Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Quitting Books And People

Yesterday I quit reading Poe's Cat by Brenda Walker.  I don't think it's an awful book.  I wasn't completely bored or offended.  But the book didn't hold my interest enough. Reading it wasn't enjoyable. 

Although I feel conflicted about quitting the book( as I always do), I'm also proud of myself. 

I'm trying to get better at this whole quitting thing. 

And I think I actually am.

Poe's Cat isn't the only book I've quit in the last few weeks.

I also quit reading The Great Escape.  The subject of the book might be fascinating, but for me the writing was too dry. 

My ability to quit books is improving, but not perfected. I've recently completed books I did not enjoy.  One of those was Forefathers by Nancy Cato.   I was bored by it, but kept hoping it would get better.  It finally did...for a few pages. Then it went downhill again.  

An email-pal and I have been talking about quitting books. He helped me see the connection between quitting books and quitting people.

I'm not good at quitting books.

Nor am I good at quitting people. 

It's very rare for me to quit a person, and when I do I feel very conflicted about it. 

Actually I think I've quit only one person in the last few years, as in please stay away from me.  We should not have any more contact.  

I wish I was better at quitting people and books. Although I wouldn't want to be too good at it.   There are times where I think it's best to grin and bear it. For example, sometimes you have to read a book for a class. The book might be boring, but you make the best of it. 


Some people's lives are so intertwined with our own.  It's not worth it to severe the relationship. It's too complicated.  

Still, though. Even when situations are less complicated, I have trouble quitting people.

Books are hard to quit, but people are even harder.

If you don't like a book you can just put it down.  You take the bookmark out and put it in a new book.

What do you do with people in your life when you realize you really don't like them.  Do you write a good-bye email?  Do you just back away and hope they'll leave you alone?  Do you purposely try to repulse them in some way? 

And now I have to sit here and wonder.   Are there people in my life that feel this way about me? 

There probably are.

They may be stuck with me because they don't know how to get rid of me.

It's funny if they're the same people I'd like out of my life. 

It's not funny if they're the people I adore.  That would be sad.   

I don't know.   Now that I'm writing this, I'm starting to think maybe it's much too hard.

I want to continue getting better at book-quitting, but maybe I don't want to improve my people quitting. 

I'm thinking maybe it's best to usually leave it up to fate.  If people aren't meant to be in our lives anymore, the relationship might fade away naturally.

Or we can also work to reduce relationships rather than abruptly ending them. That works sometimes.  


  1. Ah fantastic post because I struggle with both of these. It's near impossible for me to give up on a book even if I'm not enjoying it I always force myself to finish. In fact I can only think of 4 books I've ever just said enough is enough to. And one of them is Nicole Richies thinly veiled 'fiction' because I found it insulting to my intelligence.

    As for people, I quit a lot of people last year when we moved away. Co workers and acquaintances I knew I'd never keep in touch with and for the most part I left without saying goodbye, not to be ride but because of some kind of unique circumstances. But leaving those people was easy, there were another bunch of people that I had to cut out of my life because they were poison ( a family I nannied for) but it was the hardest thing I've ever done because of my attachment to their child. I made it clear all communication with them had ceased on my end but they continued to harass my parents until the Police became involved. It was very messy.

    Sorry didn't want to leave such a longwinded response but this is exactly the kind of blog entry I love to read, one that really makes you think..

  2. Kate,

    Thank you!

    Your comment makes me think as well. One thing it made me realize/remember is that toxic people can become MORE toxic when you try to end things with them. That's not to say people should stay in toxic relationships. But it can partly explain why people hesitate to end things.

    You never know what's going to happen. You don't know if it will escalate into something in which the police will have to get involved. It's kind of like you're damned if you do and damned if you're don't.

    Hopefully you're okay now with all of that; but I can imagine it wasn't an easy road. And yeah. It's very difficult when a child is involved; and you're attached to the child.

    Moving is a good way to quit people. It was even more effective in the past....before we had email and Facebook.

    It's funny about the books. Two people recently have inferred that it's admirable that I continue reading books even if I don't like them. I think it's annoying, not admirable. Yet I read your comment and feel inadequate, because you're much better than me at not-quitting. I've quit much more than 4 books in my life.

    What is it then? Do I value perseverance, even when it's unnecessary perseverance? I guess I do. That's probably the main reason I struggle with quitting books.

    Still though. I'm going to continue to strive towards my goal of having less perseverance...at least when it comes to books.

  3. Congratulations on quitting books Dina ;D (that sounds like 'books in general' the way I said it). Naturally I didn't mean that...
    Quitting can be fun.

    Quitting people IS certainly interesting. I think you hit it pretty well when you say that if it's not meant to be that things naturally fade (leave it to fate, I think is what you said.. and I could go and look - but that would involve lifting my hands from the keyboard). ♥

    I remember a time when I thought about the "should I do something to repulse" a person I wanted to leave.. I can't remember if I did anything to intentionally repulse said person. I don't think I did, but I'm sure I thought about it. And it is funny to think about stuff like that. It's hard to be rude, though (at least on purpose). Except for to salespeople.. some things come naturally to me ;) (well I'm exaggerating)

    But very cool on quitting books. I am really proud of myself for not skipping to the end of that drama I watched recently. It's not a book - but I do often skip to the end of books and sometimes too to the end of tv series like the one I was watching. However, this time I was 'good' and watched the whole thing in order. ;)

    Well good luck in quitting more books in the future (as needed ;) ) And not quitting people (unless, of course it is needed).
    I'm a little biased, but I don't expect there are many people who are stuck wondering how to 'quit' you.
    Have a great week.

  4. HappyOrganist,

    That is such a sweet thing to say. I'm so touched by your compliment. Although I think you feeling that way is more about your being very tolerant and less about me being very tolerable.

    I have some very annoying traits; but I'm working hard to improve myself. Maybe less people will want to quit me. That's not to say people are quitting me left and right. But there may be a lot of people WHO want to.

    What drama did you not skip ahead to?

    You've made me realize I AM good at quitting movies...or not even starting them.

    I have very little perseverance when it comes to movies.

    Do you think it's a bad thing to look ahead to the end of the book or drama? I personally don't think it is. It saves you from dealing with unneccessary suspense; and also might save you the torment of watching something that might have a stupid ending.

    Also sometimes things are more interesting when you know how they're going to end. You can pick up clues you might have otherwise ignored.

    That's not to say I often look at spoilers. But I do on some occasions, and don't feel bad about it.

  5. I don't think it's a sin to skip to the end, no ;)

    Saves a heck of a lot of time, in fact. Especially for slow readers like yours truly... ☺

    Sungkyunkwan Scandal

  6. Congratulations on your leave taking!

    I would never skip to the end of a book that didn't interest me because I probably wouldn't care enough.

    Everyone comes with annoying habits. For me, I first have to decide whether the people are worth something to me. If they are, then i negotiate habits. Truly!

    "If you stop putting spoons in the sink so I get showered when I turn the tap on, I promise to...."
    [Sorry, can't think of any of my own annoying habits just now.]

    Not a habit but a terrible character flaw of mine is putting up with toxic people til I blow my top and go over the top. I'm learning to just distance myself instead. And to never, ever, ever say why.

  7. Fruitcake:

    In the last few months I quit a book and skipped to the end before putting it back on the shelf. I did it because I felt one of the reasons I hesitated quitting was that I was slightly curious about how it ended.

    I think sometimes some of us endure awful books and movies because we want to satisfy our curiosity.

    You're way to picky about the spoon habit. OR am I just saying that because I'm guilty of the crime?

    Seriously though.... It's probably a good idea to negotiate the annoying habit thing. Sometimes it can be hard to do so without offending someone. Well, it's hard to bring up annoying habits. But bargaining might be a more benign way of doing it.

    Although do you wait until they complain to you, and then bargain? Or do you bring it up first?

    I'm so like you in the putting up with toxic people and then blowing my top. Distancing is so much better. And I agree that it's a mistake to tell them why. Toxic people are often manipulative, and trying to reason with them is just adding more fuel to their fire.

  8. Aha... I KNEW it. You look just like the type that puts spoons in sinks. I knew, I just knew!

    I never negotiate annoying habits on a first date.
    First, I gather information. Oh, so they don't like it when I do x [sorry, still can't think of anything I do that could possibly be annoying].
    Then I sort through the list of my own bad habits and establish a hierarchy of irritation. What can I offer to stop doing that will matter least to me, but give me the most bargaining power with them?

    Sorry, I'm channelling Milton Friedman again. I do wish he would go away.

    So anyway, I wait until something really gets to me and then open negotiations when I am feeling most powerful and dangerous. Soon it will be the blender in the sink. But which way the toilet roll goes will never be negotiable. Never.

  9. Fruitcake,

    Okay...Ms. Perfect.

    So are you the one who puts the blender in the sink? Or are you bothered by other people doing it?

    OR do you wish people would put the blender in the sink?

    I'm so lost.

    Wait...blender in the sink. Maybe it's not a bad habit. Is it some kind of Aussie idiom?

    I googled...not finding anything.

    If we're judging people based on toilet paper habits alone, it's likely you'd hate me.

  10. What's with everyone getting mad at people putting dishes in the sink? ;) I only mind when they're stacked HIGH in the sink - otherwise it's a sort of ideal place for dishes...

  11. HappyOrganist:

    Yeah...I think that's it. A few dishes in the sink is fine. It's less fine when there's a big pile.

    We're bad and often have dirty dishes all over the kitchen.