As book lovers, we pick up a lot of books offline and online. We start reading a book with a lot of enthusiasm, both fiction and non-fiction, finish some of them but a lot of them remain half, quarter, three-fourth read. We stop reading them for various reasons but whenever we look at the pile of half-read books, a sense of guilt hugs us. It looks like an unfinished task. We start blaming ourselves, “I never do anything completely” We are waiting for a time to restart on those books and longer and longer time intervenes and we never get to finish them. In the meanwhile, we have started on a few more new books and some of them join the old club of half-read books. We also tend to scold children who have not completed reading a book and want a new one. “Finish what you have bought, only then we will buy new books” is the refrain in many households.
Reason to start, a reason to stop
Stop to consider that you might have started to read a book because it sounded interesting, a friend recommended it, it is a runaway bestseller, so on. But as you ploughed through the book, you might have found it boring, not living up to the promise of the blurb, not relevant to your life currently and thousand other reasons. You might even question the taste of your friend who recommended it. The same reasoning could apply to your child who has a pile of half-read books.
We should learn to abandon books without any guilt. There is no point in torturing yourself to complete a book even when it does not hold your interest. There is no need to ‘complete what you have begun’ when it makes no sense. There is no need to read the seventh book in the series because you have read the earlier six and the interest had begun to wane but you ‘want to complete the series. There is no need to complete a series because you have started it. It is okay to stop when you had enough of it.
When quality-half is better than quantity-full
Half-read books are okay. What is important is that you start reading more books. You should quit one without feeling guilty. Won’t you be happy if your child has said, 100 half-read books than 20 full read ones? When we are willing to START reading more books, we will find that we tend to complete the ones that mean something to us. We will skip food, sleep to read the ones that interest us. We will gain a lot from even the half-read books. The attitude of “I will not start another book until I finish all I have” is very restrictive. It compels you to do something you are no longer interested in. In the bargain, we stop reading altogether because the world tells you, “You must finish what you start”.
I don’t know about you, but if there is a prize for half-read books, I will win it hands down.