Readers experience pride when they finish a book. But, on the other hand, there is the “unfinished book remorse.” Having set the intention to read a book, we feel guilty leaving it unfinished. Don’t! . There are good reasons to leave a book unfinished. Here are four of them.
Reason #1: You Have Read That Book Before
I don’t mean the exact book. I mean, the book you have picked up has the potential to be unfinished because you’ve read many books with the same theme, plot, characters, and style.
The reason so many books are similar is that book writing is a business. Authors write books that have proven to make readers reach for their wallets. Publishers don’t just want a good manuscript; they want sellable books that are in demand. And since imitation is the highest form of flattery, authors write books similar to best sellers.
Think of all the vampire books that were coming out in bulks a few years back. Yes, vampires make great characters, but after a while, it became a cliché. Some books fail to grab us because they are too familiar. If a book makes you feel like you know what will happen, consider leaving it unfinished.
Reason #2: The Book is Not up to Your Speed
Not all books are created equal. Don’t feel guilty for leaving a book unfinished, because it is too either too slow or too fast for your taste. Just like there are different genres in literature, there are different tempos in writing.
Some readers inhale a book in three days, some take a month to finish a novel. Ideally, the book for you will match your natural rhythm. Books who take several chapters to surprise me or repeat the same thing with different words go in my unfinished pile. I prefer to spend time on a book that dances to my music at that particular time.
This doesn’t mean that once in the unfinished pile, books are doomed to stay there. A book you have left unfinished might resonate with you later. Taste changes; you may have been a sci-fi action junky, but later, you catch yourself curious about Ernest Hemingway’s short stories.
Reason #3: Trending Books Aren’t Necessarily Good
You’ve been hearing about the latest bestseller from friends, YouTube, colleagues, your mother, and everyone else. There must be a reason behind the hype. After a couple of chapters, you find yourself finding less time to finish this book. When you get to it, your mind wanders away from the subject. Popularity is not enough reason to embrace a book. If a book fails to grab your interest, consider it a reason to leave it unfinished.
If you happen to put in the unfinished pile, you will soon understand that the hype is over, and a new bestseller has everyone’s attention. I hope you will find more reasons to enjoy that one.
Reason #4: You Are Not The Book’s Audience
Books are written with a specific audience in mind for a reason. Although they have reached a broader audience, some books use technical terminology intended for a particular type of professionals. As I mentioned before, writing and publishing books is a business. In their effort to amaze the reader, publishers aim books to both reach the general audience and use appropriate terminology.
Some topics lend themselves to those books. For example, the question of time being an illusion is very interesting to most of the general audience; however, quantum physics and math are the sciences that can explain why that is so.
For example, Carlo Rovelli is exceptional in weaving philosophy into quantum physics explanations to make us understand the world of science. But, you might be better at juristic terminology, and physics has never been your thing. There is no reason to be ashamed; you cannot know everything. You are better of leaving some books unfinished than spend time deciphering every sentence.
That being said, I encourage you to seek books that require some use of a dictionary, as that is how we build vocabulary. But if you have to take a course to understand the book, consider it a reason to leave it unfinished.