When to Dump a Book…

We’ve all been there. You’re reading a book that’s not grabbing you. Your mind is wandering while your eyes scan the words. Do you read or do you close? The answer for me is easy. Keep going. I never give up on a book but at the moment, I’m tempted.

A friend lent me a book, no a series, that I’m not into. While I read, I can’t help but think of the long to-be-read list on my kindle. Then there’s my own book I’m writing. Why waste time reading a book I don’t want to read?


  1. Tell friend thanks but no thanks.
  2. Google book and read synopsis in case friend wants to discuss (I admit this was a possibility)
  3. Read on.

I will read on. I just can’t give up on the writer, the person who slaved over the book, got it published and presumably loves their novel. Or maybe I’ll discover a new genre I thought wasn’t for me. Besides, I’ve had books surprise me and become great. Hopefully this happens within the first half of the book.

I know I’m probably more patient than most readers because we all hear about how important it is to grab a reader early on. I’m sure this book I’m reading must have grabbed some agent and publisher, just not me. And while I know people who will stop reading after the first chapter if they don’t like it, that sounds harsh to me.

I just know that I’d want someone who started a book of mine to give it a good chance. Hopefully they won’t be mentally making their grocery list while reading it. So I’ll plough through the book but my generosity stops on the last page. Don’t sell it to me and I won’t feel obliged to read book two. I think that’s fair.

Do you stick with a book or do you have a cut-off point where you’ll put yourself out of your misery?

7 Responses to When to Dump a Book…

  1. To be honest its always one of those things that as a reader I agonise over, firstly I worry that I’m not “getting” it but on the other side I’m thinking, why put myself out from what I feel is my “pleasure” time.

    At this point I have to say that I struggle through, its hard but if you give up you’ll never know if it picks up. By reading a synopsis however you might miss that key ingredient that makes you wonder about the pay off that has been worked on by the author.

    All in, I’m like you, I beleive that a lot of work’s gone into it and if they’re backed by a publisher I trust then I’ll keep on trucking yet those who take the E-route either on thier own or with an unknown, then thats when it starts getting harder to find the reasons to continue.

    • Interesting point with the self pub and unknown pub e-books. I too would be less willing to trust that the book will redeem itself as I go along. Thanks for the comment, Gareth.

  2. That’s a tough one, but, there have been a couple of books I never finished. I gave them a fair chance (what I consider fair), and read far enough into it that I knew it just wasn’t keeping my attention. I kept reading the words without understanding what I was reading, and that’s usually when I know. Most of the time I’d give it a second chance just to be sure it wasn’t just me, overtired or stressed. If it doesn’t grab me the second time, I pick up another book. Usually I have many books on the go at the same time, so I can always find something that I want to read.
    Good post Marianne. Enjoyed this idea for a blog. I don’t remember anyone doing a blog about this before so it’s a nice post to read. 🙂

  3. I am currently struggling with this same question. I am reading a book that while the story interests me, the author almost entirely uses narrative. I find myself skimming it to limit my agony while finding out what happens.

    I am less willing to dump a series that I have enjoyed in the past. Not only will I finish a novel that has lost my interest, but normally I give the author at least the next novel to grab it back. Giving up a beloved series is like losing a good friend.

  4. I have put down books before, but it is very very rare. I’m like you, I’ll usually read to the finish, but you have to hook me in book one to keep me reading to book too.


  5. For me, depending on where on the sliding scale of awfulness it’s ranking, I’ll stick with a book from somewhere between one third to two thirds of the way through.

    I get through a lot more than I ditch though…

  6. I’m stubborn and almost always plow through. But sometimes I resort to skimming, and at least speed-reading, as well as flipping forward hoping my interest will pick up. I’ve read books that were well-received by many others that just failed to grab me. Everyone has their own tastes I’m not sure whether time is well-spent reading something that just isn’t catching on in the right way, though.

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