The Books that Most People Begin Reading but Don’t Finish

atkins-bookshelf-booksEveryone has their own limit of how much time they are willing to invest in a novel that doesn’t grab their interest or insult their intelligence before they abandon it, shelve it, or hurl it across the room. In July 2013, the editors of Goodread asked their community — some of the most passionate readers on the planet — about the books that they began to read but never quite finished. The results of the survey reveal that many readers (and many classic novels) suffer from abandonment issues. Here are some highlights from the fascinating study of literary quitters.

Top five abandoned classics (What were the novels you started reading by never finished?):
1. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
2. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
3. Ulysses by James Joyce
4. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
5. Atlas Shrugged by Any Rand

Top five abandoned modern novels:
1. The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling
2. Fifty Shades of Gray by E. L. James
3. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
5. Wicked by Gregory Maguir

Top reasons for abandoning a book (What is it about a book that makes you put it down?):
1. Slow, boring
2. Weak writing
3. Extremely stupid
4. Ridiculous (or nonexistent) plot
5. Don’t like the main character

When do you abandon a book?:
1. 50-100 pages
2. Fewer than 50 pages
3. More than 100 pages
4. 100 pages

Read related posts: What are the Books You Keep?
How Many Books Does the Average American Read?
The Most Searched Out-of-Print Books
The Sections of a Bookstore

For further reading: