Putting a Book Down

I hate not finishing something that I have started — especially when it’s a book. I very rarely ever start a book that I fail to finish. There are some books that I trudge through for weeks even though they are pointless drivel and struggle to hold my attention.

When I pick up a book to read, I’m making an investment of sorts. There are millions of books that I could be reading at any given time; yet, at that moment I have decided, for whatever reason, that a certain book is worth my efforts. Maybe I like the writer. Maybe the cover grabs my attention. Maybe the storyline seems interesting. Whatever the case may be, I have decided to give this writer a few hours of my life for him or her to tell me a story.

Putting a book down and failing to pick it back up feels like I’m telling the writer that I am no longer interested in what they have to say and that they might as well be quiet now.

As a writer, I find this offensive and I hate the idea of doing such a thing to a fellow writer.

Yet, there are times, I must admit, that I have done this. In fact, very recently I picked up a book that I simply could not finish — it was not worth my time. There were other books and stories that were waiting to be read and I could not bring myself to finish a story that was more or less garbage. Out of respect for the writer, I will not tell you what that book was.

I really wanted to like this book — I really want to like every book that I read. Yet, the storyline of this book was ridiculously unbelievable (and believe me, I have a very strong ability to suspend disbelief). Further, the writer obviously skimped on the research which involved subjects that, unfortunately in this case, I have studied enough to know just how far off the writer was. Now, normally I could forgive these things; yet, even if it weren’t for these major flaws, the story would have been second-rate. Thus, I did the terrible thing that I never like to do…

I told the writer I wasn’t interested anymore and that he could just go ahead and be quiet.

I fear someday that someone will read one of my stories or books and tell me, “Andrew, I’m really not interested anymore”, and put my story down — which is why I find it such a horrible thing that I would do this to another writer.

But, perhaps, putting a book down isn’t such a loathsome crime. There are so many good books out there that maybe we could spend more time reading the good one’s if we just put away the garbage once we realize that the story will never get any better. Not every story will be everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s okay. Sure, I wasn’t crazy about this last book I attempted to read — but I’m sure that there were many who love the book! And maybe someday someone will tell me that they are no longer interested in my story — if that is the case, then more power to them to read a book that suits them. Hopefully, I’ll find as many readers that find my stories intriguing.

It’s thoughts like these that challenge me to be a better writer. When someone read’s one of my stories, I understand that they are making an investment. They are taking time out of their lives to allow me a chance to tell them a story. When that time comes, I hope and pray that I do not disappoint.


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