Confessions of an Addict [44]: Finishing Unfinished Books

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It’s always been a problem of mine; a sickness that I can’t seem to find a cure for. I’ve read this meme somewhere about all the things you shouldn’t waste your life on and one of those is forcing yourself to finish a book you don’t enjoy.

But I’ve always had a hard time giving up on a book. I’m scared that once I start, my finicky standards would win out and I’ll be stuck with an entire bookshelf of unfinished books. I’m not ashamed to admit that I have over 25 books with bookmarks hanging out of them. And the pressure is building.

ETERNAL OPTIMIST OF THE LITERARY KIND.

I have a whole slew of reasons why I started then stopped. Not in the least of which is out of boredom. I have no qualms giving up on a book that doesn’t hold my interest. But therein lies the crux of the problem. I am an eternal optimist when it comes to books. I like to give them a chance even if the writing is subpar or the story isn’t quite as exciting or interesting as I first thought it to be. I believe in my ability to pick a good book (some days).  I believe that once upon a time, there was a reason why I bought that book. I am a firm believer of reading the full book then giving it the review it deserves – good or bad. But I end up with a shelf-full of unfinished, bookmarked books.

HOUSE OF BOOKS

One of the things that add to this conundrum is that I live in a house full of books. As in, I have books everywhere: bedroom, living room, hallways, kitchen. Most of the time, I pick up a book whenever I find myself in any random room in my house. I start them, put them down, and voila! Another unfinished book in the pile.  And since the TBR is reproducing like rabbits, there are always new books arriving at the scene. Who could resist picking up the new, shiny thing? Sometimes, I think I have an undiagnosed attention disorder. Because I can’t focus on one thing before I move on the next.

SO WHAT DO I DO?

In the words of a certain ice princess, I need to learn to let it go. I will give these books one more try. Every night, I’m going to pick up one book from my pile. If it holds my interest, I’ll read as much of it as I can. And if not, I’m going to have to learn to let shit go. I can’t hold on to these books like they’re my lifeline, or that I owe it to the universe to finish them simply because I started them. I need to learn to stop feeling guilty over missed review deadline or hating the book that was sent to me for review. Because if it’s not there, it’s not there, you know?

AUDIBLE IS OFFICIALLY MY BFF

My new employers don’t mind it if I’m listening to a book while I’m working. So in the event that a book in my pile actually grabbed my attention, I’ll download a copy of it if my budget allows it. I’ve never been one to shy from owning duplicate copies (and editions, for that matter) of a book, so if it’ll help me curb this growing problem, hell yes, I’m downloading that sucker!

These little tips are not only for my own gain. I’ve shared it with you if you are having the same problem. Let’s hope I’ll practice what I preach and finally finish these books in my pile! Wish me luck. 😀

  • I haven’t really stopped reading a book before. I seem to always read one until it’s done.

  • I wasn’t that interested in The Imposter Queen (actually, I didn’t even know wtf it was about until a few weeks ago) but after some conversations, I do want to give it a try now. But dang for someone who I thought to not have read much SF/F, you’ve started on a lot!

  • Good luck. I will say that it is easier for me to finish “eh” books on audio that it is for me to finish “meh” books. Especially, if the narrator is good. I will also speed up the narration if it is still boring me to try to finish it.

    Melanie @ Hot Listens & Rabid Reads

  • Audiobooks have really helped me lessen my “did not finish” pile. So cool you have an employer that’s okay with letting you listen! Good luck!

  • Good luck! 😉

  • Thanks Employer for enabling Joy’s hobby/addiction!

    I’m the same way. My method is I arrange it by genre. I’m a binge reader, so when the mood strikes for romance for example, I pick up one of those books I put on hold to confirm if It’s me or the book. I don’t do audio though so one less expense for me.

    What do you do with the books you disliked or DNFd though? Do you keep it still or give it away? Trade?

  • Yup yup, I currently have two on hold since early December and trying to find the motivation to either finish or give up! Gah, I hate leaving things unfinished!

  • shootingstarsmag

    I don’t really have this problem often, but it does happen! I like that you’re going to give them a second chance and then continue reading/dump them depending on what you think. There is DEFINITELY more to life than being stuck trying to finish a book that just is not working for you. That’s awesome you can listen to books at work though! Yay!

    Lauren
    http://www.shootingstarsmag.blogspot.com

  • kindlemom1

    You know what is funny, there are two series that I had to start and stop multiple times (one was actually three times!) with the first book before I finished it and actually really liked it enough to continue on and then later fall in love with the sries as a whole. So crazy how sometimes that happens and others you just know they aren’t for you.

  • I can totally relate and admit that I probably have way more than 25 books with bookmarks left at maybe the 15th page where I just got sidetracked and left, or I just couldn’t get into the story. I too have trouble with leaving a book unfinished, even if I’m not enjoying it so I do intend on going back to those. But recently I am trying to just give it a rest because I have way too many that I need to get to and if I’m not getting into one, I’m going to start leaving it at that.

  • Yesss let it go! *cue music* If you didn’t enjoy the stories or even if you just lost interest, then move on. Read something that’ll make you happy or giddy or mad LOL. Oh and it’s so awesome your employer lets you ‘read’! I’m always sneaking peeks at my book at work hah….

  • Is that Compulsion I’m seeing there? It actually took me a while to finish reading that book and it was surprisingly good. I keep books in empty dresser drawers, so I know how you feel about books being everywhere. I don’t have a problem DNF’ing a book if it was a pain to read but if I get distracted and put a book down I usually give it a try again but at another time (like months later, probably).

  • I’m getting much better at letting go of books that I just couldn’t enjoy enough to finish, but I still hold out hope that I will one day pick up a few of my unfinished books that I put down because I wasn’t in the right frame of mind. You know, those books that were actually good but I just wasn’t in the right mood for.

  • I DNF’d my first book for an age the other day. I usually hang on until the bitter end, because I feel an obligation to read them. But I just couldn’t do it! I had a bookmark firmly lodged in a book for five years…I finally, finally removed it not that long ago 😛

    Isn’t audible amazing? I mostly listen to books at work too and it’s a great way to pass the time during the more boring tasks of the day.

  • Jazmen

    I just cannot, cannot, cannot get with audiobooks. The voices tend to have this bad actor quality that I can stand–and they ruin my imagination, yo! I just never imagine the characters to sound how they wind up sounding in these audio books. It would have to be great voicing to convince me to pick one up ever again.

    I often pick up books, finish them a year later or never at all. Sometimes it just be’s like that, ya know?

  • Nick(Nick & Nereyda’s Infinite

    I’ve always been able to easily quit a book, but I feel you, Joy. You shouldn’t be too hard on yourself. If a book isn’t holding your attention, then there’s really nothing you can do about it. I understand though that some people truly struggle with the quitting. And yes to Audible being your BFF! I appreciate it so much these days now that I have started working out again. Anyways, did you know that with some books if you already own the Kindle version of the book, the audiobook is pretty cheap? I don’t know if this would apply to you though since you mostly own physical copies.
    Good luck, Joy! 🙂

  • Aw, lol. You are too cute Joy. <3 Thank you for sahring about this. But aw, you should let these books go 🙂 All the hugs. I could never stop reading one book, though, and start a new one, lol. Only if it was awfully boring and I decided to DNF it 🙂 But if you do choose to finish them, I wish you the best of luck. <3 Hugs.

  • I can understand not giving up entirely on a book, especially when you feel it might get better if you just kept reading, gave it a chance, etc,. I don’t have a problem DNFing a book. I’m great at giving up, or a more positive spin: cutting my losses. Lol! Audiobooks are a great way to finish a book or series you wouldn’t normally. 🙂

  • Melliane

    I agree with you, I’m quite a bit like you about that, I’m always wondering if it can get better but well… not always the case

  • Quitter! Kidding. I’ve been quitting more book lately. I think it’s more me though. Once I start a book, I either want to stay in it or quit it all together, no setting it aside for months or whatever. Maybe if you keep picking up the same books when you’re in their vicinity, you’ll get it read by the end of the year. 10 minutes here, 10 minutes there. lol.

  • It’s the right way to go – cleaning out the books that just don’t hold you attention. It can be so hard to DNF but at a certain point everyone has to do it. Especially if the book isn’t working out for you. And it’s so cool that you can listen while working :3 I like the sound of this job already.