When to put a book down

There is a certain joy in the freedom to quit a book. In stopping, you realize that your literary journey and reading intake are entirely in your control. You, yourself, are in charge of the media you consume. No report is due. An essay need not be written. A group need not require your commentary on the symbolism behind the character’s choices during the narrative rising action. The pressure is off.

Regardless, sometimes one may feel as if a book should be finished once started. Read on below for five excuses to give yourself to stop reading a title when you cannot force your own interest in it.

1. The Nancy Pearl method

Encourage yourself to keep going for 100 pages minus your age. If at that point the narrative has not grabbed you put the book down.

2. "Thank you, Next” – Ariana Grande

Maybe you realize you are taking longer than normal to read a single page. Perhaps you do not like the protagonist. A plot detail seems far-fetched. You roll your eyes or rebuff the book with a frustrated huff. Everyone experiences book reading differently. If you find yourself not able to continue a book for one reason or another go ahead and stop.

3. “What was that?” - Me

I continue to turn the pages only to realize I have no idea what has happened in this chapter. My imagination is making dinner. I attempt to re-read the chapter. The characters feel bland, the plot uninteresting, and suddenly I am in my car behind the Library pushing the book into one of three silver return bins.

4. “Every person his or her book” and “every book its reader” – S. R. Ranganathan

The person or organization or entity that recommended a book to you was hoping you would enjoy it, engage with it, feel enrichment from it, and be entertained by it, at least for a little while. They likely did not want you to dwindle precious time away when that time could be spent on something that could make you happier or could otherwise be more useful.

5. “So many books, so little time” – Frank Zappa

Books come out of publishing houses into our cultural landscape at a breakneck pace. There are authors who write a book a year or more. Classes of debut authors are interviewed by publishing news outlets every season. Follow your favorite celebrity book club on Instagram, check out Digital Library of Illinois, or take a scroll through Bookmarks to find opinions on the newest hottest titles. There is always something else out there, new, and popular, or waiting for discovery.