What Does It Take For You To Give Up On A Book? There are times when a reader gets to a point where he or she just can't bear to finish a book. For some, there is a kind of guilt that comes with abandoning it. Chicago Tribune culture critic Julia Keller talks about when to give up on a book, and the struggle to return to unfinished works.
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What Does It Take For You To Give Up On A Book?

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What Does It Take For You To Give Up On A Book?

What Does It Take For You To Give Up On A Book?

What Does It Take For You To Give Up On A Book?

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/125461040/125461030" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Herman Melville wrote Moby Dick, a classic many never finish. Hulton Archive/Getty Images hide caption

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Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Herman Melville wrote Moby Dick, a classic many never finish.

Hulton Archive/Getty Images

There are times when a reader gets to a point where he or she just can't bear to finish a book. For some, there is a kind of guilt that comes with abandoning it.

Chicago Tribune culture critic Julia Keller recently confessed in a column to her inability to get through author Hilary Mantel's book, Wolf Hall. In spite of shivering with anticipatory delight at the prospect of reading what she calls "indisputably the Big Book of 2009," Keller found her mind wandering. Finally, she could read no more, and guiltily closed Wolf Hall.

Keller took her dilemma to her readers. "Why did I feel like such a heel for not loving Wolf Hall? And why did the prospect of not finishing a book fill me with shame, dread and self-loathing?"

Her readers responded at length, prompting a second column, "Readers Say When." She shares what she learned about when to give up on a book, and the struggle to return to unfinished works.