105 Ways to Give a Book

It’s Not You, It’s Me

Sometimes you just know that it isn’t working out. Sure, there was an initial attraction, but then... nothing. You’re just bored. Little irritations become big issues. “Who uses the word paradigm anyway?” You fight to stay invested. It may get better. It may be worth all the struggles in the end. But maybe you’re just not in that place now, for something light or something serious or something different. You know you need to make room in your life for something new, but it feels so wrong.

It’s okay to say, “It’s not you, it’s me,” when you’re dumping a book.

The CourtesanI dumped a book just this week, and do feel some regret. It was The Courtesan, by Susan Carroll, and as I was reading it I had the sneaking suspician that I was missing something, after the first one hundred pages seemed to be all back story. Maybe the first book in the series would be good, but I am just not willing to invest that kind of time in a book I was only marginally interested in in the first place. So, one hundred pages into it, I stopped reading and returned the book.

You can dump a decent book if it just doesn’t fit you, doesn’t engage you, doesn’t interest you, doesn’t make you want to keep reading. There are too many fish in the sea — or books on the shelves, as it were — to waste time on the wrong one. Even if it’s just the wrong book for you, for now.

I was not always this harsh, this cold. I would read the worst book to the very end, but I would be resentful. I wasn’t enjoying myself, or worse, wasn’t reading at all, stifled with guilt over the book I was avoiding. I had to change. I still find it difficult to let go, but it is getting easier.

I helped a friend get out of a bad book relationship recently. With a young child, she has limited time to read and was strugging with a book of short stories. We talked about it, and I told her it was time to move on — especially with A Million Little Pieces waiting in the wings. She took my advice and later confessed what a pleasure it was to finally remove the bookmark from the pages. You go, girl! Movin’ on.

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