magnolias abandoning books

Abandoning Books

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies.”

George R.R. Martin

For the Easter Holidays, I`ve fetched five books from the library. I love going to Custom House Library and picking a generous amount of books. So many stories in my bag – it`s a beautiful feeling. I don`t expect to read them all – most of them will return unread. The good thing about libraries is that you can just not read a book without feeling like you should read it. Because they didn`t cost you anything.

Abandoning books - do you do it?

It`s a different story though when you start a book and spend a few hours on it and you just don`t seem to really like it. It costs you some hours of your time already – will you push through or just abandon it? What about you, what do you do in these situations? While I don`t like the idea of having wasted time on a book and not finishing it, I thought: it would be even worse to waste more time on this book by forcing myself to finish it. So I eventually skipped to the last few pages at the end, read those – and was really glad that I didn`t bother reading all the stuff in the middle. What makes a good book for you? And what are your no-gos in a book?

"The Good" and "the Bad"

What I like most in a book is when I love the writing style. Some books lack a great story but they are written so beautifully you just want to savour them like the most delicious ice cream. And some have a great story and the writing style is just ordinary and that`s fine, too. But what I truly hate in a book is if the author makes people in the book “good” or “bad”. That`s so one-dimensional and not life. No one is just good or just bad, every person has both. And who is to say what`s “good” or “bad” anyway?

The main characters

Another thing that makes me not like a book is if I don`t like one of the main characters. I`ve had that a few times in books actually, and when you don`t like one of the main characters it makes it really hard and unenjoyable to read a book. (In this case, the main character didn`t talk to his brother anymore because he killed two kids by drunk driving and the author made out as if it`s completely ok to not talk to your brother anymore while he`s in the hospital facing a prison sentence and hating himself as it is, “because he deserves it”. In the end, the brother in hospital dies by suicide and while the main character was super-sad about it, I didn`t find one sentence of regret saying that he felt sorry for not having been any friendlier to his brother. The story wasn`t even so much about the brothers but about a girl in a coma whom the self-righteous brother fell in love with – very unlikely in itself).

garden details abandoning books

Let go

In this way books are a bit like some aspects of our lives: Sometimes it would be better to abandon some things, situations, or even people, but can we let go of the time we already invested in vain? I had this situation often in my life. I started something with an idea in my mind, then noticed that it didn`t work out the way I thought and it failed its purpose – but I just couldn`t abandon it anyway. For example, when I was enrolled in university for a law degree for YEARS thinking “I`ve started it and invested months of effort in it so I should try to finish it”  – when I just should have let it go knowing that this is so not for me. Only to quit after 4 years of being enrolled. In hindsight that`s easy to say, but was it so crystal-clear to me then? Probably not. 

Anyway, putting down books when I don`t enjoy them is good practice for me. Because in my case the purpose of books is enjoyment, nothing else. So why would I want to keep on reading if the book doesn`t fulfill its purpose? Better to have wasted a little time than wasting a lot. When I can learn this principle on something so irrelevant than a book I might find it easier with more important decisions in life.

Read more: London on Film

2 thoughts on “Abandoning Books”

  1. Love your thoughts on books- very refreshing! I also don’t persevere with books anymore that I don’t enjoy. Andrea x

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