I’ve done it. I’ve called time. I have given up. Titus Groan has gone to the Shelf of Shame. Eight months after I started reading it, I’ve decided it’s not for me, that I have other things that I would rather read and that there is no point in carrying on with something I’m not enjoying just for the sake of saying I’ve finished it.
What prompted my decision? Well it was reading another book that I wasn’t enjoying and deciding to give up on that after 75 pages and only two weeks of trying. The other book was one by an author that I’ve read before but not particularly enjoyed. I was trying this author out again because I’ve seen really enthusiastic reviews and lots of books by this author in the bookshops and wondered whether I’d made a mistake.
When I read this author before, I was living in France and had a very limited supply of English books. There was a foreign language bookshop in town, but the prices were high and the selection limited. I discovered some gems there (my first Isabel Wolff came from there) but some didn’t thrill me the same way. And when you’ve paid £10 for a paperback you know would have cost you £6 tops in the UK, you feel dissatisfied if it’s not Amazing-with-a-capital-A. And I wondered if that was what was behind my previous issues – after all I’d bought TWO of this authors books while I was in France (I mentioned that there wasn’t a large selection didn’t I) so there must have been something there that I liked – even if I had given them away rather than bring them home!
But about a quarter of the way in to the book I still wasn’t grabbed and I was finding excuses to read other things instead, so I decided to give it up. And I thought “How is this different to Titus?” which I’ve been reading it for months, have got about a quarter of the way through and am constantly finding excuses to not read. I was also paying far too much attention to how many pages I’d read – when I’m enjoying something I don’t notice how many pages until I put it down.
So I decided that this was A Sign – and admitted defeat. These two books join my (small) shelf on Goodreads called The Shelf of Shame – The Ones I Gave Up. It’s not a very long list – other books on it include Dan Brown’s third Robert Langdon novel and a Dawn French novel – overall I’ve given up on less than 1 percent of the 1100+ books I’ve got marked as read on Goodreads. I would leave them off my account all together (they don’t count towards my total of books read in a year because I don’t add a date) but this way it reminds me of what I really didn’t like and stops me from making the same mistake again.
I hate giving up on books – particularly if they’ve been sitting on the shelf for a while waiting to be read – but I’ve decided, there are so many good books out there, why waste time on the ones I don’t like. Titus Groan has joined the pile going to the charity shop – after all, he might be someone else’s new favourite book.