On Not Finishing Books

As part of keeping track of books I read, I’ve also started keeping track of books I don’t finish. When I was younger, I used to try to slog through any book I started, but nowadays, I occasionally give up on a book. According to my list, which I’m pretty sure is an underestimate, I started six books that I didn’t finish in 2016. I’ve already given up on one book in 2017.

Sometimes, I just don’t like a book and I give up, guilt-free, after a few chapters. But more often than not, I just don’t click with a book. Objectively, I know a book is pretty good, but for whatever reason, I’m just not feeling it at that moment, so I stop reading. It’s along the lines of “It’s not you, it’s me.”

Occasionally, it’s the timing that isn’t right. I decide I want to read a book, so I put it on hold at the library. Sometimes, the book is available within a week or two, but sometimes, it’s a couple of months, and my interest in the book has waned. Sometimes, you’re just really feel like reading a YA fantasy dystopian zombie novel, and then two months later, not so much.

The majority of the books I abandoned last year were ebooks. I think I find it easier to abandon an ebook since I don’t have to actually look at it again. An abandoned physical book will sit on my shelves, and occasionally I’ll see it and think that I need to get back to it. I do think the physicality of reading an actual paper book is a very different experience than reading an ebook, and although I read a lot of ebooks and I enjoy the convenience, physical books are still my favorite.

 

2017 Reading Goals

Having looked back at 2016 in my last post, now it’s time to set some reading goals for 2017.

I want to go for quality over quantity. There are so many books I want to read that I often feel like I’m in a race to finish them all. I’m probably never going to finish all the books I want to read (and that list is ever expanding), so I need to accept that and just enjoy what I have time to read.

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A small fraction of my to-read list.

I would like to work on my current to-read list without adding anything new to it. I honestly don’t know if this is possible for me, because I’m always coming across more books I want to read, but I’m going to try.

I want to read more diversely. Something like the Book Riot Read Harder challenge is a great idea, although I know that I would get frustrated trying to check off that many boxes. Still, I think even trying to hit a few of these goals would encourage me to try different things than I would normally read. (I just don’t see myself reading a book about sports, but I think I may have a nonfiction book about figure skating on my shelves. It’s a sport.)

My husband and I have come up with a reading project that we can do together. He’s been reading The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and he mentioned that he’s never read any of the books the characters (Mina Harker, Captain Nemo, Hawley Griffin, Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde, and Allan Quartermain) are taken from. I’ve only read one, so we decided we would try to tackle all five books this year: Dracula, The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Invisible Man, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and King Solomon’s Mines. It should be an interesting challenge (I don’t read much nineteenth century literature these days, unless it’s Jane Austen, this so will definitely be a challenge for me). I think doing this with someone else makes it more likely that I will actually make the effort to complete this.

I want to continue my 2016 nonfiction streak. I already have several nonfiction books in my to read pile. I’m already well into one nonfiction book, Ten Years in the Tub, which is Nick Hornby’s columns about reading from the Believer. It’s fantastic and hilarious, and I’m ripping through it in no time. It also made me realize that Hornby has several book sI haven’t read yet, so they promptly went on the to-read list. Sigh.