The Force of Inertia

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I finished reading a book by sheer inertia.

I started the book, didn’t like it much but felt guilty about putting it down half-way through. So I tortured myself into finishing it.

A well-meaning friend gave it to me. It was very sweet of her: I was sick at home with bronchitis, she came to visit and  brought me oranges, a special  tea and a book.

Because of the kindness of her gesture I also felt like I just have to read this book. She hasn’t read it herself, but thought I might like it. The reviews on the back cover were very good, so I thought I’ll give it a try. (When will I learn that no publisher in their right mind will ever have bad reviews on the back cover?)

I don’t know the exact moment I realised I don’t necessarily enjoy the book and not particularly learning anything from it, either. I did realise this, however. But it didn’t stop me from continuing to read it. And complaining about it, too.

A friend tweeted: I usually stop reading a book if I don’t find it useful. Makes sense, right?

Another friend has shared a very useful rule: to read as many pages of a book as your age and if you’re not impressed, there’s no point in carrying on. There are way too many good books out there for us to waste time on books we don’t like, she said. I’m 24 which makes me wonder if I’m perhaps too young to be applying this rule. I foolishly neglected her advice.

The lesson I obviously need to learn is this:

IT IS OKAY TO STOP READING A BOOK IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT.

One day I will learn this. One day I will.

For now, I decided that a book that wasn’t worth reading isn’t worth a review, either. So I’ll leave it at that.

Do you have the same problem? Have you read books you didn’t like and then regretted it? What about the opposite: has a book you didn’t like at first surprised you as you read on?

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4 thoughts on “The Force of Inertia

  1. i do this all the time and such I have more time to read books I actually enjoy.
    But there is always a but: sometimes you just need to have special mooda or periods of life to enjoy a book. Not all can enjoy chocolate covered bacon 🙂

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    1. haha – yes, I guess you’re right. I’m no big fan of chocolate covered bacon 🙂 Thank God for pure delicious chocolate, though 🙂

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  2. I think this is great advise! I often start books, and think “Why am I reading this again?” It’s hard to sift through and determine the value of a book. Often, I’ll stick with it, because I feel guilty about putting it down – I’ve heard it was great from so many people that I would feel bad putting it down. Even if it isn’t helping me at all. Sometimes I’ll read a book, and think, “Only a few more pages, then I can be finished”, and I think that’s really sad. Time is too short to be wasted on books that are not applicable, or uninteresting.
    Have you ever felt like “I know this author is teaching something good, but the writing is so poor, I can hardly stand it” so it is torture to get through? I found this to be the case, in many books and I’ve put them down, because I couldn’t take it any more, or worse, been guilt-tripped into wasting many hours, because I knew that someone would be inquiring about it. I like the “read as many pages as your age” rule and will definitely be employing that in the future!

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    1. Beth,

      I can very much relate to what you’re saying: feeling bad about not liking a book that a lot of people have recommended, not being able to appreciate the message because of poor writing, finishing a book so I won’t feel bad when someone asks me about it. Good to know I’m not the only one!

      But then, even the fact that I stumble upon books I don’t enjoy makes me even more grateful for the fact that there are still so many excellent books that I’ve read and will read in the future. Reminds me not to take them for granted!

      hug from this side of Bookwormia, friend.

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