Bored of your book? Stop reading

Nostromo by Joseph ConradIn this month’s Reading List email from Ryan Holiday, he wrote a sentence that I wholeheartedly agree with, but rarely hear people admit to.

I was disappointed in and couldn’t finish Go Set A Watchman

It’s not so much Go Set A Watchman that I’m happy about, more that he’s admitted to not finishing a book.

For a long time, I felt really bad about not being able to complete a book. I remember giving up Joseph Conrad’s Nostromo after about 75 pages, because absolutely nothing had happened and I was bored (I’m a huge fan of Conrad’s other work).

But I was tortured. I remember Barry Norman’s counter to all those who said what a great job it was to be a film critic – he pointed out that he had to sit through every minute of every film, because if anyone found out he’d left before the end, they could argue that the bit he missed completely redeemed the rest of the movie. Unlikely, but possible.

I felt the same about a book. What if it suddenly turned brilliant in the 5 pages after I stopped?

Life’s too short

And then one day the realisation hit me. Life is too short to spend reading books you don’t enjoy. Most average-length books take at least 6 hours of continuous reading to finish – and that’s if you’re enjoying them.

Why waste time ploughing through something that gives you no enjoyment of any kind?

Granted, some books can be tough to read but you still feel as if you’re getting something out of them – those that are hard-going and give you nothing at the end are just landfill.

So my plea to you today is stop and think about the book you’re reading currently. Are you enjoying it? If the answer is no, stick it in a charity bag and find one that you do want to read. You owe it to yourself.

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