For the first time this week, I found the time to sit down and listen to the latest podcast. I have to say, I’m deeply troubled.

It was with disbelief that I listened to Damien, Anne and Dionne as they unanimously agreed that it’s perfectly acceptable to abandon a book if it’s boring or uninteresting. I’ll concede that they did describe this inexplicable activity as occurring only if, after a number of pages or chapters, they’re not drawn to the story, but I’m no less stunned. In fact, I’m breaking out into a cold sweat just thinking about it.

Distressed, I raised my concerns with a friend but to my dismay she agreed wholeheartedly with Damien, Anne and Dionne. It was then that I realised I’ve yet another trait to add to my ever-growing list of quirks and eccentricities.

Throughout my entire life I’ve never—and I literally mean never—been able to start reading a book without finishing it. Obviously, I’ve come across atrocious books that are so poorly worded you’re constantly re-reading to try to understand what the author is saying. There are dull books, ridiculously far-fetched books, and then there are those that make you wish you could grab the author by the shoulders and yell, “What were you thinking?!”

And yet, I will read each and every single word.

I certainly don’t seek out a miserable reading experience. I want to be enthralled. As Jane mentioned, I want to find writing so good I forget I’m reading. However, if I’m unfortunate enough to select a piece of less-than-acceptable literature, I feel some sort of obligation to see it through.

As a result of this compulsion, I’ve read entire works that I detest, simply because I began. And although the story may not thrill me, the pleasure I derive from the actual act of reading itself has always been enough to counteract everything I’ve come across to date.

Damien, your invitation to blog with Newbie Writers! is proving itself to be a cathartic experience. Each week I’m discovering more and more weird unique things about myself. I wonder if (Ok, secretly I hope) someone, somewhere, is just as strange as me. Anyone?


Emma is a freelance editor and writer who got her start at Newbie Writers two years ago. In her previous career she was an accountant, but escaped the numbers game to envelop herself in the literary world.

Emma’s Exceptional Editing & Proofreading
Follow me on Twitter: @EEEandP

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  • Justin Bogdanovitch
    Posted on January 21, 2012 at 2:57 am

    I loved the podcast & found this point interesting as well…do I give up reading a book I paid good money for? Even with the dimmest if stories I want to find out what happens without just skipping to the end…I have several books on the shelf with bookmarks still placed: I’ll get back to that one (& rarely do)!

  • Dionne
    Posted on January 21, 2012 at 7:43 am

    Hi Emma, I guess you are proving the other point we made, which is probably common knowledge anyway, that everyone has their own tastes and methods for doing something. It was clear Damien was agonising over his decision, but I wouldn’t think twice. It’s like picking a chocolate out of the box (and no, I’m not Forest Gump), if I bite into it and there’s marzipan there’s no way I’m eating any more and I’ll probably spit out what is in my mouth – why suffer needlessly when there’s lots more chocolates in the box. 🙂

  • EditorProofer
    Posted on January 21, 2012 at 8:27 am

    Thanks Justin and Dionne. 😀

    Without thinking about it, I’d always assumed that most people were the same as me. I guess we’re all *normal* in our own special way.

    I discovered last night that my brother also feels that he owes it to the book to read the whole thing, and that he’s perplexed by my self-realisation too. Maybe it’s genetic LOL.

  • Wistful
    Posted on January 21, 2012 at 8:53 am

    I agree with Dionne, life’s too short to suffer needlessly 🙂 I’ll give a book a few chapters before I make any rash decisions. But if it hasn’t grabbed me by then, it gets put on the bookshelf and there it stays. I usually can’t quite bring myself to throw such a book out though, because maybe it really WAS okay and I needed to give it some more time, or maybe one day I will truly have NOTHING to read and anything would be better than nothing, yes?

    The Lord of the Rings trilogy has languished on my bookshelf for a few decades. I want to read it, I should read it, there must be something wrong with me if I couldn’t help but read Lord of the Rings at a single sitting….. but somehow it just doesn’t grab me. Don’t worry Emma, I think there’s plenty of quirkiness to go around!

    Getting back to the podcast and what readers want, my favourite books are the ones where you suddenly notice you’re getting towards the end and you feel sad because you want those characters and their lives to go on forever!

  • Dionne
    Posted on January 21, 2012 at 9:37 am

    Wistful, you do what I do! I couldn’t get into Lord of the Rings either! Even though I won’t read a book I would never throw it away. And I miss the characters too – it’s always sad, that’s why I like trilogies. Lol Emma, it’s either genetics or your parents instilled a good ethic into their children – always see something through to the end. Although, as a writer, I would hate someone to keep reading my book if it was torturing them, I would rather they stopped reading 🙂

  • Dee
    Posted on January 21, 2012 at 9:51 am

    I agree to a degree. Only in extreme cases do I put down the book and warn others off. In fact, it’s happened exactly once. Even then, I will take it to the used book store and trade it in for something more…me. I do give the vendor a heads up if they ask why it wasn’t my cup of tea, but by and large I live and let live there.

  • EditorProofer
    Posted on January 21, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    Thanks again everyone. 🙂

    Btw I LOVE those books. You know, the ones where you’re torn between wanting to find out the resolution to the story, and wanting the journey to never end! It’s a wonderful yet horrible feeling at the same time.

    And Dee, that’s a great idea! At least the book is given the chance to find a reader instead of being forgotten on some dusty shelf somewhere.

  • Jane Isaac
    Posted on January 24, 2012 at 7:27 am

    I must admit to putting the odd book down that I really can’t get into – eeek – but I do flick to the end to satisfy my curiosity LOL I loved The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, but did listen to them all talking book ***hides face in shame***

  • EditorProofer
    Posted on January 24, 2012 at 9:57 am

    LOL Jane. I’ve never listened to an audio book, although my kindle came with a 5 minute freebie audible file read by Steve Martin (actor). Might have to give them a try, could listen to them when travelling since I get terrible motion sickness if I even think about reading in the car/train/plane.

    By the way, loved your spot on the podcast! You’ll have to make a repeat appearance.

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