Hundreds of thousands of new book titles are published each year in the United States alone. That’s right, hundreds of thousands. The increasing ease at which authors can now self-publish digital books is sure to make this figure skyrocket even higher into the stratosphere. It is physically impossible to read them all – even if I just choose the ones that appeal to me. So why have I insisted on reading every book I pick up through to the end, even if I am completely hating the experience? I really love to read. It is my escape, my relaxation, my peace. And I tend to read a lot. But it took me far too long to accept the fact that I do not actually have to finish every book I start. I am not signing any sort of contract at the beginning of a book that states my commitment to finish it. So if I am not finding it enjoyable, and it is threatening my relaxation or peace – I have finally become okay with calling it a “DNF” or “Did Not Finish”. And it is freeing.
I think the hardest part about being okay with this is when it happens that you DNF a book that your friend/family member/book club member loved. I have found this to be the case a few times, but most notably when I just had to DNF Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth. I especially did not like any of the characters and got to the point where I wondered what they could possibly do to better this reading experience for me… and I couldn’t come up with anything remotely realistic. I just didn’t care about them, the world they were in, nothing. Well, I tried to explain this to a few of my classic-loving friends and they were having none of it. They insisted that if I kept going or tried it again it would be worth it. To which I thought, for whom? I appreciated their attempts at trying to sell this book to me, but I still feel much better about labeling it a DNF. Maybe someday far in the future, I’ll try it again… but I’m not holding my breath.
So, my Bookish Confession for today is: I am a librarian and I do not finish every book I start. And that’s okay. Whew. Anything bookish you’d like to confess?