If you’re anything like me, you have a hard time not finishing a book when it just doesn’t mesh with you. This became even more difficult after I began this blog and my bookish Instagram account. I felt immense guilt if I didn’t finish a book. This became even more of a problem when publishers started sending me books (look for a post in the near future about how to contact publishers and ways to receive advanced copies of books) to read and review. They expected my review, and what if it just wasn’t my cup o’ tea?
I remember a day in October 2019 when I binged an entire 500 page novel just because I hated it so much, but I thought I had to finish it and wanted to finish it ASAP so I could move on. Instead of just letting the publisher know that I wasn’t into it, I gave it a really poor review at the conclusion. I regret that entire day as it was spent begrudgingly reading a book I wish I had never seen.
Since that day, I have been thinking about ways to get over my fear of DNF’ing and with the help of a fellow Bookstagrammer (that’s what we call bookish Instagrammers) I have set a goal for 2020 that has to do with letting go when I don’t like a book.
In 2020, I will rate every book I read when I am 20% into the book. If my rating is under 3 stars, I will quit the book. If that book is 3+ stars out of 5, I will keep reading and hope for the best. Ideally I want every book I read to be a 5 star read, but on my rating scale a 4 is great too and a 3 is acceptable. But 2 stars usually means I wish I had not wasted my time, so why do I waste my time?
Reading is not meant to induce FOMO (fear of missing out). Just because someone loved a certain book does not mean you are destined to as well. Even if I hit my goal of 100 books read this year, I would not read all the unread books I own. So my question to myself and you is, why read something you don’t enjoy?
I will be keeping a reading journal this year, and one of my spreads is to keep track of every book at 20%. This way I can see how a year spent not being afraid to DNF books pays off. Will I get through more books this way? Will I really miss out on a lot of endings like some have told me they are afraid of doing when they choose to not finish a book? My thought is that if a book is 1-2 stars after 20% (avg. 80-100 pages), no amount of good twist or juicy ending is going to make me feel like the time spent reading was worth it. But that is my personal feelings on reading. Everyone views reading differently, so you have to decide for yourself if this challenge seems worth it to you. My hope is to begin a movement that will just have people reading what they love without guilt or resentment. Will you join me?