A Brief History of NOT Finishing Books

I think there’s something masochistic in forcing one’s self to finish reading a book–unless your freshman English teacher assigns it! (I’m a freshman English teacher.) I don’t even always finish reading the blurb on the back of a book if I’m not engaged! Top that!

And highlighting? I don’t highlight. OK, when I went to college, we didn’t have nifty gadgets like Kindles. I’m going to reveal my age now: I took paper and pen notes. I copied page numbers and line notations.

Now, I’m with you. I can read deeply meaningful literature, but I confess to enjoying brain candy, and who needs to highlight the new Charlaine Harris vampire novel? Now, as a high school English teacher, I tell my students to highlight–but not in the school books, only in their own personal copies, Mr. Superintendent, if you see this!

Dysfunctional Literacy

No, I didn't finish reading this either. No, I didn’t finish reading this either.

Some readers take pride in finishing books, no matter what. Even though I’ve never been much of a book finisher, I used to pretend. I’d carry thick, classic, crusty, hard-bound novels like War and Peace or Les Miserables. I could get away with pretending because I had a collection of Classics Illustrated comic books that gave me all the important information. I knew all the names and basic details from each book because of the comics, and nobody in public school cared about theme or symbolism until late in high school. Everybody thought I was smarter than I really was. It was a good gig.

Now it’s possible to (kind of) tell if readers have actually finished a book, and it’s all Amazon’s fault. It’s bad enough that Amazon is trying to use drones to deliver products, but now Amazon is also ruining…

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One thought on “A Brief History of NOT Finishing Books

  1. Ah, one of my favorite questions to ask someone is whether or not they finish a book if they are not enjoying it. I find the answers to be fifty-fifty. I tend to torture myself and plow my way through to the end–no matter what. I wonder what that says about me? Good post. (P.S. I have an 8 year old that loves to write cursive and that soothes my soul so much!)


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