Through shear determination, I used to try my best to finish books that weren’t very good merely because I had started them. Despite the bland or stupid characters or the inane plot points that made me roll my eyes in annoyance, I hoped things would improve because I had started off so optimistic; the book had a good cover, it received positive reviews and the synopsis sounded intriguing, so I wanted to like it. And 50 pages in, I was still waiting for the book to get good. By the middle of the book I realized this book wasn’t going to get good. And by the end of the book I wondered, “Why did I just waste my time reading this stupid book?”
So now I believe in giving up. Reading for fun is supposed to be fun; it’s not supposed to be a chore to read. If a book doesn’t capture me in by page 50 (okay, sometimes it’s closer to 10), then I’ll put it down and start a new book, because I don’t really want to waste my time with a story that I’ll inevitably give “The Sigh of Disappointment” to. (You know the sigh. Everyone has one. It’s that long drawn-out exhale sigh dripping with disappointment and perhaps laced with a dose of irritation or resignation. I use it often when I’m unimpressed with something—and a bad book brings it out…a lot.)
Gone are the days where I plow through a bad book in the hopes that it somehow gets better—because it doesn’t. It’s just an exercise in torturing yourself, and then all I’m left with is the bitter aftertaste of successfully finishing something that wasn’t worth finishing to begin with. There are so many other books out there. Better books. As soon as I realize a book isn’t for me, I have no qualms about giving it up. The sooner I can get rid of it the better, so I can replace it with (hopefully) a better book.