When do you stop reading?

This has been a week of questions. Here’s another. What might make you stop reading a book? Do you stop for moral reasons? Because it isn’t interesting? Because it is badly written? And what is the tipping point? What makes you say No, I’m just not going to finish this book despite the time I’ve already invested in it. Is there a tipping point the other way, where you’ve invested so much in the book that you are going to plow through until the end?

Usually if I stop reading something it is because something else has come up that is more pressing or more interesting. I might find a book heavy going and put it down for a break with the intent to go back to it, but then sometimes I never do. I seldom stop reading a book decisively, that is, without intending to pick it up agains someday. I’ve managed to get through some books that are poorly written and in the end uninteresting. But if I find those qualities in a book, it means I’m not going back to that author again (see my notes on Lev Grossman).

I’m actually a little more interested in the question of whether anyone stops reading for moral reasons. Is there something in a book, some level of violence maybe, that compels you to stop reading because of the book’s immoral tone? My dad would stop reading a book because of moral issues, and I saw him actually trash at least one book. I’m not sure exactly what his tipping point was in books. I read most of the novels he kept in the house (Nevil Shute & Alistair MacLean were his favourite authors), but didn’t get to read the ones thrown away, so had no comparison point. What is your tipping point, if any, on the moral scale?

Are there other reasons you might stop reading a book? Do tell. I’m interested.



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2 responses to “When do you stop reading?

  1. I never stop reading. I always finish the book no matter how bad. I might be disgusted it was so bad but I hate leaving it unfinished as I feel I can’t give a proper opinion on it. I admit I do scan over some bits if they are so boring.

  2. Christine

    I stopped reading a book recently because it was so poorly written it was painful. Most of the time I slog through it, though. I have thrown away a book for moral reasons. I was in a period of my life that I was so hungry for books about God and real spirituality. I picked up one about conversations with God thinking it was about prayer. It was not Christian, which I figured out after I purchased it. I was so disgusted and I didn’t want anyone else reading it, so I threw it away.

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