Sunday Coffee – When Enough is Enough

IMG_9163Last 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.

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About Amanda

Writing. Family. Books. Crochet. Fitness. Fashion. Fun. Not necessarily in that order. Note: agender (she/her).
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10 Responses to Sunday Coffee – When Enough is Enough

  1. Heather says:

    I love this post and need to get better about this myself. I also don’t like to waste time on books that are just okay but it can be hard when, like you said, I’ve invested time into reading half or even more than half of the book. I would really like to work on it this year.

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  2. Trish says:

    I admire people’s ability to abandon books when more than halfway through. I usually power through–though I do find it much easier to abandon books on audio, even when I’m quite far into the book. Thankfully I’m 4/4 so far this year! Though my current read is a bit of a slog… (Sister Carrie)

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  3. Good for you! I am getting better at letting go of so so reads. There are tons of books i want to read and life is too short for mediocre books 😉 I think I have given up on two audio so far this year and two books (one just last night!)

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  4. Trisha says:

    I am so much better at this now. I used to finish every single book I started no matter what. Atonement is the first book I remember putting down; I was about 2 or 3 chapters in and I just did not like it. After having children, it has become much easier to put books down because my reading time is so precious.

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    • Amanda says:

      I used to be exactly the same way. I remember powering through a book I just hated back in early 2006, complaining about it the whole time, and Jason wondering why I didn’t just give it up. It took me a few years to get to a point where was comfortable with abandonings.

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  5. Shaina says:

    I certainly fall into that trap of realizing 50-60% of the way through that I’m not into it, but powering through the book anyway just to “check it off.” I need to get better at just dropping ones I’m not into, particularly if it’s a library book. I didn’t even spend money on it—why make myself endure it?!

    I like your mentality of choosing to spend those last couple hours on a book you’ll actually love, rather than finishing up the lackluster. I’ll try to remember this in my own reading, though I think this may be especially tough when it comes to the classics. 🙂

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    • Amanda says:

      I will often power through with classics, because even if I don’t like them, there’s usually something worth getting out of it. I’ve found that sometimes studying them even when you don’t like them can be interesting (sometimes more interesting than the book itself, heh). But others? Nah. No thanks.

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