- Dan Crook
Head of Library and Information Services

I was talking books with a friend the other day; an avid reader, she had been looking for some light reads in new genre for the holidays, and so had sought out the wisdom of the internet. After watching a few BookToks (Tiktok book recommendations) she’d settled on some titles and begun to read. However after investing a good amount of her time and getting half way through the first and most highly recommended book, she asked herself, and then me “Is it OK to not finish this book?” she was feeling guilty, she’d put in a lot of time; she wasn’t enjoying it even though it seemed everyone else loved it, she didn’t like the characters or the writing and it was really slow. So, “Is it OK to Stop?”

The short answer is Yes, of course it is, and that’s OK.

The slightly longer answer is Yes, of course it is, there are a huge number of amazing books, and time is short, so it’s OK. However, before you do, here are some things to consider and questions to ask yourself if you are thinking of stopping your current book.

Am I enjoying this?

Reading is not supposed to feel like homework (unless of course it is a set homework text…), when I’m reading a book that I’m enjoying, I’ll think about it in my spare time, I’ll grab it when I have the opportunity, I want to find out what happens next; in short, I am invested and enjoying the journey.

If that is not the case, it might be time to look elsewhere.

Is this the right time for this Book?

Sometimes it is simply not the right time for a particular book; this could be due to a number of factors. The book might be too long for the amount of time you have; the tone may not be right for what you currently need in your life, a thriller may not be the best choice if you are feeling anxious, for example. Remember, just because you may stop a book now, doesn’t mean it is forever, books are not ephemeral beings that disappear by the coming dawn; when the time is right, you may give it another go.

Does this Author speak to me?

It took me a little over a page to work out that I didn’t like the way Chuck Wendig writes, and that is a shame since he was writing Star Wars books when I encountered him as an author; and I love Star Wars, I want to find more stories, I am invested; but I just couldn’t bear his writing style, his tone, his descriptions; reading every word was painful, I put the book down and moved on. Others have loved his books, and the publishers obviously liked it, so it is subjective, but that doesn’t mean it is wrong.

Did I give it a fair chance?

I didn’t give Twilight a fair chance; I gave it more of a chance than the book above, but not by much, I don’t even think I got to the sparkly vampire bits. Would I have enjoyed it if I kept going, probably not, but who knows? These days, when I try a new book, particularly if I’m treading into the unknown, I try to follow the “Rule of 50”; Librarian Nancy Pearl suggests ‘If you are under 50, read the first 50 pages (About three chapters) and see if you want to continue; If you are over 50, subtract your age from 100 and read that many pages’. Hopefully, this will give you a sense of the characters and where the story is going, at least enough information to make an informed choice.

What am I moving on to?

If you stop reading one book; that doesn’t mean you need to stop reading; as I said at the outset; there are many great books, and not a lot of time. So, as you put one down; find another, each book is an opportunity to discover a new favourite; but if it isn’t working, don’t feel guilty, put it aside, take what you have learned about yourself as a reader from the whole experience and find something new.

Best of Luck on your reading Journey!


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