Opinion | Don’t be ashamed to stop reading


Photo Courtesy of Pxhere.com

A woman wearing a blindfold holds a book in front of her.

By Noah Nelson, Senior Columnist

Have you ever found yourself reading a book solely to say you finished it? I don’t mean a textbook for school or one of the classics like “To Kill a Mockingbird” we had to read in high school. I’m talking about a regular book in whatever genre of your pleasure that you picked to read for personal enjoyment.

You thought you would enjoy the book. It’s probably one you were excited about since the moment you laid your hands on it. You start to read it, then you find yourself drifting away from your focus, wishing you never started it.

As an avid reader, this happens to me all the time. If the book currently on your nightstand or in your backpack doesn’t appeal to you anymore, stop reading it and find a new one.

Life is too short to punish yourself with a book you don’t want to read anymore. When you don’t like a book, chances are it will take you so much longer to finish it. That’s like reading your own version of “War and Peace.” Even if you do that, you probably still won’t finish it.

Reading is a wonderful skill to have. Proven by countless scientific studies, reading improves memory, helps the brain relax, expands one’s vocabulary and yields many more benefits. But if you’re reading something that keeps you on the same page for a solid ten minutes, it’s time to stop it. You have to stay engaged in the story and enjoy whatever you’re reading at any given time.

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Take it from a voracious reader and one of history’s greatest men. President Theodore Roosevelt once said, “a book must be interesting to the particular reader at that particular time.” If you don’t enjoy it, why keep reading it?

Don’t stop reading as a skill or a hobby altogether. That would slowly destroy one of humanity’s greatest capacities. Instead, try different genres, authors or types of work. Expanding your horizons might not be a bad idea.

If you’re a writer and keep pushing your way through a book, think about what type of story you would want to read. As the famous author Toni Morrison pointed out, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

Many people in life have told me they cannot stop midway through a book. If they do, they not only want to know the ending but will feel guilty not finishing it. They just don’t want to read to get there. If you truly would like to know the ending of a book and don’t want to finish reading, look up a summary of the book online. Then move on. 

When finding yourself stuck on a particular book more times than not, don’t feel left out. Having discussed this with many fellow bookworms over the years, they all tell me the same story: they just had no desire to finish it. Many have had the same problem, so one shouldn’t feel unique in experiencing the stress of the situation.

When I don’t want to finish a book, I just choose one I have in my collection at home. If you can’t do that, the library is a great source for free reading. Wherever you pick up your books, make sure they are ones you truly would like to read.

If you find yourself stuck on a book, don’t think twice. Stop it and find a new one. Wherever your reading adventures take you, I wish you all the best.

Noah is a sophomore in the College of Media.

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