On Abandoning Books

  So in a recent post, I mentioned that I had recently abandoned two books in a week and several commenters expressed interest as to why.  Other commenters mentioned how they did not like abandoning books for fear of missing out on a good ending.  I thought it was an interesting idea for a post, so … here it is.

  I’ve actually abandoned three books in the last two weeks:  Freedom by Jonathan Franzen, Parrot & Olivier in America by Peter Carey, and The Spies of the Balkans by Alan Furst.  I should say that all three of these were borrowed from the local library — I might have stuck with them longer if I owned them.  
  In the case of Freedom, I gave up after about 20-25 pages because I wasn’t feeling anything for any of the characters introduced to that point and there was nothing in the storyline that grabbed me enough to motivate me to read further.  I couldn’t get through The Corrections either, so I’m not sure if it’s him or me.
  For Parrot & Olivier in America, I made it to about 70 pages but I was getting confused – it seemed as if the narrative was changing from first to third person and I couldn’t keep track of where the story was going.

  I only made it through about 50 pages of The Spies of the Balkans, again because the characters to that point and the storyline did not inspire me to read on.
  I don’t normally like to give up on a book, especially if I have heard good things about it.  However, I have so many books on my to-read pile that I feel I’m wasting precious reading time on a book I’m not completely interested in.  Sometimes I can go back to these books and read them in their entirety and enjoy them (Atonement by Ian McEwan is one example) — I guess I just need to have the right time for those types of books.

  Have you read any of my abandoned books?  Do you think I should try them again?  What makes you abandon a book?


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