Let Go of the Book That You Aren’t Enjoying
I want to confess here to all the books that I purchased but failed to finish. Books are an art piece on their own since authors put so much effort into them. It is a pity that some of them did not spark joy in me, but I am sure there are other people outside who would find the books inspiring.
Have you ever purchased the book that people highly recommend or the one from the top-selling? You brought it home and started reading it, but you paused after a few pages. Very soon, you put it aside and never touch it again, then you forget its existence until the day you decide to declutter the bookshelf.
Yet some other time you get a new book, you cannot stop and get into the flow straightaway. You hold the book in your hand. You feel the warmth. You feel the connection. And you just keep reading it. Then before you realize it, time flies, and it is already midnight.
For myself, I remember I got into the flows like this when I was a young kid reading Harry Potter. Funny as it may seem, I read the book in the bathtub and accidentally drop the book into the water and scream loudly about it.
It is not that easy to find a book that connects with you like this way, non could we ensure that all the book we brought in our life is the one that can talk to our soul and keep us interested.
I used to feel guilty when I look at those unfinished books. I felt sorry. So I had to pick them up and force myself to read, even a few lines per day. But deep in my heart, I know those books do not speak to me at all.
We are so frustrated when coming to abandoning books, either because of the money we spent or the reading time invested. I get that. The books are just there, lying on the bookshelf, begging us to touch them. But we fail their expectation.
But what if we could walk away from the book that we don’t enjoy reading? No guilt. No hard feelings. Just walk away when the books do not spark the joy in our soul?
There is nothing wrong with the book, neither anything wrong with you. The mismatch happens because you and the author might have different views, visions, beliefs, or experiences in life.
“The book you don’t read won’t help.”
– Jim Rohn
On my bookshelf, I have One Hundred Years of Solitude, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. They are leaving unfinished since a few years back. I swear I tried to read it; unfortunately, the writer and I could not connect.
Reading is a very personal thing. It is like tasting a coffee, and everyone has a different preference for the flavor. We don’t need to force ourselves to like something that others like. Some people just are more into the water than coffee, like me. And we should never push ourselves to drink something that we don’t enjoy.
Reading is supposed to be an enjoyment. It’s time travel when we go back to the ancient past to learn from the saint. It is the quality me-time when we talk to an author from another part of the world and learn from their mistakes. We don’t want to be a follower when we determine what to read. We want to make our reading choices candid and honest as it will shape who we want to become. We are what we read.
My all-time favorite book is The Little Prince. It touches my heart whenever I read it. Going through the ups-and-downs in life, I read the story over and over again. And each time, I learned something new. Then I thought maybe the writer Antonie seems to connect with my soul, so I went for more and tried to read another book from him — Night Flight. However, it did not spark joy in me; hence I walked away.
I know how sorry you are when you could not finish a book. You feel like you do not respect the author for not reading the whole masterpiece from their hard work. I get it. But as a writer in Medium, I’ve to tell you that I want my audience to be happy while reading my words. My primary drive to write is to bring impact to peoples’ life, big or small. And if you feel like you cannot connect, don’t worry, let’s hang-up here, and I will call again when you are ready to open your heart and talk.
When I was a kid, I loved staying in the library. And I remembered one shelf that was full of the world’s most classic famous novels, namely Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, Little Woman. Still, I never read them at all, regardless of how popular the book is.
Two years ago, I went to a whisky bar in Hong Kong named The Old Man. The bar is inspired by Ernest Hemingway, where you would find the cocktails named after his novels. I love the vibes in there. So my curiosity drives me to learn more about him.
Eventually, when I finished the last page of The Old Man and The Sea, I feel empowered and refreshed. The book was always there in the library when I was a kid, but I never have the motivation to read it. And now, who knows I could fall for the book after 20 years?
My point being is, whether you enjoy reading a book also depends on your experience in life. The ups or the downs. The sweet or the sour time. Those moments would provoke your mind to read a message from someone far away, time-wise or location-wise. Trust me — A book will call you when it is time and at the moment that you need them most.
So next time, if a book does not talk to you, don’t force it. Be brave enough to walk away from it. Let it rest, or gift it to someone who’d need it. Perhaps one day, when you are older, or something happens in your life, good or bad, you would hold those books in your hand once again. To feel its warmth, and finally, let it walk into your life once again.
“There is no friend as loyal as a book.”
– Ernest Hemingway