Sources of abandonment

I can honestly say I never gave up on any of the top five “most abandoned” books at Goodreads or even the top five abandoned classics. Of course, that’s because in each case I read two of the five and never started the other three.

The top five most unfinished books I’ve read are Wicked and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Those I’ve not started are J.K. Rowling’s Casual Vacancy, Fifty Shades of Grey and Eat, Pray, Love. For me, the reasons for never starting the last two is simply they aren’t the type of books I like. Some of the reasons for giving up on the books do make you wonder. My favorite is the person who said Rowling’s book is a “far cry from the Harry Potter series.” You only need read the dust jacket or any article about the book and you would have figured that out. At least one person abandoned Wicked because it wasn’t like the Broadway show. I’d agree with that — and venture that the musical is far better.

For classic abandonment, the most abandoned books, in order, are Catch-22, The Lord of the Rings, Ulysses, Moby-Dick and Atlas Shrugged. I’ve read the first two and think I read both of them while in college. I’ve never been tempted to read Ulysses and bulk kept me away from the other two.

Boredom appears to be the leading cause of giving up on a book. Interestingly, though, 38 percent of the readers say they always finish a book. One person admitted, though, that it may be “years later.” If someone is going to abandon a book, nearly 35 percent do so at 100 pages or between that and 50 pages while about 16 percent give up after fewer than 50 pages.

I think it would be interesting to know if people abandon more books they borrow than those they buy. Sometimes, a monetary investment may lead to greater time investment.


What sense of superiority it gives one to escape reading some book which every one else is reading.

Alice James, Alice James, Her Brothers–Her Journal

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