In Which I Am Not a Finisher…Yet. Maybe.
Sometimes I pick up a book and KNOW immediately that we will be BFFs and I plow right through it (ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS, LEGEND, THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE). Sometimes I pick up a book and I’m excited to start it, but our relationship needs some work, and it takes me a while to realize that this book is MORE than I ever thought it would be (THE RAVEN BOYS, THE RED PYRAMID). Sometimes I pick up and book, immediately get a bad vibe, and wind up putting it down because I can just tell that we are NOT meant to be. (IMPOSSIBLE by Nancy Werlin comes to mind right away. Also, OCTAVIAN NOTHING by M.T. Anderson.)
SOMETIMES, though, I know that I pick up a book and I feel like our timing is just off. Maybe something else came in that I’ve been DYING to read. Maybe I’m not in the mood to read something serious/big/light-hearted, etc. Maybe, and this is increasingly becoming the case, I just don’t have the time to devote to a book that NEEDS time to grow on me. These books I pick up, put down, and mentally note that we have a date in the future. THANK GOD. Otherwise I never would have read any of the Cassandra Clare‘s Mortal Instruments series, Cinda William’s Chima‘s Seven Realms series, or anything by Jane Austen, just to name a few.
But here’s a thing that I always struggle with: sometimes a book straddles a line between a forever-DNF and a “let’s take a break for a little while.” And, further, what’s the difference between the two in my own reading? Sure, there have been some books that I’ve taken a breather from and gone back to later and enjoyed, but there are way more that I’ve been intending to pick up again and give another shot that remain unfinished and un-revisited. At some point should I just consider those books DNFs for real and move on?
Meh. Probably not. Because I know what I like. Just like every reader does. I can tell when it’s me and not the book that’s creating problems. Like, I can feel it sometimes before I even finish a chapter or less: this isn’t going to grab me RIGHT NOW. But LATER, maybe. And I’m willing to give myself some time to get in the right mood to give what appears to be an otherwise good book another go.
I don’t have any problems with officially DNFing books. I don’t like doing it because it makes me feel like I’m deserting things, but I also don’t have the luxury of giving lots of chances to books that increasingly irritate me/bore me/drag on/don’t make sense/disappoint me, etc. Not when I have so many other things to read, both for pleasure and for this blog. But maybe this “come back to me later” business is just my wussy way of DNFing. To be honest, I can totally see myself acting that way, and I’d believe that a little bit more if I’d put CITY OF BONES on my “later, gator” shelf and left it there. But I didn’t. I’ve got my fingers crossed that this means there’s still hope for me and THE MISTS OF AVALON, JELLICOE ROAD, LITTLE WOMEN, THE VICIOUS DEEP, and more.
What is the point of this RAMBLE? Basically this: Sometimes it’s me. Sometimes it’s the book. I know the difference, most of the time. Mostly, though, I’m glad that I know myself and my reading well enough to say, “don’t force it” if it’s not working. And if I feel like going back to it later, I will. If I don’t, that’s fine too. I make the rules here!
How about you guys? Do you do this a lot, putting books down to come back to them later? Or do you just give them one shot and DNF right away? What are some books that you picked up at the wrong time?