But the reality is a lot more complicated and certainly far from the black and white of those two extremes.
For example, there are some books/series that I just picked up on a whim, have no attachment to, and have no problem dropping even fifty pages in if they fail to interest me. There are others where I just can’t bring myself not to finish the book, even if I’m not particularly impressed and probably won’t be picking up the next installment. Then there are series that I’m legitimately emotionally invested in and I get actually angry and conflicted about dropping it when something major happens that I don’t agree with or that makes little sense. I’ve cut series some slack and am very hard on others because of how personally invested in them I am and the quality I expect from the creator(s).
On the other hand, I’ve had plenty of series that didn’t impress me to begin with but grew on me over time, or I found the ending really impressively tied everything together. I’ve seen far more series that started out strong and then got worse over time. In fact, I’m having a very bad run of luck lately when it comes to falling in love with a series and then later being highly disappointed in the endings or the directions they take.
So dropping a series is not always as simple as the standard advice (“well, if you’re not enjoying it, stop reading it”) makes it out to be. A lot of it depends on that particular book/series and what it means to you. Just because this is fictional doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect us, sometimes in profound ways. For the most part, I’m in the “finish books you start” camp. I feel that unless there is absolutely nothing about a book that interests you, you should finish it. It might surprise you – a particular plot might get interesting or a character might intrigue you. Sometimes it’s really hard to drop a series, especially one you’ve been invested in for years. But if it’s really no fun anymore and you just can’t stand it, it’s time to drop it and look for something new that’s more to your liking. Or write it yourself.
What about you? Are you a “finish the book no matter what” type, or a “drop it on a whim” type? What circumstances change your answer? Let us know!