Last Sunday I talked about previewing books to determine if I actually want to spend the time reading them. I’m sure that on occasion, I disregard a book that I really would have loved had I kept going. Similarly, I sometimes approve books only to discover, partway or halfway or even three-quarters-of-the-way through that the book doesn’t really work for me. If it turns out that I dislike the book, I have no trouble abandoning it. The tricky part comes when the book is good enough but not great. When is enough enough?
At the end of 2013, when I thought about my lackluster year in reading, I wrote the following in my end-of-year wrap-up:
Reading good-enough books just doesn’t cut it! I read plenty of okay books this year, books that were “good enough” to keep reading, but just didn’t make an impression on me in the end. I didn’t give them up, because there was no point of giving them up – they were good. They just weren’t great.
I went into 2014 with a specific goal: quit reading books that are “just okay” no matter how far into them I get. For the most part, I did. I gave up a lot of books that I’d spent time on, or read quite a lot of. The result? The majority of my 2014 books were great reads. I’d probably consider 2014 to be one of my best reading years since I began blogging about books in 2008. I read a lot fewer books, because of the time spent partially reading eventually-abandoned books, but the quality of my read books was a lot higher. In previous Sundays, I’ve talked about the different elements that have contributed to my reading happiness, and I know this is a big one.
Already this year, I’ve given up three books, each around the half to two-thirds mark. It can be hard giving up when you’ve invested 300 pages worth of reading time in a 500-page novel, but ultimately, I’m happier for not spending another 200 pages of my time. Instead, I’m happy to have finished three wonderful books so far this year, rather some wonderful books and some that are just okay.