Improving Your Reading Life: Just Put it Down
I think we're pretty much all been there: your TBR stack is staring at you accusingly, but you can't get to it because the book you're currently reading is going sooo slowly. And it feels like a chore. So you avoid it. And nothing gets read. And you start to feel guilty or irritated.
The moment you find yourself avoiding reading because you don't want to read the specific book you're working on, it's time to give yourself permission to put it down and mark it off as DNF (did not finish). Reading that feels like a chore feels so terrible, and often we feel obligated to finish a book we started, no matter how much we may not want to.
This happened to me pretty recently, there was a book I was reading that I just wasn't clicking with. I genuinely felt like I had to finish it, even though the rest of my TBR looked so much more enticing! It took me over a week to let go and just put the book down. A week.
I don't know about you guys, but it is REALLY hard for me to not finish a book. There's the whiff of failure and the lingering sense of guilt that comes with setting a novel aside unfinished. My rational brain knows that I'm an adult and I should use my precious time reading what I want to read, not what I feel like I should be reading, but it's hard to keep that mind set sometimes.
Consequently, I've been really practicing giving myself permission to not finish a book, and reminding myself that it will always be waiting on my shelf or available at the library if I want to return to it. My time is so limited, I have to remind myself not to waste it on books that don't fulfill me, or excite me, or make me eager to pick them back up.
Sometimes a book just isn't for you right now. It could just be not what you're in the mood for, the wrong season, hitting on something that feels sensitive to you at the moment, or any number of other things. You can ask yourself: what makes you abandon a book? Sometimes there's a clear pattern, but sometimes it's just natural whims.
I tend turn away from certain themes and writing styles, and since I know that I don't enjoy them, when they do pop up in a book I'm starting, I tell myself it's okay to just put it down. I've read enough books I don't like, that I'm getting adept at spotting when it won't be an enjoyable read for me. And that's okay! Not every book is for everyone!
In the end, just make sure you read for fun. Read for inspiration, for thrills, for love; read anything and everything you want to read, but don't read books you aren't enjoying. We all should feel free to ditch what isn't working for us. Plus, you'll get a lot more reading done when you don't spend days hung up on something you're not loving, and that's always a good thing!
What as the last book you set aside without finishing? When do you know it's time to give up on a book?