How Many Books Do You Finish?

Last Friday my fellow CR blogger Lynette confessed she doesn’t read as much as she’d like     to.

Now it’s my turn to confess: I finish only twenty percent of the books I start. Ugh. I know, what’s wrong with me? Most people I know even gut through books they end up tossing in the recycle bin when they’re done. There’s something inside that makes people want to finish books we start. Me?

Not so much.

As I pondered why I put books down so easily, three reasons came to mind:

1.    With so many books out there I don’t want to spend time on a sluggish book. Another confession: I’m getting older. (Don’t let my boys see this, I’ve never admit it to them.) Time is running out so I want the books I do read to be all out winners. (Probably why I rarely re-read books, which I did often in my teens and twenties.)

2.    I’m reading a lot of manuscripts for endorsement these days, so when I read for pure pleasure I don’t want to work at it.

3.    I get bored easily. A few years ago I tried to read David Copperfield—which some say is Dickens’s best work—and I set it down after sixty pages. All the description did the big time bog down on my brain. I want page turners.

Am I alone?

(Uh, before we go on, please repeat after me: “I will always finish Jim’s books, I will always finish Jim’s books … )

What percentage of the books you start do you finish?

And what books have you read lately that you “couldn’t put down”? If you like, tell us why. Inquiring Jims want to know.


About James L. Rubart

Husband, Dad, Author, Speaker
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9 Responses to How Many Books Do You Finish?

  1. I completely relate. As I get older, I realize that I don’t have TIME to waste on a book that doesn’t resonate with me (or at least entertain me). I would rather put it down and go on to another book, searching for one that glues me to the page. Those are total gems.


  2. Martha A. says:

    I have found as I have gotten older or maybe have more choices as far as number of books to read, I have gotten much pickier. I will set books down and never finish them. There are some though that I see the cover and think “I want to read that again!” One book that I can re-read over and over is “The Diplomat’s Wife”. Pam Jernoff in this book combined a good historical story line with some romance, pain, and drama, along with unique twists that leave you struggling to figure out how it will end. It might all be totally realistic, but you want to know what happens in the end because you don’t know.
    I also don’t like a book with too much drama in it or if the character is in too much danger all the time. It makes me not relax, and I like to relax with a book! I want the character to have down times too, and not just be in constant danger. I loved the Zion Chronicles series, but there is only so much danger and death you can handle and I have to set it down and read something where happy thing happen to families.
    I have to be in the mood for it! I really liked The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen! That was one loved to the last page!


  3. ausjenny says:

    I would say 95% of books I start I finish but then I am choosy as to what I read. I know I am not big on suspense or chick lits so unless the blurb grabs me I wont read the book. I am on a few blog alliances but have learnt what I like and dont. Last year there was only one book I didn’t finish and that was because of the language in it. there was another if not for the fact I was reading it for judging in readers choice. It took ages and would have put it down if not for the fact I had to read it. I have a few books from the years before I didn’t get to far into. If I don’t like the book by about the 3rd chapter I will put it down.


  4. “I will always finish Jim’s books (reading Book of Days now). I will always finish Jim’s books.”

    It’s nice to know I’m not alone…I think last year I started more books than I finished (hence, my confession). If I’m not grabbed so I can’t help but read the book, the more likely I am to not finish a book. My number is probably 30%-35%? Just venturing a guess…


  5. Linda says:

    There’s probably a handful or two that I haven’t finished. They are usually way over my head. I’m always curious, otherwise, to see what piece of truth I might find in the book I’m reading. I’ve read a lot of books, so it’s only a few I don’t finish.


  6. May we qualify this? I will read every book I pick up to actually ready. That doesn’t mean I pick up every book with the intention of reading it. I have to look through it, get some dialogue, and…sorry, I can’t help myself…read the end. If the ending passes the test, I’m going to read and enjoy that book.


  7. Hannah, sometimes I wish I could do that for movies so I wouldn’t watch some that I wish I hadn’t watched … Like Message in a Bottle …


  8. jelowder says:

    Life’s too short, so if a book doesn’t grab me either with plot or prose, then I punt. Sometimes I’ll purposefully only read a 1/3 just to get a “feel” for the author’s style.

    But another factor is that I’m a SLOW reader. When I’m with my wife at the beach, I get irritated at how she can polish off a stash of books while I struggle to finish the one I’ve had for months. After years of this public abuse and humiliation, I lack the gumption to complete books. It’s her fault! 🙂


  9. vickihinze says:

    I can’t accurately gauge the percentage but I can say I don’t finish books where I don’t feel invested. More so now than earlier. I used to believe if I started a book I had to finish it. Not anymore. I have little pleasure reading time and I am not going to spend it on a book I’m indifferent toward.

    Ahem. That NEVER happens with a Jim book.


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