Are you a book-finisher?

Some of our bookshelves - sadly peppered with The Unfinished...

Some of our bookshelves – sadly peppered with The Unfinished…

The Husband always finishes a book once he’s started it. He moans and criticises sometimes but always sees it through to the bitter end and then chucks it aside with a ‘well that wasn’t worth the effort’.  I, on the other hand, frequently ditch books halfway through. my bedside table has a stack, all with bookmarks sticking out part way through. I tell myself I’ll go back to them but I almost never do.

It’s no indicator of the quality of the writing either.  I’m particularly ashamed of not finishing Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel which is an incredible piece of story-telling and so beautifully written but I was two-thirds of the way through, put it down for a week or so and somehow never managed to go back to it. Maybe it’s because it has quite a unique style in terms of reported speech. Maybe it’s because school history lessons meant that there was unlikely to be anything unexpected happening plot-wise. Whatever, that break meant that I have never returned to it and – equally shamefully – I’m taking the view that once I’ve watched the forthcoming TV series I probably needn’t worry about it.

Currently on the unfinished pile are Amy Poehler’s Yes Please, Us by David Nichols and Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by the marvellous Anna Quindlen – mind you, the latter is a collection of articles and so I can claim that I’m dipping in now and again rather than admit that I’ve abandoned it.  All great books (I’m not going to tell you about the ones I’ve given up on because they didn’t grab me or because some jarring error put me off) but sadly accumulating dust and reproaching me every time I pick up a new book rather than returning to them.

Are you a book finisher like The Husband or as fickle as I am?

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2 Responses to Are you a book-finisher?

  1. Cat says:

    I generally know within the first few pages whether I want to read the rest of a book. I haven’t read Wolf Hall – looked at the first few pages and decided I really couldn’t be bothered. It may be great writing but… (Feel the same way about Peter Carey and a few others considered “great”. Perhaps I am too dull or ill-informed to find them exciting.)
    I am guilty of skim reading some books but I rarely get halfway through and abandon a book – I have given up long before then!

  2. Lyn says:

    Like Cat, I tend to know very quickly whether or not I’ll enjoy a book so I rarely get to the stage of wondering whether I should go on. I also have so many books I want to read that I don’t have time to waste on a book I’m not enjoying. I loved Wolf Hall & Bring Up The Bodies & can’t wait to see the series. I think I’ll be buying the DVD though because I don’t know when/if it will be shown in Australia.
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