Do I feel obligated to finish all books I start reading?
Yes and No. All the books I pick now have a screening process to go through first. I look for any sort of title (more intriguing the better), read the back summary, and flip through some pages. If the book fails to hold on to my interests, I don’t check it out. If I bring it home and it’s starting to bore me (or the story doesn’t hold up, etc), I finish it to the end, and criticize it’s weak points later. It’s been a long time since I gave up on a book.
When I was younger I read every last page of any book I got from the school library. I never ‘gave up’ on a book, possibly because I was only in elementary school, and I had not developed a ‘taste’ for anything in particular. Every book I picked up was something I liked. Maybe I was lucky.
It was only until about 5th grade I couldn’t bear to finish a book. It simply didn’t make me interested in reading it. I had read all of Brian Jacques’ Redwall Series available in the library for school, and I wanted to read something extra on the side. I picked up a random book from my bookshelf of old books for the weekend. I am pretty sure it was One-eyed Cat by Paula Fox, and I recall letting it sit on my shelf, with a bookmark set in the second chapter. I couldn’t read it. It was awful and its chapters seemed to only become more boring. I secretly left it on the bottom shelf. Deep down inside I felt like I was cheating or lost some kind of weird pride I had in myself.
After that, I remember trying to pick more carefully, and I read more fantasy than realistic fiction. I scanned the first few pages, and picked more fantasy titles. In 8th grade I attempted to read Usula K Leguin’s Left Hand of Darkness. Admittly, I didn’t realize it was not like the Earthsea books she wrote. I can probably comprehend the novel now that I’m older, but back then, each sentence was more and more confusing. I gave up after the fouth chapter.