Today, I finished a book.
I was only on chapter three.
It was fiction; a dark romance sort of thing. It wasn't a bad story, and it wasn't badly written... but I wasn't enjoying it. The pace was wrong for me, the character's motivations were unrelatable... and so I closed it. I moved it to my 'blah' folder, to maybe try again in another season of my life, or not. I moved on to the next book on my list... a book I devoured like oxygen. A book that made me itch for those moments when I can sneak in a paragraph or two between real life stuff.
It. Felt. Awesome.
See, I’ve always had a problem when it comes to reading… I can’t leave a book unfinished. Even if the first paragraph is terrible, I just don't feel right putting it down and marking it off as a big ol' nope, not for me. That doesn't mean I spend a long night speed-reading to get it over with so I can move on to something better. Instead, I avoid reading. And it sucks.
I'll catch a moment and sit down with my Kindle, then remember that awful story I'm working on. Then I'll remember I should probably bake some muffins for tomorrow, or maybe clean a toilet.
Time after time I've gone through this routine, forcing my way through a book, sacrificing precious moments just to feel like I gave the author a good try. And this doesn't just apply to 'bad' novels. I'm a huge Michael Crichton fan, but forcing myself to read 'Airframe' was painful... and to be honest, I don't even remember the plot. It was probably a great book, it just didn't resonate with me at the time, and forcing it through my eyeballs didn't exactly leave me with warm and fuzzy feelings about it.
It's like kids and veggies... but that's another story.
So, I'm done. I'm done being a guilty reader. I'm done feeling like somehow the author, who worked damn hard creating their story, will somehow be mortally offended that I didn't finish their book. Time is precious. Reading time is precious. Even if I could read every second of every day, I would never get through my to-be-read list.
I'm giving myself permission to close books. Page one, or page one-hundred. The moment I stop enjoying the story, or the moment I stop feeling the joy of absorbing the knowledge, I'm done.
It feels great!
What a relief to know that from now on, every moment I spend reading will be as enjoyable as it should be :)
Are you a guilty reader? Why? Consider this a challenge... the next time you feel 'blah' about a book... close it! Don't leave the author a bad review. To be fair, you didn't actually read the book... just close it, walk away, and move on to your next reading adventure!
Let me know how it felt in the comments, or connect with me via email or social media!