I have limited time. Between work and writing and school, my time to read books is not as extensive as when I could blissfully read every summer afternoon. (those were the days…) Since my reading time is so small, I don’t want to waste it reading books that I don’t like.
I DNF books all the time. (in case you don’t know, DNF stands for ‘did not finish’, I didn’t know that for the longest time and felt stupid for years. So there you go, you are allowed to feel smart again.) Well, not all the time. I do try and finish the books I pick up, especially if I bought them… However, I do not feel obligated to finish a book if I hate it.
I used to feel terrible if I didn’t finish a book. I kept a list of books I never finished in the vain hope that someday I would get back to them and actually finish them. It kinda worked, I finished a couple, but was often as unimpressed with the end as I was with the beginning.
In other words, it wasn’t worth it. So eventually I stopped worrying about it.
I still have a list of books I never finished, but that is because Goodreads doesn’t have a ‘read half of it’ button to push… Maybe someday I will get back to them, but I doubt it.
I often have a very good reason for stopping the book. If I am just bored by the book, or am in the middle of a part I don’t like, I make myself push through and finish. It might take me forever, but I finish it. I don’t want to give up on a book just because it isn’t fast paced or because a character gets in an embarrassing situation. (which, to be honest, is every character in almost every book.)
Usually I stop reading because the content is, well, shall we say R rated? I try to be very careful about what I put in my brain, so excessive language or steamy scenes turns me off of a book. Those words and scenes get stuck up in my mind, and I don’t like that. I can tolerate what would probably be about a PG-13 rating in a movie, past that I wrinkle my nose and cast the book aside.
There are plenty of amazing books out there to read without having to read that stuff. So I don’t.
At this point in my reading career I have read a loooot of books. And I have found out what I like to read about, and what I don’t really like to read about, but might if forced. I don’t like love triangles, and I am not a fan of star crossed romances. (I like happy endings okay?) I don’t like ‘the world against the characters’ trope where everyone hates the main character. So if those look very prominent in the novel, I just won’t pick it up.
Like I said, I am very picky. At this point it probably seems like I have a very narrow set of books I like to read, and will soon run out of those books. Not really. You would be amazed at how many books don’t have love triangles.
I read everything from the classics to middle grade adventures. My shelves boast of scifi, drama, and fantasy. I love high stakes adventure, but am happy to read a book set in one place the whole time. I read picture books if they look really cute.
I like books. I really really like books. Yet at this point, I agree with Hercule Poirot.
‘I am of an age where I know what I like and what I do not like. What I like, I enjoy enormously. What I dislike, I cannot abide.’
So there you go.