Friday, July 19, 2013

Psychology of Abandonment a Study Conducted by Goodreads

Goodreads is one of our favorite book sites here at Mad But Magic.  I was therefore understandably excited when my sister emailed me a study conducted by Goodreads, exploring the top most abandoned books (seeing Ulysses on the classics list was no surprise to me, but that Catch 22 was on there broke my heart!  Seriously, it’s worth the read!).  

When Goodreads looked at WHY people put down books, they  top reason was “Slow, boring” with a whopping 46% of answers.  Though I have to wonder, what does  “Slow, boring” mean?  For me, there are 4 criteria for a good book:
  1. Engaging writing
  2. Inventive plot
  3. Believable character development
  4. Credibility (either a classic, unique perspective, or generally a title that is received with respect)
A book must have at least 2 of these criteria to be worth my reading. 
(Unless, of course, I was going through a little phase and needed some mind candy... no judgments, right?)

Goodreads also discovered that many readers will always finish a book to the bitter end.  I’ve certainly been in this category before, forcing myself to keep turning the pages, rewarding myself for each chapter finished- but this only usually happens when I need to read a book for school or feel it’s going to teach me something worth the time and effort.

Generally, though, I’m a believer that life is too short to waste on a book I don’t enjoy.  
Life's too short to be read by boring people
What about you, readers? What makes you abandon a book (if you ever close ‘em without finishing ‘em)?  Did you abandon any of the “most abandoned books” listed by Goodreads? Clearly you are not alone.



  1. I am one of those people who WILL finish a book no matter what. I've tried to not do it, because honestly I'm just too busy to devote time to something I don't like, but luckily and unluckily I guess I'm a speedy enough reader that usually only means a couple hours I'm wasting. I didn't know that Goodreads did studies, so this is pretty cool!

    1. That's awesome! There have been a handful of books I have pushed through and discovered that the very end made the entire book worthwhile. And you're really lucky to be a fast reader! That helps when there are so many books and so little time!

  2. I try not to abandon a book. I've only done it a few times. I think it's because I'm optimistic that there will be something redemptive before the ending. But I think I'm also pretty good at knowing what I will like and not picking up a book in the first place that will drive me bonkers.

    1. I need to develop better discernment when picking up a book! I tend to go to the library and grab anything that looks good, abandoning more than I'd like once I actually try to read them. And you're totally right that there are a number of books that, when I have read through to the end despite wanting to stop, have been really fantastic by the time I finish!

  3. I used to finish every book I read. I never really heard of anyone who didn't, and I would never even think to stop reading a book simply because I wasn't enjoying it. Which is ridiculous, of course! If you don't like it, why spend your time reading it? However, it is really hard for me to abandon a book. I feel a lot of guilt for not finishing it, mainly because I know that I'm going to end up writing a DNF review on my blog. But, hey, it happens, right? I'm trying to get better at it! Great discussion post, and thanks so much for visiting my blog recently! :D

    1. Our pleasure! You've got a great blog! I also suffer from abandonment guilt. I don't like feeling "beaten" by a book and if I sense I'll learn something from the book or the experience of reading it, I'll usually push through to the end. :^)

  4. Sometimes I force myself to get through, but if a book is mind-numbingly dull, then I'll call it quits. And of course no judgements on mind candy! Sometimes it's good just to read a FUN book. :)

    Sara at The Page Sage


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