When To Stop Reading A Book

when to stop reading a book
Credit: Marcin Baje

You’ve probably heard it’s bad form to quit reading a book. Book lovers power through unpleasant scenes, disappointing writing, and stale characters using only the sheer love of reading.

I think that’s wrong. Life’s too short to read books you don’t enjoy.

You should quit a book when it’s not making you happy. Make a pact with it. Give it 10, 25, 50 pages. Challenge it to captivate you. If it does, you won’t be able to put it down until it has taken you to the end of the journey. If it doesn’t, it’s just another station on your way to find a book that will capture your heart.

You should quit a book when it betrays you. When it makes promises it doesn’t keep. When it crosses a boundary you have every right to enforce.

You should quit a book when it makes you not want to read. When the escapism of reading becomes the thing you want to escape from.

Don’t waste your time reading uninspiring books. I didn’t say shitty books, mind you. You are free to read the crappiest books, ironically or not, if you enjoy them. Read that 20-year-old fanfiction from a dead fandom. Read that cheesy romance novel you bought at the airport. Rediscover the books you loved as a teen. Read what makes you dream. Read what makes you put your phone down just to get to the ending. If it doesn’t spark joy, as a wise woman once said, thank the book and let it go.

Read more thoughts about books, creativity, and short stories every week on my newsletters here.

Liked what you read? Then you’l like this post, too: Five questions to ask yourself when you don’t know what to write about

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