Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Giving Up is Liberating

I didn't get to the end of my real life book group book this month and not because I ran out of time. I put the book down on Sunday afternoon because it was boring me. As soon as I'd made that decision, I felt liberated. I had all these extra hours to do things like read other people's blogs. Book group reads are my exception to giving up within 100 pages if it's not my thing because I like to be able to discuss the book properly. But really, if I feel so good after giving up, what's the point in struggling on? I know a lot of you out there will read onto the end but it just seems a huge waste of time. As The Readers say, "read like you'll die tomorrow".

As a lot of the regulars didn't turn up and we had a few newbies in the group, I felt under pressure to justify myself. Without knowing my reading habits, it's easy to think I just couldn't be bothered. But when you know how fast I usually read and how many books I have waiting to be read, it makes much more sense. The Memory of Love is not an awful book. Most of the group enjoyed it though they did seem to agree with me that it took 150 pages to get into. I gave up on page 164 (or 36%).

To be honest, I felt uninspired by the book before I even picked it up. A book about love in Sierra Leone. Sounds promising but I didn't engage at all with the characters and I felt it was all a bit unemotional. The group countered that it was more like real life. 1. I get enough real life as it is and 2. I am quite an emotional person (in real life). I felt like I was going through the motions of reading the words but not feeling them. Some thought it was beautifully written but when I compare it to some of my recent reads, it just doesn't cut the mustard in that respect either. I wasn't even moved by scenes of a country ruined by civil war because I felt it was glossed over. The parts I read that did deal with the effects of war did interest me more. There were also too many "main" characters yet not a lot separating them personality wise.

I couldn't be swayed to pick it up again. Perhaps things do suddenly get better but I really don't care. There are some books I finish and pick apart because I am egged on to find resolution to the things that annoy me or to see if they get worse. This is one I felt completely meh about.

To make up for my apathy, here are some bloggers who did enjoy The Memory of Love:

Always Cooking Up Something
Kinna Reads


  1. Good for you. I'm undecided about the book but if it happened to jump into my arms I might read it, or at least, try.

    I approve of people that give up on books - why bother yourself with an unsatisfying book?

  2. Oh no, I've been so looking forward to reading this one. I hope I like it more than you did!

    I don't give up on books enough....

  3. I've literally just given up a book because I really wasn't into it, and you're right, it's so liberating! It was like I'd *made* time, so that was pretty cool too! I also think it's cool that you went to your book club meeting anyway and explained why you didn't finish it- I think I probably would have just stayed away and pretended I was ill hehe.

  4. I finally accepted the fact that A Feast for Crows was boring the hell outta me and to give up would save my sanity.

  5. Abandon everything that doesn't exctite you! I'm pleased to hear that you are feeling liberated - I can only encourage you to do it more often. It takes a lot of pratice and will power, but the results are amazing. I'm being really ruthless this year and the quality of my reading has soared. I abanonded 5 books in a row this week, but then when the sixth book gripped me I knew I'd done the right thing. It would have taken me a couple of weeks to get through that pile of books last year. Now I concentrate on the stuff that clicks with me.

  6. I did a post on giving up on books the other day and then had a very long debate with myself about giving on up this afternoon... but I did it and didn't feel too bad about it. Slight guilt still there but I am one of the people who says read like its your last book.


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