Do you know that feeling when there’s this one book that’s been lying around for weeks, that you’ve started multiple times but that you just can’t finish? That is what is called “book-block“. It happens when you’re reading a book that you keep on trying to finish, but you just can’t get there. It can be because you’re not that interested in the book, because there’s a character or scene that’s frustrating you, because you don’t like where the story is going, because … So many reasons, but I’ll bet it’s happened to all of us!


The Reading Agency did a survey, and 54% of readers tend to suffer from it. It’s a form of reader’s block. Not where you don’t know what to read, but it’s when you are reading a book that you just can’t seem to finish. People can get stuck on a book that they aren’t enjoying for as long as three months. And why don’t they just put that book down and forget about it, you ask? Well because 22% of the surveyed feel like they should always finish every book they start.

I can understand that. I also can’t just put a book away and never finish it. I’ve only ever done that with one book because it frustrated and annoyed the hell out of me. I don’t remember the name of it or what it was about, but it was a children’s book and had a waterfall on the cover. Not that that matters. Anyway, that is the only book I’ve ever not finished. Every other book, I have finished, even the ones that sucked. Even those books where I know three chapters in that it was never going to get any better, I’ve always stuck it out.

And I do experience book-block from time to time. Especially when it’s one of those books that’s not going anywhere, but that I still want to finish. And there are also a few books that I have been reading for weeks, months or even years. Just look at my Goodreads “currently reading” shelf! These are the four books that have lingered there:

  1. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
    I know, I know, shame on me! I love LOTR, but from the movies, not the books. And the fact that I bought one of those huge 3-in-1 volumes, doesn’t help either of course. I struggle with this book because there are so many foreign words in there, and I’m never sure if it’s the name of a person, a word in a language Tolkien made up, a city, a thing, … All of the Elven and other languages really throw me. Trying to read all of it in a week would probably help, but I just can’t get myself to do it. But I’m not giving up! It’s been on my list since August 2012, and it will stay there until I finish it!
  2. SuperFreaknonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
    This book has been on the list since September 2012, and that’s not because I don’t feel like finishing it. It’s because of the format: this book is filled with little interesting facts and tidbits, and I started flipping through it in 2012. I’ve since put it back on the shelf and haven’t opened it again. Basically, I should put this book in my bag to read on the train. The format makes it perfect to read on the way and the content is quite interesting. Twitter-worthy even! I’ll get back to this soon!
  3. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
    The story here is similar to the book before. I started reading it while a little distracted, put it back on the shelf and kind of forgot about it. I’ll get it out again soon, to start reading again. Short chapters and anecdotes make this another good book to read on the go!
  4. The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
    I’m kind of embarrassed to admit this, but I haven’t finished this book yet. I bought it expecting Rowling’s light-hearted, easy-going writing style. But it’s something so completely different that it threw me at first. And now I’m stuck with the idea that this is a weird, difficult book that’s too complicated for my liking. None of that is, of course, helping me open this book and start reading it again. I think I’ll take this book along on my next vacation or long car trip. Forcing myself to really get into the story, and I’m sure that Rowling will be able to draw me into what’s going on again. This is a real book-block for me. I feel almost traumatized thinking back on those 3 to 4 times I started reading this. But I was never in the right mindset. Now that I’ve been reading the Cormoran Strike series (which I loved), I’m open to Rowling’s other writings again. So, soon!

Do you have any of those books that you’ve been wanting to start (or finish) for a long time? Have you experienced the book-block anxiety? Be sure to let me know, we can start a support group together ;-).

Happy reading,

Loes M.

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