages so I can read more and more and more great books!!

I'm open-minded about all books and give a so-so book a chance, though. At least a hundred pages in before I consider stopping. Also, it's pretty rare I have to put down a book anyway. Either I'm pretty good at picking up a book I know I'll like, or the quality of storytelling out there is really awesome!! I'm thinking it's the latter. :)

Steph Sessa said...

My TBR pile is too long for me NOT to stop in the middle. I usually give the book about 150 pages though and if I'm not grabbed by then, I'll stop reading. If it's a book that everyone loved, I might force myself to finish, just to see if I was missing anything (though usually I'm not!)

Cristina said...

I used to have to finish books. no more. though I usually know by page 50 (often way earlier) if the book is for me or not. And yes, often times I read the first book in a series, I might even love it, but then have o desire to read on, so I stop there.

JeffO said...

I will not answer the poll because it doesn't quite work. I used to read almost everything through once I started it. I am less patient now than I used to be, however. But it's not a question of stopping if I don't 'love' the book. I really have to dislike it strongly to not read it, or, if I'm disinterested, I have to have something else handy to read. The last book I started and stopped I probably got about 20 pages in. If I get to the 'middle', I'm probably going to keep going.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I stick with them...though I will start skimming whole chapters to get to the end FAST as I can.

(tell your husband I am writing a three book series. I'm sending him the first book free. LOL...just joking.)

Delia Moran said...

I used to finish no matter what (except Wuthering Heights, because ugh), but then my TBR pile grew and I got old and crotchety and I had kids. Now I can't help but stop when I don't like it. Too much to do, too little time and all that.

Iain said...

As a rule, I always see it through to the end. I hate not knowing. Having said that, I failed to get to the end of the Shady book. I have no intention of picking that up again.
I can probably count the books I have not finished on one hand.

David P. King said...

I'm in the same boat as you. I rarely stop reading a book. This was this one book that drove me nuts, but I managed to care about one of the characters, so I kept reading. I accidentally left it at a doctor's office and lost it, and I never went to a store to read the last few chapters. Oh, well. Maybe it's for the best. :)

Shallee said...

I'm EXACTLY like you. I always intend to finish books, but sometimes I just...never pick them up again. And with series' I don't always finish those either. I have to be REALLY in love with the first book.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I do stop at 50 pages if I don't get into a book. I never used to. But since my reading schedule has gotten tighter since I started blogging, I do stick to that rule. I just have way more books that I want to read than I can read as it is.

Jaime Morrow said...

Wow! It's exactly a 50/50 split right now with everyone's votes. This was a tough call for me because most the time I will finish a book even when I'm less than charmed by it, but in recent months I've actually put down a couple books for that reason. So mostly I lean more towards finishing it. I've heard of many books that don't get very good until about 100 pages in or more, so I'm reluctant to just drop it. But really? There are so many good books out there that it feels like a waste of time to stick with one that doesn't wow you.

Carrie-Anne said...

There have been a couple of books this year I didn't finish reading, for various reasons. Only one of them was I more than halfway done with, I guess I'm becoming more discriminating about what I tolerate in a book.

Donna K. Weaver said...

I can't answer either one of the because I'm in the middle. I will usually give a book a good amount and it has to be bad or have the characters doing things I just can't put up with before I'll stop. I did that with His Dark Materials. I wasn't happy with the way the adults were acting, so I went to Wiki to check the story out. Yeah. Didn't get any better from there so I stopped reading (or listening in this case).

Morgan said...

Interesting! And crazy poll results!

I totally will put a book down and never read it again if it doesn't interest me... it's got to be really something to hook me... just not enough time for me to waste if it isn't worth my time, you know? ;)

Though reading is never a waste, truth---because we're always learning. Whether it appeals to us or not. GREAT post, Peggy! :D

prerna pickett said...

i'm usually against stopping in the middle but it really depends on the book. I recently gave up on a book and felt sooo guilty, which is why i normally trudge on...but there are exceptions.

Laura Josephsen said...

I'm in the middle. I like to finish books, but occasionally, I do stop because it just doesn't hold my interest or because I can't stand it. Sometimes, I'll skim to the end to see what happens, and sometimes I'll just drop it. I barely have time to read these days, so if I'm going to read, I want something that captures my attention.

Susanne Drazic said...

Hi, Peggy! I've only had a few books that I just couldn't continue reading to the end. I do make sure that I give it a good amount of time, because not all books have a way of grabbing a person in the beginning.

Nick Wilford said...

Your husband is quite the stoic!

I've recently started putting books down too. I always give them a fighting chance in case it's a slow beginning, but if it's not picking up by halfway through, I'll leave it. I'm not as patient as I used to be. With self-publishing now, there's much more choice out there than ever before - why read something so-so when you could read something amazing! Harsh, but true.

Linda said...

I rarely get to the middle if a book is annoying me or I can't get into it. I will abandon it at any point, though, if it disappoints me in some way - I've been known to throw books across the room if I think the author has 'copped out' in some way. In some cases I'll skim-read the rest of it just to see what happens. I have to say, I hardly ever find myself reading a book I'm not enjoying beyond the first chapter or two. Great post!

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

When I decide I don't love a story, I will usually start to speed read or skim through the story. That way I can say that I finished it and gave it a chance to get better. It's hard to give up on a story, but it's also hard to keep reading when there are so many other books waiting.

S.P. Bowers said...

I used to finish NO MATTER WHAT! Now I don't have time. I'm still reluctant to put a book down and I give it more than its fair share of tries but if it's not working I put it down and grab something else.

Gabriel C. Taylor said...

As I've said before, I'm a very slow reader, so if the book I'm reading just isn't grabbing my attention, I put it down. sometimes I've gone back and finished books, but rarely.

Writer Chick said...

Interesting that Linda too is a book-thrower. Glad to know I'm not alone. Latest victim? One of Lee Child's earlier books. I love his prose, but I don't love thrillers. So I'm not reading any more of his books.

J. A. Bennett said...

Sometimes I just have to know the end even though I hate the book, but for the most part I can put it down if I'm not in love. Your husband is crazy!

Kaylee Baldwin said...

I probably only finish about 1/3 of the books I start. It may even be less than that. I don't have a lot of time and I LOVE reading, so I am hard-pressed to spend my very valuable reading time on something that I don't absolutely love. I swear my library thinks I read way more than I actually do, because I'll check out about ten books every week, start them, and only finish maybe one or two since I only keep reading if they grab me.

mare ball said...

I admit I've abandoned books that did not hold my attention, or were not well written. Just had this experience, sort of. I skimmed the first Shades of Gray book, b/c I'd read so much about it. I was so disappointed that the subject matter is so popular. I ended up agreeing with all the reviews I'd read...that it's poorly written, and disturbing. I ended up writing a post yesterday from the other side. I felt a need to counter the premise and encourage women to raise the bar. I know readers like different things, and EVERY book is a labor of love, but I just wish better things were written. Books DO influence society.

Suzanne Furness said...

I don't think I've ever stopped midway I usually like to finish a book. But as others have already said there are so many great books out there my 'to read' list keeps on growing!

Cherie Reich said...

I have stopped reading books toward the middle of the book. If I am curious how the book ends, I will skim the middle until the book gets good again, especially if it is a shorter book.

Julie said...

Like many of the comments on here, I just have too much on my reading list to persist with books that aren't captivating me. I used to force myself through them, but with time limited and reading desire high, I put them down. In fact I had to add a "couldn't finish" category to my Goodreads.

Caryn Caldwell said...

I used to finish every book I started, always, no matter what. One book took me four years, but I finished it. But then I started writing, and I not only became pickier, I had way more books in my TBR pile than I could possibly keep up with. So, yeah, I definitely abandon books. Otherwise, I may never get around to the books I *do* like.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

If I bought the book, I'll read the entire book. If I borrowed it from the library, then I give it 100 pages. If it hasn't grabbed me, it's history.

This weekend I read a book that sounded promising but I just wasn't hooked. I was reading it because I was writing about a similar concept. I ended up reading half way then skipped to the end. It was enough to tell me the concept wasn't the same after all.

Kelley Lynn said...

You know, until a few months ago, I was a 'finisher'. Series, books, etc.

But, now, I'm not. Too many books on my TBR list. Don't like the book halfway through, I'm done. Don't care for the series, no need to keep going.

Mara Rae said...

I used to be a finisher too. But lately, like other people have said, I don't. There are way too many other good books out there. Plus, reading something that is poorly written or has obnoxious characters just makes me bitter. :P

Jeigh said...

I will stop if a book isn't interesting me, but skim ahead for any kissy parts :) I know, surprising, right? But sometimes, I'll read a book I'm not really into because there will be just one part that keeps me going, like a quirky character or a good grasp on pacing. Sometimes, it's so bad that it gives me tons of good ideas for my own story and boosts my ego. And I have definitely "paused" some books and not gone back to them yet :)

Z said...

Like many, I'm more of a finisher, but sometimes I cheat and skim to finish. I have, however, put books down before and decided never to finish them. Occasionally because of boredom, but a handful of times because I didn't feel the content was something I needed in my head, if you know what I mean.

I'm not a series finisher though. Sometimes I'll stick through a book in the series which I didn't love because I'm anticipating it'll get better, but...not always. I usually give the first book the benefit of the doubt, but if midway through the second I'm dying, I just drop the series to save myself the anguish.

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

I think I am actually physically unable to stop in the middle. I always think how hard someone worked to write this, and that if it got published, someone saw value in it, so if I just stick with it a little longer, maybe it will get better! Also, I hate to quit! :)

Hart Johnson said...

I rarely COMMIT to stopping in the middle but I have dozens of books I've been seduced away from by something more appealing. Many of those, I never get back to.

Jenny S. Morris said...

Before I started writing I would read to the end. But now I have so many books that I need or want to read that if I don't like it by the middle I stop reading. I just don't have time anymore.

Rachel Morgan said...

I used to always read to the end, but these days I have such a long TBR list that I think, life's too short to finish reading a book I'm not actually enjoying!

Mark Koopmans said...

Hey,

I get a lot of my books at a knock-off, second-hand bookstore (paperbacks for $0.50 abd hardcovers for $1 :) so I have nooo problem stopping by page 25 if I'm not already hooked :)

Lauren said...

I can usually tell within a few pages if it's going to be worth finishing. If I haven't gotten into the book by then, I put it down.

On the other hand, there are certain things that I will not read, and if I find those things in the middle I will stop.

Lauren
Lauren-ritz.blogspot.com
Laurentritz.com

Livia said...

I stop in the middle sometimes because I don't like the author's voice or it isn't keeping my interest. I'm quite picky with the books I read and there's only a handful that I pureley enjoy.

Shell Flower said...

I used to finish no matter what, but no longer. Too many good books out there!

Cindy Dwyer said...

At some point after grad school it suddenly dawned on me that if I'm reading for pleasure, but it's not pleasurable, I'm not obligated to continue.

I used to push through more often than not, simply hoping the book would improve. But with two kids, a house, a full-time job and writing on the side, my reading time has taken a serious hit, so if I'm not engaged, I'm done.

Anne said...

I've never stopped in the middle even if I don't like it because I still would like to know how things ended. Lately though, I've notice I left two books unfinished simply because i didn't feel like it. Not knowing the end, for once, didn't seem to matter.

Love your blog! Thanks for visiting mine and for the follow. Following you back!

Laura Pauling said...

I'm late to the party, but yes, I'm very willing to stop in the middle especially if it's not keeping my attention or sagging in the middle. Of course, if I paid for the book, I'm more willing to read through. But if it's a library or free book, I'll stop when I lose interest. There are too many books I want to read by my bed and on my Kindle not to put books down!

Bea Sempere (Denise Baer) said...

Years ago, I would read a book until the end whether I liked it or not. I felt I owed it to the author and myself. Then I read one 900 plus book and threw it across the room at the end. It cured me of it, along with writing.

Nowadays, I have no problem leaving a book before the end. Life is too short to trudge through a book I don't like.

There are several classic books I can't seem to finish either. My patience has withered over the years. I also think I've gotten pickier over the years regarding the editing and writing. It's not about a great story with me.

Elana Johnson said...

I give a book 100 pages to hook me, reel me in, and make me keep turning pages. If it can't do that, I flip to the last 2 chapters and read those. I can fill everything else in, and then I move on. Sad, but true.

Nicole said...

I rarely stop in the middle of a book, but if it's really not working for me, I will. I think I've only done it about three times over the years.

Jennifer Lane said...

I love cookies! And I stop in the middle if I must. Too many good books out there calling my name. Thanks for commenting on my blog, and I'm a new follower. Good luck for your release in 2013!

Kristine Nielson said...

I am pretty much the same. It takes quite a bit for a book to annoy me to the point I won't finish it (characters I'd rather see die horrible deaths than read another word about, for example), though if I put it down in the middle it may stay unfinished for months.

Series I have no problems stopping in the middle.