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Apr 23, 2007, 6:53 pm

Harumph. I hate the thought of not finishing a book, even if it means several attempts, but I'm reeeeeeeeeeeally struggling with Veronika Decides to Die. It's now about the 4th time I've tried to read it, and if I'm lucky I read a couple of pages every day or so. It's such a slog! What do I do?????

Hate the thought of giving up on it, but do I have the will power?????

Apr 23, 2007, 7:10 pm

You know, there are a few books that used to give me trouble when I was younger, but by putting them off for a while, I've managed to get through them. The two that come to mind are Little Women and Dracula. I tried reading both of those when I was younger and I ended up being bored to tears about halfway through, but I find that I can get through them a lot easier now. I suggest putting the book aside (again) for awhile.

Of course, if you don't see much potential in the book, you could just stop reading...I know it sounds like giving up, but think of it this way...the extra time can be time spent reading other books! (Just as an extra note: I am not the kind of person who continually gives up on books. I'm just a somewhat impatient individual who feels that the time spent slogging through a dull book is time that could be spent reading something I'm more likely to enjoy!)

Apr 23, 2007, 7:46 pm

That's what part of my brain is saying - I could be reading other books.... It's just that I've had this one staring at me for soooooooooo long.

I also like to think that I gave it a proper chance. The same with films - I always watch a DVD to the end even if I'm not enjoying it.


Apr 23, 2007, 8:40 pm

Don't "give up", just put it aside for a while. And if that while turns out to go on forever, well....

Apr 23, 2007, 9:45 pm

Yeah, I generally hate to give up on movies too...unless they're really bugging the crap out of me. I was watching the movie Cat's Eye the other day, which is an adaption of three of Stephen King's short stories (two of which I've already read), and I had to stop halfway through because the movie was making the stories look like a joke. I hate it when movies do that.

But I digress...

Apr 24, 2007, 5:35 am

It's back on the shelf. I caved! But only until I finish something else, and then I'll pick up where I left off....maybe.... Imagine - it might take me my whole life to finish!

Apr 24, 2007, 5:38 am

Worse things have happened. If you're like me and most everyone else on this site, (we tend to share the same book hoarding tendencies) you've got a large pile of TBR's proportionally to your entire library. Don't sweat it too much if you decide to move to another of those books that's been on your shelf picking up dust for a couple of years plus.

Apr 24, 2007, 5:41 am

That's true. Soooooooooooooo many books waiting for me to look in their direction. Onwards and upwards!

Apr 24, 2007, 5:57 am

I am like you and feel it necessary to finish virtually everything I start reading and watching. I think you did right in putting it down for now, even if it's the fourth time you've done so. Sometimes a novel just does not work at a particular time and it needs to be put away, something else started instead. I just stopped reading a book a few weeks ago and put it back in the pile(s) for another time. I think our lives are too short to waste on books that we just cannot get through.

Apr 24, 2007, 5:16 pm

I try to justify not finishing a book by thinkinf, "There's a reason I can't get through this book." I had to put Two Towers down for almost a year before I could stand it again, and then I loved it. There are some books out there, though, that even the biggest bibliophile can't absorb. It's not a crime or a sin, and there's so much more out there!

Apr 24, 2007, 6:05 pm

I've tried to continue reading Queen of the Damned two or three times now... It's really good, it's just I think I have book ADHD (and music ADHD) and I can't finish it. If it doesn't interest me at a certain point I grab a new book... then I feel guilty. I think you should just wait awhile.

Apr 24, 2007, 6:09 pm

I also struggled to finish Queen of the Damned. I got through it, but I think it was a terrible book. The same scene just kept repeating over and over and over again.

Edited: Apr 25, 2007, 5:44 am

There are three books I can think of offhand that I did not complete, just within the last 6 months, and possibly a couple more I'm forgetting. Two I got halfway through (one was long and one was short) and one I got less than 50 pages into it.

If I hate a book - really, truly hate it - then I have no problem not finishing it. I used to feel like a lot of people who posted here do, that if I started reading something (well, unless it was for class - so, if I chose to start it ;) then I had to finish it. The short book and the book I barely started, I just hated them so much that I will probably never try reading them again.

But there is a difference between a failed attempt at reading something and utterly hating it. There are several books I've tried, and failed, to read in the past that I would like to try again. The long book I mentioned, I sort of want to try to finish (if I ever get around to it). And there are a few books I tried to read in high school (that I wanted to read) but wasn't mature enough for.

There is nothing wrong with not finishing a book. I read mainly for pleasure; if I don't enjoy it, it defeats the whole point.

Apr 25, 2007, 7:44 am

I'm a compulsive finisher; all of the arguments for putting a book down are sound and make sense but I can't ever seem to listen to them and just stop.

Part of the reason I just have to power through, even when I'm not enjoying a book, is that if I put something down and pick it up later, I'm probably going to have to start from the beginning since I won't remember what happened... and if it was a struggle to get where I am in the book, I don't want to have to re-do all that work.

(Oh, and re: Queen of the Damned - that is actually one of my favorites of the Vampire Chronicles, but I realized that when I re-read it, I just re-read the history parts and skim the Lestat/Queen chapters. Heh.)

Edited: Apr 26, 2007, 7:34 am

I'm afraid I don't know those books, but I can definitely commiserate with the feeling! I remember the first two times I tried reading Pride and Prejudice; I just couldn't get my head around the language, I don't know why. It took me about 3 more years, when I was 16, to finally read and really love the book.

I'm currently trying to work the guts to try Mrs Dalloway again....I got halfway through some 5 odd years ago (according to the bookmark that's sat at that point all this time), and I'm afraid I've left it so long I HAVE to start from scratch!

I'm a determined finisher myself, so no doubt I'll get there in the end, perhaps in another 5 years..

Apr 26, 2007, 8:08 am

#13 - an excellent point about reading for pleasure... Thank you,that makes total sense!

May 4, 2007, 2:25 pm

I personally love Paulo Coelho. He is probably my favorite writer. That being said, Veronika Decides to Die isn't his best work. I would urge you to give him another shot and read another of his works.

I have never forced myself to read anything (not even in high school or my college English degree). At times in my life, I have went back to a work and found that I loved it, when I previously hated it. Sometimes it's age, sometimes it's just the place and time you are in. Sometimes, you'll never like it, and that's okay too!

May 4, 2007, 7:28 pm

Don't get me wrong, I've really enjoyed other Coelho books, but somehow there's a barrier with this one... Agh! Maybe it's just one of those things...or maybe it will end up being one of my favourite books ever! The proof of the pudding...........

Edited: May 4, 2007, 11:15 pm


Maybe you'll enjoy it better when you reach a new part of your life. That seems to happen to me. I have a huge refusal when it comes to putting books down, but every once in a while, I know it's for the best. Also, you can sometimes speed the process of being 'ready' to read the ill though-of book. For instance, I was reading Northanger Abbey a few weeks ago, and reached a point in the beginning of the book where I had to put it down. It was slowing my reading down, and I wasn't getting any reading done. I read another book, then watched a film based on one of Jane Austen's better novels (Pride and Prejudice). It worked, and I was able to go back to the book and finish it the next day. Now, I'm happily into another book without the guilt.

May 5, 2007, 3:04 pm

For every book I read I have put down at least two others. Life is too short to read something that you are not enjoying! I read a ton, but have to accept that some books are just not for me. It doesn't have anything to do with genre just the way a book is written. The only books that I may force my way through is for my book club, but I have even put down one of those (although that one I feel guilty about). don't feel guilt over unread books, just go on, there are too many to read them all.