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Finish the book?

I was an avid reader long before I started writing. Until a few years ago, I took pride in the fact that I would always finish reading a book I had started, even if it was a chore.

Once I started writing, my reading time dwindled and became more precious and my attitude changed. Why waste valuable hours reading a book I don't enjoy? Unless it's something I need to get through for research, it shouldn't feel like homework. Reading is my leisure activity. It's supposed to be enjoyable.

There are books on the bestseller list, books that friends and family tell me I must read, that I just can't get into. The book might be fine, it might even be somewhat interesting, but there's something about it that keeps me from wanting to pick it up again once I set it down.

All the other unread books on my shelf call to me, and that bestseller languishes, possibly to end up in the never-to-be-finished pile. A good lesson to understand as a writer too. Once I figure out what secret element the books I love have, maybe I'll be on track to writing one that others can't put down.

What's your stance? Do you slog through to the bitter end, or do you figure if the author wanted to keep your attention, he should have written a better book?

Photo credit: READING © Mykola Velychko |