I have never been one to commit to books, or movies or TV shows. I can walk away at any time, even just a few moments before the end. If it hasn’t grabbed my attention, I can move on. No qualms. Maybe I’m just a commitment phobe.
But now as I’m spending hours and hours of my time writing and editing, every time I put aside a book for something newer and shinier, I have second thoughts. A little tinge of guilt…should I feel bad when I abandon reading a book?
On the guilt inducing side…
I feel for the writer, now that I have some idea of the process. The hours, weeks, months and years poured into crafting every single word. Sometimes I feel bad for skimming over sentences, thinking back to my last writing session, where I laboured for forty five minutes over a single sentence. A sentence some callous reader could just skip over!
Then I think about how the writer made it through the gauntlet of the publishing world (although a lesser consideration these days with the thriving indie market), through the anguish of finding an agent and getting selected by a publisher. If it made it through the publishing gauntlet, it must be good, right?
On the other hand
Life is short. There are so many other books I could be reading. There are so many other fish in the sea. If it isn’t doing it for me, I should move on guilt-free.
This does not mean the book is bad. It just isn’t right for me at this moment. If I’m in the mood for a mystery with a hunchback lawyer from the 15th century, then an urban fantasy with a mixed race London bobby in the magical division is not going to cut it.
Of course, reading anything after a fantastic book is hard. Rebounds are always fleeting.
Other times, I’ve abandoned a book only to pick it up again later and devour it. Sometimes I’ve just got to be in the right mood.
After this conversation with myself, I’ve decided I don’t need to feel guilty about abandoning a book. It’s not you book, it’s me.