The Literary Stew posted a mini-meme today about abandoning books. Coincidentally, I was just staring at my book shelves and thinking about this very subject! 😉
1. What would cause you to stop reading a book ?
Apparently, it takes a lot. All of the books in my Hall of Shame from last year are books that I absolutely should have abandoned because they were terrible and I knew they’d remain terrible, but I have this thing about finishing books that I start. If I’d abandoned Infinite Jest or The Satanic Verses, it would have taken a lot of willpower to return to those books later on, so I just sucked it up and kept on going; I’m proud of myself for having read those books.
Lately I’ve gotten better about abandoning books and actually have abandoned a couple for various reasons, the biggest being that I just wasn’t in the mood.
2. Name a book or books you’ve abandoned in the past that you ended up loving later on.
Anna Karenina is one; I’d made it about 300 pages into the book the first time around. I abandoned the book even though I loved it because I was a student with a really hectic schedule at the time and couldn’t juggle the extra reading. I finally returned to the book last year and adored it.
More recently, I abandoned Michael Crummey’s Galore on my first go; I didn’t make it past the first paragraph. I just wasn’t in the mood. I returned to the book a couple of weeks later and was blown away; it’s been one of my favorite reads so far this year!
3. Name a book you’ve abandoned in the past that you hope to finish someday.
I’d been anxiously awaiting David Foster Wallace’s final work, The Pale King, for months and snapped it up as soon as it was released. I got about ten pages into the book and ultimately decided to put it aside. The writing is gorgeous, but I just haven’t been in the mood (if you’ve read any of DFW’s work, you know it often takes a certain level of uh…concentration). I do hope to finish it sometime this year.