Reading Habits (1) – To Finish or Not

I have decided that I am going to write a series of posts on my reading habits (seeing as I’m now monitoring how many hours I spend). These won’t necessarily appear every week, but I hope they will form a short series over the next couple of months. Topic one is, as the title suggests, whether or not I finish all the books I start to read.

There have been a number of surveys I’ve read recently that suggest a high  percentage of readers don’t finish the books they start to read. I don’t know whether this is a new phenomenon,  or something that has always happened. The reason I say that is that there haven’t always been so many free books available as there are to day with the advent of self-publishing, unless, of course, you frequent the rapidly dwindling libraries, and it could be that many of these free books are not grabbing the reader’s attention, so they move onto the next free offering.

I have always been someone who tries their hardest to finish a book and there have been some that have been a real struggle. For example, I tried reading Frankenstein not so long ago (well, actually I started it a long time ago and finished it towards the end of last year) and found it really hard going. This was mainly because of the archaic language used in the book. I found myself switching off and not really reading the words. But, I still got to the end, and I’m glad I did. Other times there might be whole swathes of the book that I enjoy, but there are some particularly boring passages in the middle. I usually force my way through those as well. I did recently start one independently published book that I didn’t finish. In fact, I only got a couple of chapters in. Why did I stop? Because there were so many grammatical errors on each page that I was getting very annoyed with it and it was taking me so far out of the story that I couldn’t find my way back.

So far this year I have finished sixteen books. They aren’t all long books – there’s at least one flash fiction collection in there and a short how to book, but most of them are novels of varying lengths. I currently have four books on the go. One is a chick-lit type book, which I’ll likely have finished before this post goes live. The second is an epic fantasy that I’ve sort of lost my way with, mainly because of its length, but that I will go back to. There’s another book that’s sort of women’s fiction, but I’m not quite sure where it’s going – I keep picking that one up and putting it down again. The fourth is a classic, which I am, once again, finding very hard going. I do expect that I will finish all of these books, because they are not bad books and I know I will get something out of them when I do.

How about you? Do you battle on to the end of every book you buy, borrow or download, or do you often give up because life’s too short?


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