Life is too short to read bad books
Our days are short. Don’t waste your time, attention, and emotional energy on a book you don’t like.
With libraries, indie bookstores, Amazon prime, and the rise of self-published eBooks, we have never been more spoiled for choice. If a book isn’t meeting your needs, you can get the same or better content from another title. Never feel guilty for passing on a book.
The Art of Homemaking is the best example of this. I don’t want to keep picking on it after I mentioned it in Quick Lit, but this book looked like a talk-to-text jumble. It was a mess.
You shouldn’t have to fight the text to read it. An author’s basic job is to present content. If they aren’t even doing the minimum, move on.
The stories we read become a part of us. The make up the lens through which we view the world. Sometimes a tragedy can be cathartic, like having a good cry over wronged Hester Prynne or Peeta Mellark.
But the bleak nihilism popular in many modern tragedies is not cathartic. I don’t have the emotional fortitude to take it in. I pass on books that merely depress with no healing redemption.
Self-help and related nonfiction genres have increasingly gone in for clickbait titles. They promise the world. But you don’t have to slog to the end to see their promises are empty.
We can also mischaracterize a book with our own faulty assumptions, as I did with Liturgy and Personality. This is my own fault. Dietrich von Hildebrand didn’t mean to click bait me. I came at his work with a modern definition of terms (personality). I made it halfway through before admitting this wasn’t for me (right now).
I’m not going to name names here because we all have our own boundaries. Maybe you can skim past sensuality, but violence gets you down. Maybe your sensitive points are vice versa.
Honor your feelings on this. You don’t have to stretch your integrity for fear of missing out on the latest bestseller.
If it doesn’t take off in the first 10%, I’m done. Mystery and thrillers can fall into this trap. They are withholding information to create suspense. But sometimes it doesn’t. I spent 7 hours reading Pandemic recently, and it should have been 200 pages shorter. But I also should have listened to my instincts and bounced.
Not the right time
Maybe a book checks all your boxes, but it’s not the right time for you to read it. I read The Handbook for Catholic Moms while pregnant and found it pretty meh. But when I re-read it last week it was excellent! It was the same content, but only as a day-to-day mom was I finally ready to hear it.
If a book isn’t a fit for you now, it could still be beneficial later. That doesn’t mean you should slog through it. Instead, record the books you pass on and, more importantly, why.
I’ve added a printable recording sheet (specifically for tracking why you quit each book) to the subscriber resource library. Access it by signing up now.
YEs YEs YES! The most freeing feeling in the world is when I put a book down I am not enjoying and start another one! No regrets!
Love this! I recommended a book to our book club (that I had seen recommended everywhere and by book blogs I trusted), and sadly, it was awful. We all quit reading it and everyone breathed a sigh of relief. 🙂 Life’s too busy to make time for bad books.
Yikes! I’m sorry that happened to you, Mary. Book recommendation is a dangerous game. So many different tastes. Way to be brave and walk away from a book that doesn’t work for you 🙂
Yes! These days a book has to practically grab me by the shoulders and not let go to finish it, but I’m finding as I am intentionally reading more, I can get through a book that is good-but-not-quite-gripping a little more easily. I am keeping track on my “abandoned” books on GoodReads (created a separate shelf for them) and it’s helping me remember which ones to go back to and which ones not to bother with.