On Unfinished Books

My name is Michelle and I have a bad habit and the first step to breaking a bad habit is admitting it. So, here goes:

I don’t finish books.

Now, it’s not that I can’t finish a book. It’s that I’m quick to give up on a book if it doesn’t immediately grab me. Or, in the midst of reading one book, I’ll start a new one. It’s no surprise that I’m currently juggling two titles–Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe and Gone Girl.

John Green once wrote, “Books are the ultimate Dumpees; put them down and they’ll wait for you forever; pay attention to them and they always love you back.” There’s no sadder or more guilt-inducing sight than seeing an unfinished book on your bookshelf collecting dust, waiting for you to turn its pages.

There’s no sadder or more guilt-inducing sight that seeing an unfinished book on your bookshelf collecting dust, waiting for you to turn its pages.

As a reader, I suppose I have a sense of entitlement. How many times have I sat through a book only to turn to the last page feeling unsatisfied? No one who has seen Silver Linings Playbook can forget Bradley Cooper angrily chucking an Ernest Hemingway novel out of his bedroom window after reading the ending. (At least he finished the book, though.)

Why invest time in a book if it doesn’t appeal to me from the beginning? Reading a book is an investment. It’s not like watching a movie and you’re done after 1-2 hours. Reading is an active task.

However, books can grow on you and even surprise you. Even a really bad book has its moments.

Who knows, maybe the book I’ve left on the bookshelf for days, weeks, and even years is my next favorite book. I’ll let you know when I finish it.

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