Thursday 3 October 2013

My YA Confessions #4 - Giving up is hard to do...

I have feelings. Mixed ones. And they're made even more complicated by the fact that I feel guilty about having them in the first place.

Yes, I'm talking about giving up on books before the end.

I'm thinking I shouldn't have even used the words 'giving up..' in the title of this post - it sounds so negative and defeatist, when I generally don't think I'm doing anything wrong. Or am I? Reading is for enjoyment, pure and simple (unless you count those years of enforced reading lists) and when a books fails to grip I'm surely more than justified in leaving it be and moving onto something else. So why do I feel so guilty?

It recently began thinking about this a lot more because it happened to me with a book by new author. I had read a lot of excellent things about this title and I loved the sound of the premise. But halfway through and I was floundering - it felt repetitive, I was bored with the characters, I really didn't give a rat's arse about any of it anymore. It wasn't the worse book I'd ever read by any means, but it just was not for me at that particular moment in time. And I felt even more guilty about abandoning it than I would have done jumping ship from a title by someone who has sold millions of copies. Should I have given a new author a fair crack of the whip? (gosh there's a lot of questions in this post - I do apologise). I guess the same does for reviewing books by new authors too - I'm always more reluctant to outright criticise them, although I'm guessing that a review on my teeny-tiny blog won't affect their sales too much. But I have no such qualms about being critical of more famous books.

Actually, I always have a few qualms about this sort of thing generally, but that's book blogging for you.

Let's just take a moment to appreciate the word 'qualms'. QUALMS.

Anyway, I think another reason for my guilt stems from being in the midst of attempting to write a book myself. I've only just come to appreciate the amount of time, blood, sweat and tears that goes into the process and to not give a book a decent go shot seems unfair to these efforts.

Does the standing of the author affect your decision on whether to finish a book or not, or do you think we should treat all titles the same?

Have you gone back to a book you previously struggled with and been pleasantly surprised?

Let me know you thoughts on this one...


  1. Let's just take a moment to appreciate that SONG.

    I also feel the guilt. But life is short, and there are too many books. It makes me feel less guilty if I put my bookmark in, lay it down and pretend to myself that I'll come back to it another day. And then a year later, out comes the bookmark and onto the shelf - or more likely the charity shop pile - it goes...

    Completely agree about the blood, sweat and tears making you appreciate anyone who's not only got through all that and finished the thing, but then been published too. One day that will be us. One day.


  2. I used to feel guilty. Now I don't mind so much giving up on a book if it doesn't grab me quickly. Can't win 'em all!

  3. I've never really felt guilty about giving up on books - I think perhaps because there are always SO MANY books I'm keen to read and I don't like wasting my time on a book I hate. But I always wonder if I should have kept going in case it got better? I tend to push ahead if it's been recommended to me by someone.