When do you give up on a book?

I have a hard time giving up on a book. I keep thinking if I read just a little bit more, I will like it. The dilemma is even harder when I have paid for the book instead of getting it from the library. I won’t give up if it is a monthly book club selection, but there have been times where it was tough to finish.

I have been wanting to read a good humor novel for a while. Here is the description of They May Not Mean To, But They Do by Cathleen Schine: ” From one of America’s greatest comic novelists, a hilarious new novel about aging, family, loneliness, and love.”

The description had me at hilarious. According to Webster’s that means extremely funny. To me it also means Laugh Out Loud Funny. So far, I have read the first twelve (12) chapters of the book (28%) and I haven’t even had a smirk or a chuckle.

The story line is about an elderly New York woman, Joy, who struggles to take care of her very sick husband, while still working part time at the age of 85. Her daughter Molly lives in California, and her son is busy with his two young children.

The book is about the journey of trying to keep your dignity as you grow older. It is nice to hear the story from the viewpoint of the older woman. The book is also about the struggles of caregivers, and the guilt the children have when their parents become fragile. The characters are all likable and honorable… but they aren’t funny.

So now, I am struggling as to whether I should finish or just move on. I did pay for this one, and it is not a book club selection. I have accepted it is not a humorous book. What would you do? When do you decide to abandon a book?

Leave a comment!

15 thoughts on “When do you give up on a book?

  1. There are so many good books waiting in my stack to read that I don’t want to spend time with a disappointing one. I rarely stop reading a book, but if I find myself not to be eager to pick it up again, over and over, then it’s time to move on.

    If you want someone else’s permission to abandon this one, I’m giving it to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. If an author has not caused me to want to keep reading after 60 pages, then I set the book aside. So, 60 pages is my cut-off for an uninteresting book.

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    1. Historically, I stopped after 50 pages. But as I get older, I need to decrease that number. I’m 55, so subtract that from 100. 45 pages is my new limit.

      Also, a book that is intended to make you LAUGH shouldn’t even get 50 pages. If a self-described “humorous” book doesn’t make the reader laugh by the end of Chapter 2, then the author and the reader likely have different views on what is funny and what isn’t.

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  3. You’re basically describing a Sunk Cost Fallacy: Your decisions are altered by the emotional investments you accumulate, and the more you invest in something (be it time or money) the harder it becomes to abandon it.

    In this scenario you paid for the book. That money isn’t coming backe rgardless if you like or even read it. So the logical thing is put it down and move on. But as you described (in more elegant words) that sucks. I recently had this happen with Heavy by Kiese Laymon. I couldn’t stand his writing style of short staccato Hemingway-esque sentences strung together. It grated on my brain. I had to stop.

    This same conundrum happens all the time in my every day life and I always stop and think “is this a sunk cost fallacy?”

    Long story short I agree with Diane. Take the loss and move on to better books.

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  4. Life is too short to not enjoy reading a certain book. If you bought it and can’t finish it then pass it on as a gift. There must be someone who will like it,

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The story line sounds interesting even if it is not comical. Personally, I would stick with it if it was holding my interest. What have you decided to do, Kerrin?

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  6. I will read this book because it deals with several subjects that are relevant to my life now. If there is any humor in it the humor may be good for me.

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  7. I agree with the other answers about a book needing to get my attention if I am going to continue reading it or stop. Another way that makes me want to quit reading a book is if the author introduces me to too many characters in the first chapter or two.. I am usually reading for pleasure and I don’t want to have to write all the characters names down and what they do so I can continue reading.

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