“A half-read book is a half-finished love affair” –David Mitchell
The first time I read this quote, I stopped in my tracks, went back to the top of the paragraph and read it again. This quote is the epitome of how I feel about books. I cannot not finish a book. I love this quote so much that I now have it hanging above my bookshelf. It fills me with happiness every time I glance at it.
I have always been the kind of person who can only read one book at a time, so I can’t really understand how some people can be half-way through three different books at one time. If we continue Mitchell’s love affair metaphor, I feel like if I am half-way through two different books, I am cheating on them! How dare I lead on one book while I’m involved with another? I must fully devote my time and attention to one story line at a time if I am truly treating my love affair with a book right.
For the most part in my reading experiences, this quote is a non-issue. It makes sense that if you start a book, you will finish it. But there are some books I really want to cheat on. There are some books that are just awful and they drag on. But alas, I am cursed with the inability to put a book down. My mindset is along the lines of, “if it got published, someone must have found something good about it, maybe I will too” I am always hoping that it will get better. Maybe the last hundred pages will redeem it and make it worth my time. I cannot put a book down because it feels unfair to the book. And maybe, no matter how god-awful the book is, I want to know what happens in the end. Sometimes this trait has served me well and the book treats me well. Other times (majority of the time) I am disappointed that I slogged my way through it. But no matter what I am incapable of changing my ways.
I am not sure why I read this way. I would certainly save a lot of time if I could stop a book in the middle. But I agree 100% with David Mitchell. A half-read book is a sad thing indeed. It’s a love affair that has not had the opportunity to be something wonderful, or as love affairs sometimes go, something awful. So until someone convinces me otherwise, I will continue to stick it out until the end. Thank you David Mitchell for so perfectly capturing my feelings about reading into one sentence.
How about you guys? Do you have the inability to put down books? Or are you OK with putting down a book if you aren't feeling it? How far do you get in a book before you put it down? Do you read multiple books at once? Also, do you have a quote, like this one, that shares your general feelings about books?