At some time in a girl’s life, there comes a point where you stare at a book, and you want it to be good–you want every book to be good. No, I’m wrong, you want every book to be great–to take you away or speak to your soul. The book you’re reading, however, is not good. Or maybe it’s good, but it grabs one of your pet peeves in its jaws and shakes it until you scream. (My pet peeves are in this blog post, by the way.) Whatever it is about this book, you recognize that you’re only going to end up frustrated with it eventually.
Let me liberate you from finishing books.
You don’t have to.
Life is too short to read bad books.
You might think: Easy for you to say, Wendy. At which point, I laugh until my stomach hurts because clearly you haven’t seen all my blog posts on OCD.
I haven’t always been this way. Once upon a time, I was driven to finish books. I had to finish them–even if they sucked. And some books are really bad. I finished them, and then I stomped around and griped about them. I had. to. finish. The end.
Then, my son was diagnosed with Asperger’s. My son–who’d been in a baby carrier during the appointment where my other child was diagnosed. The doctor had looked at my son, smiled, and said, “There is no way that kid will have Autism. Look at that smile.” When he was diagnosed by the same man a year and a half later, the universe had played an unfair hand…and we were back to racing the clock to get him services before it was too late.
Life is too valuable to read crap. When you’ve attempted to hold back time like I have, you realize that it’s a precious commodity that shouldn’t be squandered on a book that will ultimately only provide you with frustration to grumble about. You’ll feel betrayed. And even good books will leave you feeling that way…because there are cliffhangers, and authors kill characters, and love triangles…exist. Plus, not all books live up to expectations even if they’re good. A book lover will feel betrayed time and again without having to finish every book they pick up.
It’s hard to DNF (did not finish) a book. It burns a little. It makes my skin itchy, and it’s almost as frustrating as finishing it. But then it’s also liberating. You put down a book. You are still master. And you can move on to a better book.
So, I now give you permission to not finish bad books. Walk away. Throw that book. (Unless you’ve borrowed it or it’s on an ereader.) Revel in your dissatisfaction. Get on review sites and read one star reviews and feel validated. (But don’t post a review if you haven’t given it a fair shake–I’m looking at you, woman-who-posted-a-review-after-reading-ten-pages. You are why we can’t have nice things!)
Because the fact of the matter is: You. Deserve. Better.
We are your carnies, your marionettes, your clowns, your teachers, your storytellers–and if we’re not entertaining you, enlightening you, giving you a reason to read one more chapter, then we don’t deserve your attention for another two hundred pages. This is the job of a writer–to give you that. Dance, monkeys, dance. Cynical? Maybe. Callous? Probably. But unless that writer is a close personal friend, you don’t owe us your attention if we don’t earn it. I was a reader long before I became a writer. Anything that takes away from your love of books, isn’t worth wasting your time on. Close the book. Glare at the cover. Find something new.
If you do find something wonderful and magnificent, let me know. I’m always on the lookout for that unicorn–that book that makes me forget I’m reading. This search for a unicorn makes all the DNF books worth it.
*closes book* *moves on* Life is too short to read bad books. Booyah!