Do you have the guilt? Do you feel guilty for not finishing a book and do you know why exactly that is? Well, that’s what I’ll be looking into in today’s post.
Reading or listening to a book is a funny thing; I know for me, I felt like I had an obligation to finish it, no matter what. I have either spent a certain amount of time on getting through it; the money I have spent buying it or I have the emotional connection that I thought I would absolutely love it and I should give it a chance. Ever since the beginning of the year, I have been able to get through more books, thanks to listening to audio books and I thought by doing that, it would be easier for me but I still came across the same problem I had when reading a book.
Guilt is a funny thing and it affects everyone in different ways. If you’re like me, you will feel guilty with almost everything you do. It’s a very heavy weight to have on your shoulders at times but acknowledging that is a step in the right direction. Having explained a number of reasons above, I think my biggest problem was knowing that I had paid money for something and if I didn’t finish it, it felt like I had wasted my money. In a sense, I did but I often try to donate books when I can, especially if I have already read them or if I feel like it would be suited to someone else. I’m giving someone else that experience of reading it, is it really wasted money if that is the case?
We don’t seem to talk about the peer pressure surrounding books. I’m a child of the Harry Potter generation and everyone was obsessed with these books but for me, one book in and I couldn’t get to grips with it. I’m not sure if it was the language used, whether the story didn’t appeal to me or possibly not being the right time for a certain story (I’ll be exploring this further with another blog post). It’s the same with Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings; two books that have had wild success in both their book and film form but both I don’t have a lot of interest in. I tried to read the first Game of Thrones book but the size of it was enough to put me off. (I even tried the TV show but it definitely wasn’t my cup of tea). This type of guilt made me think there was something wrong with me because I didn’t love what everyone else was loving. It’s strange, you know, because you wouldn’t expect everyone to love the same television show or to love the same hot drink so I don’t know why I had this perception with books. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that the fact that I still feel like a failure because I felt like I couldn’t connect with the Harry Potter books. I may still give them a shot but because of my feelings towards them in my earlier years, it may be tainted now.
Another book that I thought would tick all the right boxes for me was “The 12 Rules to Life” by Jordan Peterson. It’s very popular at the minute and amongst the controversial headlines that seem to be popping up, it has been getting very good reviews. I’m an avid reader of self-help and non-fiction books so I thought this would be right up my alley. I bought the audio book version through Audible because I had originally seen the hardback version and the size of it intimidated me, so this was the next best option. With over fifteen hours of listening, I thought that it would be perfect because it was going to keep me engaged but something wasn’t right and I didn’t know what it was. It was frustrating because everyone and their mother was talking about this; I wanted to like it, I wanted to connect with it but I couldn’t. Nothing from it seemed to stick and I again started to have this worry about failure.
However, a few weeks later I had been listening to one of my favourite podcasts and the host Georgie had been talking about things not being for you right now. It didn’t matter what it was; I believe she was speaking about advice and she always says at the beginning of her Q&A podcasts that if something doesn’t resonate for you right now, that’s completely fine. It was something so simple but it clicked with me that the advice that the book was providing; doesn’t mean it’s bad advice or it’s something that I can’t click with at all, it just doesn’t resonate with me right now. I think when situations happen like this, it’s on you to look at other aspects of your life instead of telling yourself it’s not for you at all. I believe it’s different with fiction so I’m obviously focusing on self-help; what are your external and internal factors that could be affecting you? What is your reason for reading it? Are you looking in the wrong direction for the help that you need or are your factors a sign to tell you that this isn’t for you right now?
I certainly believe that you should give (almost) everything a second chance but at the end of the day, don’t punish yourself for not finishing something like a book. There are millions upon millions of books out there and they won’t all be for you. They won’t all be in line with your values and you certainly won’t be able to read them all. You don’t have to finish everything you start but my advice would be don’t push it away without questioning why you are doing it first.
Have you ever not finished a book and felt bad about it? What book was it? Let me know either in the comments or over on my Instagram and Twitter. Thank you so much for reading today’s post, I hope it resonated with some of you too. (All photographs used in today’s post are from Pexels.com)