State of the Stacks: Did Not Finish Edition

A few weeks ago, I was talking with a friend who mentioned that she’s never started a book she didn’t finish. No matter if she didn’t enjoy it— if she invested enough time to start it, she finished it. That’s a bit different from my approach. Read on to find out more about my book-finishing policy along with other bookish updates on this week’s State of the Stacks.

Did Not Finish

We’ve all done it. Browsing through books, one stands out among the rest. It seems like the full package: intriguing cover, a compelling synopsis, and a pull-quote from a favorite author. But after reading through the first few chapters, something seems off. The characters seem off or the pacing is weird— maybe there’s even a surprising, deeply unsettling scene.

So the question becomes: do you suffer through a book that’s just not working for you, or do you push through and hope it clicks?

I have no problem dropping books I don’t mesh with. While there’s something to be said for experiencing works that challenge, there’s a limit. Difficult concepts? Uncomfortable truths? Dare I say, harsh realities? All of those can be fine. However, boring books stretch my mind to its limit. It’s a subjective concept, sure, but my criteria for boring is simple: if my attention consistently wanders, I’ll put the book off to the side and come back to it later. If, after a few rounds of that, I still can’t focus, then I bin it and move on.

What about you? Do you feel obligated to finish every book you start or do you focus on those you enjoy?

Stack Chat

In a rare turn of events, and knowing I need to catch up on some reviews, I didn’t request a single book from NetGalley or Edelweiss this week … However, I also didn’t keep away from the library.

Still, I limited myself to only three books. The apparent theme of the week? A celebration of subtitles:

  • Becoming Dr. Seuss: Theodor Geisel and the Making of an American Imagination by Brian Jay Jones
  • The Making of a Justice: Reflection on My First 94 Year by Justice John Paul Stevens
  • Shadowlands: Fear and Freedom at the Oregon Standoff by Anthony McCann

Publication Day

Since my last State of the Stacks, two books have celebrated their Publication Day! That means they’re officially out in the world, and you can pick up copies at your local library and wherever books are sold:

Reading About Books

If you’re not reading a book, the next best thing is reading about books. Here’s a selection of bookish news and essays I enjoyed this week:

  • Kelli Dunaway, a newly elected councilwoman for St. Louis County, took her oath of office on a copy of Dr. Seuss’s Oh the Places You’ll Go.
  • NPR reports several major publishers are suing Amazon’s Audible over the company’s plans to implement a captioning feature for audiobooks.

That’s that— the State of the Stacks.


  1. I loved that story about the oath taken on Oh the Places You’ll Go! That made me happy.

    I’m with you, there are too many better books I could be reading to stick with ones I’m not enjoying. It makes no sense to keep reading something that’s not working for me just because I decided at one point to read it. I do get frustrated when I keep at it for too long and then give up, because yeah, that was a time investment, but why waste even more time?

    Also: “a celebration of subtitles” made me lol. All three of those sound really interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So glad you loved that story, too! What a unique way to enter office.

      And yes! The exact same thing happens with me. Though I don’t have a problem dropping books, I often stick with them for way too long. There’s always a hope that something will turn around! But you’re exactly right— no matter how much time you think you’ve wasted, why waste more? Had to remind myself that today after 200 or so pages of boring, boring book…

      Liked by 1 person

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