I was wrong.
In fact, I can’t believe how many people out there feel like they have to finish a book once they’ve started it. And here I’ve been for years, buying books for people just because I like the cover, or heard on the news that it was good, thinking that if the book stinks, the person will just stop reading it.
I bought my sis-in-law Inkheart for her birthday a few years ago. It sounded intriguing, there was a movie coming out, and she was enjoying the Fablehaven books, so I thought she might like it. I’m not a huge fan of middle grade fantasy, so I didn’t read it first, had no idea what the books would be like. A few weeks after I gave them to her I asked her if she’d had the chance to read it yet. She said she’d started it, but was having a hard time getting into it. I told her it wouldn’t hurt my feelings if she didn’t like the books (I dislike probably half of the books I start reading.) Several months later, I read a book by Nicholas Sparks that I knew she’d love (we’re both huge fans) but when I tried to give it to her, I was blown away when she told me that she was still reading the first Inkspell book--and having a hard time getting motivated to read it--but didn't want to start a new one until she was finished.
Nicholas Sparks, though. I’d been on a waiting list for months to get the book from my library. But she really wanted to finish Inkheart, even though it really wasn’t her kind of book and it meant she wasn’t reading at all.
Similar (shorter) story… Over Thanksgiving, I gave my brother-in-law a book from my shelf that I’d started reading several years ago, but stopped about 2/3s of the way through because I didn’t like it. He was interested—maybe because he’s in school right now and reading textbooks can make any book seem appealing. When I saw him at Christmas he was still reading it, and said it was just okay. He’d gotten a book for Christmas that he’s been wanting for a long time, so I was surprised to see him reading one that he was only kind of enjoying (although I suspect he’s just being nice and he really doesn’t like it.) He said that once he starts a book, he has to finish it. He started reading The Road a few years ago and hated everything about it. The writing style, the plot, the characters, and he still kept reading it, just because he started it.
So, here I am, thinking I’m promoting literacy by buying and giving books, and instead, I’m kind of killing it.
Oops. (I wonder if my in-laws cringe when I given them a book…)
My finisher friends: What motivates you to finish a book you’re not enjoying?