Not Good Enough To Enjoy, Not Bad Enough To Abandon

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I seem to be on a run of books lately that I’m not enjoying, but that aren’t so bad I abandon them.

I always thought I was quick to abandon books. If I’m not into it, I put it away and assure it, “It’s not you; it’s me.” Not every book is for everyone, and I know that. If I find myself making excuses to put the book down, if I’m not looking forward to reading it, then unless I have a good reason to continue, I just put it down.

But recently, I’ve read a few books where I’m in a gray area. The writing’s bad or the action is slow or the characters make lousy decisions. (I want to shout at them, “Are you stupid? Who would even do that?”) But at the same time, I want to find out what happens. I have hope that it might get better. I’ve enjoyed some badly written books, so maybe it’s just taking time to find its stride?

I should know better. It’s not going to get better, and I know it. They never do.

I guess it’s like a bad relationship. There’s enough chemistry to keep going, but the whole time, you’re thinking, “I really shouldn’t be wasting my time. There are better books out there, and I want to read them all.”

*sigh*

I’ve read some magical books this year, books that suck me in and make me fall in love. Books that leave me with such a hangover afterward that I want to sleep with the book under my pillow, just to keep it close by. Books that I want to start again the moment I close the last page.

I’m always chasing that, and I know that not every book can be that way. Maybe not every book should be that way. It wouldn’t be magic then, would it? I couldn’t have that depth of love and connection to every single book.

So maybe that’s why I keep going with those gray area books. I know that the book is going into the donation box when I’m done (or back to the library), and that we’ll never hang out again. I’m just passing time until the next amazing read.

Do you ever have this experience?

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8 comments on “Not Good Enough To Enjoy, Not Bad Enough To Abandon

  1. scr4pl80 says:

    I have a hard time giving up on books also, even ones I am really not enjoying! I have to learn that it’s okay to let it go if it is not a good fit for me.

  2. Jeff Shaevel says:

    It depends whether it’s merely a not-so-hot reading relationship or an abusive one. I was so unhappy with “The Difference Engine” that I quit reading twelve pages before the end with no f’s left to give for whatever the ending was.

  3. I recently met an author who was set up at a flea market, selling copies of his two mystery novels. I talked to him for a long time, and ended up purchasing one of them, a work of historical fiction on a subject I expected to enjoy. I wanted so badly for this nice fellow’s book to be as excellent as I’d hoped it would be. The novel started well, but there were some solutions to various problems that ended up being just too easy for his protagonists to solve. That and the fact that he obviously hadn’t had an editor — “waive” was used twice when “wave” was the proper word, for example — made it very hard for me to finish the book… but I did!

  4. Ramona Mead says:

    That happens to me a lot. I’m also always wanting books to be amazing, but know they can’t all be that way. If I’m hating a book, I quit. I keep going with most of the gray area ones because I usually take something from a book, even if I didn’t love it. I’ll learn something new or be inspired to write or create something.

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