shelving it

i used to finish a book, no matter what. if i started it, it meant i finished it. part of this was because i have an aversion to leaving things undone, and part of it was blind hope that somehow, along the way, the book would redeem itself, become enjoyable or be worth the effort. with this approach, i have read a number of books i wouldn’t recommend. that’s not to say they aren’t books others may enjoy, they just weren’t my cup of tea. likewise, i have spent a number of hours rather bored, trudging through the pages of a less-than-enticing novel.

well, no more. i realise now (too late to gain back those wasted hours) that there are far too many good books to read and far too little time. if a book isn’t worth the time, i’m not going to waste it. now, i do have a tendency to start a book and if it doesn’t grip me within the first few chapters, i may put it back down for a while until the right mood comes along. i will always come back to it and give it a proper chance, but if, reaching the half-way mark, the book is still a battle rather than an enjoyment, and there is nothing with the writing-style, characters or story that i find appealing, what’s the point?

i have at least 20 books on my bookshelf which i haven’t read yet, and today i went and bought 4 more. i know i will get to all of these eventually, but i also know i have to be in the right frame of mind. the book, and author’s hard work, deserves my full attention and if i’m not in the mood for that type of book/story, they won’t get it. that’s not fair to the author, or to me, as i may miss out on a really good read.

it’s taken me awhile to realise that it is ok to leave a book unfinished. it’s ok to leave some things undone. time is short and it’s important to spend what time you have on things that are worthy of it.

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