Oh my goodness, do I feel LIGHTER! Less burdened and happier and more free!
How did I achieve this enlightened state? I moved 24 books from my “currently reading” shelf on Goodreads to my “did-not-finish” shelf. Yup, I created one of those. It’s a dedicated shelf, which means that a book can either be want-to-read, currently-reading, read, or did-not-finish. That’s how much I believe in the power of releasing books from your life that you don’t like, don’t have time for right now, forgot you had even started, or whatever other reason you aren’t finishing a book after several weeks/months.
I firmly believe that life is much too short to stress over finishing a book that just isn’t the right fit for you at any given time, and I literally preach this to my students in my libraries. Real readers know what is working and what’s not, and lots of real readers don’t finish every book they start. And that’s okay! Maybe you’ll finish the book in a year when you finally feel ready to pick it up again, like I did with The Book Thief. I started that book the day before the Sandy Hook shooting and couldn’t even bear to LOOK at a book narrated by death for a year. That’s fine – move it back to currently-reading when you pick it up again. I did that the next year on Christmas and finished the book in 2 days. No worries. Some books are on did-not-finish because I was in a crochet-running-gardening-etc phase and then moved on before finishing the book. And yes, some I abandon because I really, really, really don’t like them. Simple as that. But not having finished a book shouldn’t indicate to my Goodreads friends that I didn’t like a book – please don’t ever automatically think that about the books living there! It’s simply a way to keep track so I can maybe go back to them someday and a way to remind myself of what works for me and what doesn’t. I train students to think in this way too, and I hope it helps them avoid any abandonment-shame that other adults have placed in their innocent heads.
So, go forth and abandon a book today. I promise you’ll feel better about it. Just let it go.