Thursday, February 5, 2015

Guilty, But Why?

Ever read half a book and not be able to finish it? The book may be well written, its characters may be interesting, and the premise may be intriguing, but for some reason you don’t have any desire to go on.

This happened to me recently, and I felt so guilty that I couldn’t move the book from my reading table back to the bookshelf. And until I moved the book, I couldn’t start another. For two or three days I struggled to pick up the book, but before I had read three pages The New Yorker would lure me away.

I can usually understand why a book didn’t hold my interest, but it’s harder to comprehend why I feel guilty about abandoning it.

Have you ever stopped reading a book in which you’ve read way beyond the opening pages? Did you find it hard to put aside?
Douglass Seaver, Author
The Fourth Rule  


John Addiego said...

I struggled with guilt over Infinite Jest, a huge and highly-acclaimed novel. I wanted to like it because people I respect loved it, and I could see flashes of brilliance, but after 160 pages (it's over 1,000 p. long) I found it painfully self-absorbed and obsessed with drugs and mental illness. I got over the guilt by reading Jane Eyre. That's good writing!

Sharon Arthur Moore said...

I was an adult before I gave myself permission to abandon a book. How sad is that? When I taught, I helped kids learn how to choose a book they should be able to enjoy and stick with. But if it didn't happen, find another! That's one reason there are so many genres and topics, right?

Joe Nowlan said...

Yup. That has happened to me as well, Doug. The author in me wonders "why doesn't this book work for me?" I usually scout out a book, its plot and genre, before starting to read it. But occasionally it ends up being not what I expected or hoped for.

Maybe sometimes it's just that the author is heading in a different direction than I had anticipated -- or gets bogged down in characters that distract me from the overall story.

Or sometime it can be because I'm having a bad brain day!