It’s ok to not finish a book, or dozens of books

It is okay and there is nothing wrong with picking up another book only to but it down halfway through. There is nothing wrong with you. This is just as much by design as your toaster has been manufactured to fail after a few years.

So you just picked up a book because the sample was beyond amazing. Now, your nearing the halfway point and the motivations are standard. The tropes are tried. The sentences lack that luster you find in the first 20-40 pages. You want to see the characters get their happy ending. But there is so many words between here and there. And slogging through the barrens doesn’t carry the excitement of discovery or even the threat of danger that the finale has.

So you put the book down.

This is when you pick it up a few times finish a chapter. But these times get further and further apart. Till you either find something else to read OR something else to do.

You may think that ever unfinished book in your reading library is a failure.

It is not.

Remind yourself about that.

Why is this the case?

Two reasons off the top of my head

First: publishers don’t really care if you read the whole book. Why would they? Most novels on the shelves today win awards or place high on the charts do so based not on the quality of the middle section but based on how well the first few pages are. Heck some reviewers may have only listened to the audio book while drive slowly through L.A. Traffic.

Imagine you were in the theatre watching a movie and after the first ten minutes you are hooked, you love the characters, the action, the score is balanced and enhances the mood of each scene, the lighting is perfect, the little details in the scene make the world feel alive and real…

Then as the twenty minute mark approaches and the definition goes from crystal clear to Iphone quality. The score fades to silence. The actors go from polished big screen to table reading. The CGI fades out and the you’re left watching Capt and the god of thunder sitting there in jeans and a t-shirts saying.

“Then we fight”

After I deflect your hammer with my shield I say

“No, you killed my father.” <yawn turns the page> “he was struck dead by lighting…”

yeah I’d be pretty pissed too

but I’m not going to leave the theatre,

a movie is passive entertainment

a book is active. If your mind doesn’t stay focused then the movie doesn’t play. If you don’t turn the page or move your eyes across the words the movie is paused and can remain that way for months.

Second: we are pretty spoiled. Entertainment has gotten so good that we can get a dopamine fix from the palm of our hand in a matter of seconds. Whereas reading the fourteen chapters between here and the something exciting becomes a chore rather than a leisure activity.

So you put the book down and you “know” your not going to pick it back up again.

It’s okay really

There are over 500 new books every month on Amazon. You will never finish them all.

But If



you feel bad about it. Fast forward through the commercials and junk fight scenes you don’t care about.

Read the last chapter

or just the last page.

That will close the loop and you can let people know that you read the book but only the good parts.

Anecdote: When I put the Dresden files on my TBR (to be read) list, I read the last book first book 9, then book 1; 8,2,7,3,6,4,5

yes on purpose

I wanted to read the Dresden files ever since the show.

But to be honest book one wasn’t really good

had I have started with that I never would have finished book 1 and I can’t read book 2 unless I know everything about what happened in book 1.

so I started with the high quality back to low and back again.

Not only was this fun because everything post book 4 is gold

but because the world is consistent there were changes that had happened and reasons i wouldn’t know until i finish three more books. Rather than pacing through the story trying to remember everything as it happened on paper. I was weaving a complete story because before I find out why X from book 2 was dead in book 8, I’d have to bite my nails through a few close calls…

anyways pick up that garbage, read the last page, they have your money don’t let them steal your time…

with love,


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