Guilty Complex: Do You Have This One?

booksHow many of you out there in the blogosphere can identify with having a difficult time leaving  a book unread?   Raise your hand.   I see you!!!  And I understand.  I totally get it.

A recent trip to the library netted me about 8 books.  I read 4 of them.  I returned the others without reading them.  I started all 4 of them.  They did not pull me in . They did not scream at me “Stay up all night to finish me!”   They simply did not have the hook that kept me reading.

I usually give a book a fair chance.  I really do.  I like a lot of different kinds of writing and don’t limit myself to a certain genre.  Of course I go in spells and read all of one author when I find one I like.  Case in point Jess Lourey who writes a Murder by Month series. Check out her website here for more information. Once I found her I read the entire series as fast as I could.  Now I am waiting on January Thaw to come out.  Come on, Jess, make it happen faster!

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal addressed this very issue of feeling guilty by not finishing a book.  Seems that I am not alone.  Take a look at the article by clicking on this link here to open the article in a new window.  I think the author, Heidi Mitchell, did a great job of outlining some of the same thoughts that I have.

I come from a family of readers and have started to keep track of my read books recently.  To see what I have read so far this year you can click on that little Books tab at the top of page.  As you can see I have a lot of variety in my selections.

So when I decide to not finish a book I feel a twinge of guilt.  I kind of feel as if I am cheating that author.  But then I think again and realize that the very book that does not speak to me speaks to someone else and I am okay with that.  How about you?  Do you finish every single book you pick up or are you like me and willing to let one of those books go by the wayside?



  1. I am usually quite good at persevering and finishing a book even if I am struggling with it. But sometimes, life is just too short – if it really does feel like a chore then it probably isn’t worth it. I recently gave up on Cloud Atlas and I’m glad I did as it doesn’t look like I missed out on much!

    • Great to know that sometimes you give up also!!! I hate to do it but sometimes it just seems like the book is beyond me or just is not something that I want to read any more so I admit defeat! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!!!

  2. Yes, it is hard when this happens. Reviewing so many books, it does happen, too. I do have favourite authors who never disappoint! I also am not a fan of certain books, series, or authors that are popular. That is the wonderful thing about books; there is something for everyone!

    • You are so right! There is something for everyone and even if someone recommends one it does not mean that it will be one that you enjoy! God created us all different—isn’t it great?

  3. I’ll finish a book even though it doesn’t interest me. I really need to change my way of thinking. There are waaaay too many good books out there to read to waste time reading mediocre ones!

    • No you don’t need to change your way of thinking! Whatever works for you is what you need to do! i understand—-I just recently came to this revelation that I would choose to let one go!

  4. I’m with you. If the book doesn’t draw me in after a few chapters, I drop it like a hot potato. There are too many other books out there to waste my time on one that I don’t enjoy. I read a lot of murder mysteries and have read several of Jess Lourey’s mysteries, even reviewed one several years ago for Minnesota Moments magazine. Yes, she’s a Minnesota author.

    Because I reviewed books for the magazine, for years I have been reading only those authored by Minnesotans. And when I reviewed, I took notes while reading. That really slowed down the process. Now that I am no longer writing for Minnesota Moments, I can read works by any author and without concern about taking notes. It’s been fun and freeing.

    I just recently read Willa Cather’s “My Antonia.” I have not read that since college. Oh, how I love her descriptive, down-to-earth writing.

  5. I have no problem setting a book down if it does not grab my attention within the first few chapters. Case in point: hubby is HUGE Stephen King fan, and I would consider myself one too. But he will read absolutely everything King publishes — voraciously. Me? there are a few I have never even touched because I know I will not be interested, and some I have started and lost interest so never finished. Since I feel King is to blame for my fear of spiders, rabid dogs and clowns; I feel this is completely fair. LOL

  6. No guilt. At all. Which makes me open to just about any book suggestion. The last book I read I liked parts of so I just skipped everything I didn’t like and finished it.

    • Love it!!! I skip geography lessons and historical stuff in books that I don’t really care to learn about and get to the juicy parts. 🙂

  7. My hand is way up over here! I feel like I’ve abandoned a child if I don’t finish reading a book. I have a dysfunctional relationship with my books anyway.

  8. I almost never stop reading a book even if it not interesting because I think I have to give it a chance. This last one I started and it was not very interesting but by the end I could not put it down. Now, time for another book to read.

  9. Hilary - Dangled Carat says:

    I usually force myself to keep reading, especially if I bought the book. I sometimes keep telling myself it has to get better. sometimes it does, but usually I end up regretting the time I wasted – but then I do it again…

    • We all have to figure out what works. I know I hate to give up on one too but there are times when I have chosen badly!!! And then I just toss in the towel and say it is time to give up.

  10. I’m even worse than Minnesota Prairie Roots: I give up on a book if the first few pages don’t interest me. Call me impatient, but some authors’ writing style just don’t appeal to me. Also, I don’t like reading profanity…it hurts my eyes! Anyway, maybe you would like to pop over to my blog for a visit at No guarantees that you’ll like my writing style, but the old pictures are a hoot! 🙂

    • That made me laugh—I just skip over the bad parts (and words) too! I am popping over to see what you have going on on your blog! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment!!! Great to meet you!

  11. Ugh! This is why I have a stack of 7 books currently in progress and 30+ more on my shelf. I have to be “in the mood” for certain (translation= educational) books. Very few do I not finish eventually. Like the Life of Pi. Started it three different times. Never finished. And How Starbucks Saved My Life. Couldn’t get into it. I always think “it’s going to get better!” But recently I decided to (try to) not feel guilty. I have precious little time to read, I should enjoy every word!

  12. This is so timely for me Beth Ann! I am currently reading a book by an author I have loved in the past – & I am not loving this book at all. I am about 75 pages in & I’m forcing myself to keep going. The only good thing I can say is it’s so boring I am getting a little bit of sleep from reading it!


  1. […] eclectic taste when it comes to what I read and I am game to give just about any book a go but as I wrote about before here I am not adverse to setting one aside if it does not thrill me.  Life is way too short to waste […]

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