How to stop reading a novel

A novel may be a friend, companion, and traveling partner, but it’s also an inanimate object. If it isn’t working out, let it go! No one will be hurt, and you’ll have more time for the next one.

Here are two ways to walk away from a novel — and tomorrow we’ll explore seven reasons to stop reading one (a guest post with my friend, Randall Payleitner).

When a story doesn’t hold me, I drift off. Not right away — I want it to work out. But if the characters are artificial or the writing vapid, that book is now gathering dust under the couch.

To be fair, it’s not always about the writing. Many well-crafted stories fall outside my interest zone. Which doesn’t mean every story should begin with explosions or a kidnapping. Readers can be drawn into anything — even a giant, floating peach. But if the peach isn’t floating your way, drift elsewhere.

I’m patient man, but we all have boundaries. When my good faith interest in a story is violated by a celebration of the intolerable, I don’t drift off. I walk away. Fiction is not theoretical — it’s experiential. The reader lives in the story, and if the story repeatedly violates my convictions, I choose different company. Which is OK. My guess is, that author wouldn’t choose to spend much time with me either.

One thought on “How to stop reading a novel

  1. I wish I could do that, but I simply can’t abandon a book even if I completely dislike it. It’s a bit of an OCD thing. Besides, I don’t feel like I can formulate a proper opinion if I don’t read it to the end!

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