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Feeling guilty about not finishing a book?

April 9, 2012
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Have you ever felt guilty for starting to read a book…and not finishing it? Have you started a book, then finding it not particularly compelling or enticing, maybe it just wasn’t your thing, putting it down (just temporarily of course), and have yet to pick it back up again?

Do you feel that you have to finish every book you start, regardless of how you dread the thought of having to keep reading it? If so, it’s time to question this commitment. Life is far to short to finish reading books you are not enjoying, and certainly not long enough to read all those books that you will. So don’t waste time on a less than riveting read.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give the book a fair go. Some books can be slow to engage your interest, but given enough pages, will get you hooked.

This poses the question of how much should you read before you return this book to the library and borrow something else to read.

A well known American librarian, Nancy Pearl, has given this particular dilemma considerable thought, and created the Rule of 50, suggesting 50 pages is enough, (even less if you are over fifty years of age). If you are feeling curious about how the book ends, just read the last few pages of the story and find out!

Of course, there are always books which you have to read and finish whether you feel like it or not. In this case, try these tips to help you get through these.

*Read one chapter at a time. This way you have time to absorb what you have read and reflect upon it between chapters.
*Set a time and place to read the chapter. find somewhere quiet where you are comfortable, can concentrate, and won’t get interrupted.
*Set a goal date (you may have one anyway) to finish the book.
*Make notes. This makes you engage with the book and concentrate on what is happening. Discuss the story with others,who may also be reading this book.
* Whatever you do, don’t give up! You will feel, at the very least, relief that the book is finished.

Who knows, you may even end up considering these “required reads” some of the best books you have ever read.


One Comment leave one →
  1. April 13, 2012 3:28 pm

    If you don’t enjoy reading it… unless it is assigned for school… don’t read it. If other people are going to judge you based on the fact that you didn’t enjoy Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre or Homer’s The Odyssey, then they can get over themselves and see what it is like to read a picture book for a change. By the way, some of the best books on my shelf are picture books!

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