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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

To finish a book, or not...

Lisa at Books on the Brain posed an interesting question. One that is common to many readers. If a book doesn't interest you after a period of time, do you finish it?

I struggle with this one too, but only when it comes to books I've agreed to review, not books I simply wanted to read. For example, I've got four books that I received to review for different blog tours. In several cases, the required blog tour posts went up, but I've never posted my reviews, since I really don't care to finish a couple of them. Some I will review, I just haven't gotten them posted yet. So, I'm torn: do I post a review that says why I didn't finish it, or do I just set them aside and let it go?

I have no problem posting a negative review for a book that I've agreed to review or where I've received the ARC or a new copy. I know that some reviewers don't like posting negative reviews when they've been asked to read a particular book. But, I think that negative reviews are part of the deal.

Does an unfinished book fall into that category? Obviously I didn't like it enough to finish it. Or perhaps I didn't exactly not like it, it just didn't like it. Does that make sense?

I think there are too many good books out there to waste time on ones you don't like. I haven't finished books for that reason. It's when I've committed to review it that I wonder... What do you think? Share. Discuss. Bring me your wisdom.


  1. I can never decide about this either! I always feel a little guilty not finishing books, because I'm concerned that I haven't given the books a fair chance. And as well, I'm always thinking they might redeem themselves at the last minute. Usually they don't redeem themselves, but it does happen often enough (like with Life of Pi, which I almost abandoned) that I have a hard time throwing aside books before I finish them.

  2. That's a tough one, especially for a book you've agreed to review. But I think that not posting a review for a book you couldn't finish is more fair.

    L. Diane Wolfe

  3. I seldom feel guilty about not finishing books anymore. I do start some and then put them aside because I'm not of a mind to appreciate them in that moment; I may or may not go back to them. But if I know that I will never go back to it, I certainly post a negative review. (Part of why I started my book blog was to warn like-minded reading friends away from books I didn't like, as well as to let them know what books I've enjoyed.)

  4. I've had mixed feelings about this as well. In the past I have not posted reviews of books that I haven't finished, and felt kind of guilty about it. I think what I'm going to do in the future is post a mini-review for the books that I can't finish stating why I didn't finish.

    I recently listed A Tale of Two Cities as one of my least favorite books ever, because at that point I was halfway through the book, and if it hadn't been that it was a book club read I would never have finished it. After reading it in it's entirety I can honestly say that it wasn't bad. It's still not my favorite, but I can see what Dickens was doing with his set up in the first half. I'm sure my review would have been much different had I quit in the middle of the book, but it still would have been my honest opinion.

    So there are some books that will be better upon finishing, but I think it's a rarity. In my case I will be telling people that if they can make it through the first half (which is sleep inducing) that A Tale of Two Cities is a well-crafted novel.

  5. Whenever I read a book that is absolutely fantastic and realize I didn't read it sooner b/c I was plugging through something just to finish it, I realize that life is too short to waste on so/so books!