Blogging & Writing · Reading

Getting back into those books that you’ve tossed aside

At any given time I have three or four books that I’m “reading“.

… and by that I mean I have a stack of books on my bedside table that I’ve lost interest in.

I frequently lose interest in following a trip to a bookstore/friend’s house/parent’s library where some hot new book has seduced me. Oh the power of a good word-of-mouth book review! 

What’s on my bedside table? Just these three books (right now), all at varying stages of completion.

Once in a while I will find my hands empty of a good read. This is when I go through my stack of half-finished-reads, not wanting to commit to them again. I always assume that there must have been a good reason for me to toss them aside in the first place.

This must be a pretty common occurrence! Books are left aside for next to no reason whatsoever!

I must say that it does feel good to finish reading something – regardless of whether it was good or bad. So I am challenging myself, and everyone who reads this post, to pick a book back up and continuing reading it. 

Need more encouragement?

I’ve thrown some great books aside at one time or another and really regretted it after finally committing to reading them, including:

  1. Harry Potter: you’ve got to admit, there’s a pretty long build-up to a good plot in that first one. After-all, eleven-year-olds aren’t known for their great attention spans!
  2. The Golden Compass: in fairness, I didn’t particularly care for this series even after finishing the first book. But the movie was kind of cool, so I will consider it a semi-win.
  3. The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: another semi-interesting book that I honestly could have survived without reading. But I feel better for having finished it.
  4. Outliers: This book had some pretty good stories, it was just hard to take in all at once.

On the other hand, there are some books that I’m convinced I’ll never finish:

  1. The Foundation: No matter how many times I start this book (and I’ve had at least 3 copies thrust into my hands), I doubt I will ever get through the dialogue-rich, overly-complicated story-line. I’m sorry Azmiov – at least you wrote about a thousand other things for me to read instead!
  2. Blink: So I finished Outliers and that was enough of Mr. Gladwell’s abrupt writing style for me. I’m not saying that the content of the book isn’t interesting (it is), I’m just saying that I can’t see myself committing to finishing it. Ever.
  3. The Secret: When I watched the movie it made sense for random gurus/scientists/business-people to pop in to have their say. In print, it makes for a pretty obnoxious read. PLEASE stop speaking all at once!
  4. Anything else written by Douglas Adams: I can’t figure out why people find these so entertaining when the humour is as dry as an anti-perspirant. I get it, it’s British. I’m not.

But no matter how amazing or terrible a book was to read, there is always something that we can take away from each thing that we read. So let’s pick up those rejected books and learn something new!



3 thoughts on “Getting back into those books that you’ve tossed aside

  1. My eternally unfinished book is “Paradise Lost.” I read the first chapter or two, which was all about Satan, and I was digging it. (“The mind is its own place, and in itself, can make heaven of Hell, and a hell of Heaven.”) Then I moved into the heaven scene and lost all interest and put it away. I tried a couple of years later to re-read it and the same thing happened. It was only later that I read an English critic who said everyone finds Satan interesting and Jesus boring beyond endurance.

    I’m trying not to let my half-read pile get too deep, though. I’m working on 1) speed-reading non-fiction, and 2) giving myself permission to read chapters of non-fiction out of order. On more than one occasion I’ve found the wind-up to a book dreadfully boring, and it’s only the promise of good stuff later that keeps me slogging through. But it’s okay to skip right to the interesting parts (and the boring stuff may become more interesting AFTER the good nuggets have been digested). It’s not like I’m ever going to be tested on the entire contents of a book.

    Fiction, though…. Generally, if a book’s not interesting enough to finish, it needs to go into the sale pile.

    1. Strangely enough, I rarely think to read non-fiction books out of order. Especially when they’re in paperback format! I think I will keep this in mind the next time the going gets tough! Thanks for the idea :)

  2. Interesting post. I’ve actually never had a book I started that I won’t finish. There are some that I like more than others, and some that take a lot longer, but I do eventually finish them! I’m pretty ADD though, I also have like 3 books going on at once. I usually have one music related, one other non-fiction/inspirational and a random fiction book.

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