Why It’s Absolutely Okay To Be A Quitter

Quitting gets a bad rap.

Almost three years ago, I retired from roller derby after a serious injury. I struggled with the fact that I had to quit. We’re conditioned to think quitting means we’re a loser, weak, or scared, that it’s always a negative.

The truth is, sometimes it’s time to quit.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

I’ve done my fair share of quitting: jobs, hobbies, relationships. It can be painful to stand up and say “Okay, I’m all done here,” but it almost always comes with a rush of relief.

I’m not saying I quit anything at the first inkling of discomfort, but the older I get, the shorter that window gets, where I’ll tolerate feeling bad.

I most certainly quit books. I used to be a reader who never quit, and I know many people like that. I understand the drive to finish a book you’ve invested time in. Trust me, I’ve hung in there through many sucky books thinking “This has to get better” (but it never does.)

Some readers have a rule, giving a book 100 pages, three chapters, or a similar deadline before they quit. I don’t have any guidelines like that. I’m either “feeling it” or I’m not, and whenever the “not feeling it” kicks in, I put the book down.

There are far too many wonderful books waiting for me to spend my valuable time with ones I don’t enjoy. The same goes for people, activities, and meals!

It’s important to note: Putting a book down isn’t always a permanent pass. Often it’s simply not the right time in my life to be encountering that particular book.

I started The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson twice and was terribly bored. Almost a year later, it was a selection for one of my book clubs so I pushed through the slow part and ended up learning a lot and being glad I read it.

I was 90 pages into Outlander by Diana Galbaldon and ready to quit, when I consulted a friend who loves the series. “Keep going,” she pleaded, “It gets better!” About 25 pages later, I texted her to say things were heating up and I was so glad I stuck with it! Now I’m on the third book in the series.

I’ve only ever quit one book club book, which was People of The Book by Geraldine Brooks. I truly gave it my best effort, but I simply didn’t like it. I greatly value my bookish friend’s suggestions so I didn’t want to give up, but I had to, to stay true to myself. She liked that book a lot, and was disappointed I didn’t, but she respected my need to quit.

Having people in my life who support my decisions to quit (a book or a sport) has been a huge factor in my being comfortable doing so.

What are your thoughts on quitting books and why? What’s a book you’ve quit or wish you had?


  1. Lea Christensen

    May 10, 2017 at 9:51 am

    I admire your full on focus of living your best you. I aspire to it and love it!

  2. Doree Weller

    May 10, 2017 at 10:23 am

    I’m with you; I’m either feeling a book or not. If I feel my attention keep waning, I quit. That being said, I’ve had some books that didn’t work for me at one time, but then when I pick it up later, it’s great. Unless the book is actually bad, I know that not being into a book is more about me than the book.
    On another note… I was nominated for the Mystery Blogger award, and now I nominate you. You don’t have to accept you don’t want to, but it was fun to do. You can read about it on my blog, if you’re interested.
    Doree Weller

  3. The 20 Books of Summer Challenge – While I Was Reading

    May 31, 2017 at 6:06 am

    […] painstakingly sorted through my shelves today and made a stack of 20 for the challenge. Since I’m big on quitting a book I don’t like, I’ve selected 5 […]

  4. On Hating A Popular Book: Into the Water by Paula Hawkins – While I Was Reading

    June 12, 2017 at 4:08 am

    […] Meyer’s The Host in 2010. I vowed to never again force myself through a terrible book. Since then, if I dislike a book I quit it. I stuck with Into the Water because I thought surely it would get better eventually, plus my friend […]

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  7. 8 Series Worth Sticking With – While I Was Reading

    August 23, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    […] written previously about my willingness to quit a book if I’m not enjoying it. I apply this approach to series as well. While I know many avid […]

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  14. Zelma

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    […] *I’ve read this one, and talk about it here. […]

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