Discussion: How do you decide when to stop reading a book?

As a young person, I seem to remember feeling like I had to read all the way to the end of a chapter before I could put a book down. As in, I wouldn’t come to dinner until I finished my chapter. Luckily, that was before I discovered long books with long chapters. Then I got a little older, and I would put it down if I could get to the end of the page. I was experienced enough to be able to remember what was happening and jump back in, but not to remember where on the page I’d left off. These days, getting to the end of a paragraph is sufficient.

But I don’t prefer to stop in the middle of everything. I will if the timer is going off for dinner, but if I’m taking some reading time I’ll almost never stop at the end of any old paragraph. But how do you decide where to leave off for a few hours?

Ideally, I still like to read to the end of a chapter. I mean, books are divided into chapters for a reason. They (usually) create reasonable stopping places, and give your brain time to process what you’ve read.

But sometimes the chapters are LONG, and you can’t keep reading for another 65 pages before you need to go to bed. In those cases I’ll usually read to a page break if I can find one. Those are also natural stopping places, and sometimes I’ll take a brain break at one even if I’m not planning on stopping for the night.

What about when books (and this sometimes happens) don’t have page breaks? Where do you stop? Honestly, I get obsessive sometimes and read to the end of the chapter, even if I really shouldn’t. Other times I’m just like, meh, and stop literally wherever.

How do YOU decide where to stop reading? Let me know in the comments!

27 thoughts on “Discussion: How do you decide when to stop reading a book?

  1. I finish just about every book I start. It may take a year to finish, but I trudge on. The last book I didn’t finish was Elegance of the Hedgehog…just didn’t get what the fuss was about. Though oddly, I started a book last night that might be painful to finish, Ask Me Anything. I ignored bad reviews because I thought the concept had merit…we will see how long this one takes me and if I get another easy read to supplement it

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    1. Ugh, don’t even get me started on The Elegance of the Hedgehog! I HATED it. I read it to the end, and it did not improve. I also finish just about every book I start. The only books I don’t finish are those 1,000 page classics that I end up finding too boring to slug through.

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  2. I do like a nice stopping place – end of chapter, break, but NOT in the middle of a paragraph. I read a lot during my commute, and I would be forced to just stop, and then I would have to re-read parts when I picked the book back up again to get back into the flow.

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  3. I prefer to stop at the end of a chapter–unless the chapter is too long! Otherwise, I’ll look for a natural break in the action, like a scene transition or something. Other people don’t seem to understand this, though? Like if I’m reading and someone says, “Let’s watch a movie!” and I say, “Okay, let me just finish my page or this section or this chapter” they get all frustrated like they actually think I should break off in the middle of a sentence? But who would do that? XD

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    1. Right?! I have finally trained my husband that I’m not putting him off, I just need to find a better stopping place. He didn’t get it because he’s fine just stopping in the middle of a movie or TV show. But now that he’s been playing a lot of video games he’s starting to get it, lol.

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  4. I prefer to stop at the end of the chapter but many times I have to put it aside because my daughter need something or I have do something really important and my husband has habit of coming over to talk or ask something when I’m middle of sentence or chapter and sometimes really exciting scene and once he interrupts I can’t really concentrate back in book until whatever he came to say is done but I finish the sentence or if he can wait I finish the scene and leave it there and start again when I’m sure nobody will interrupt anymore.

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  5. If the chapters are very long (or if there are no chapters), I’m okay stopping at the end of a scene where there’s an obvious space between paragraphs or what not. Of course, if I’m hooked by the book, this is a moot point because I end up reading the whole thing anyway :p

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  6. I often read to the end of chapters, but if they’re long I sometimes count pages and decide ahead of time how much to read, marking with a bookmark. This is especially true if I’m reading for book club and need to finish in time.

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  7. That’s an interesting question. I do most of my reading at the end of the day. I try to read to the end of a chapter, but that’s difficult when the end of a chapter is a cliffhanger. In those cases, I keep reading — usually until I can’t hold my eyes open.

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