Books On Pause

I start books with the best of intentions. Like, when I grab a book to read I usually intend to finish that book, by hook or by crook. You know those people who are masters at deciding when to DNF? I am definitely not one of those people at all. However, I’m not talking about DNF books today. These books are totally in a different category.

Books On Pause  | Good Books And Good WIne

The books I want to talk about are the ones that have been on your currently reading shelf since 2010 with not a whole lot of progress. These are books that you don’t want to DNF, books you fully intend to read and do not actively dislike. But you just have been setting them aside in favor of other, more shiny books. Or you’ve been setting them aside because they don’t currently grab you and you just aren’t in the mood.

Y’all — in looking at my currently reading shelf on Goodreads – I have 8 books that I’m making my way through. I have been reading four of those books for over a year. One of those books, FYI, I’ve been reading since 2010. What are the books I’ve been reading for over 6 months? The Three Musketeers, A Clash Of Kings, Enshadowed, and Zombies Vs. Unicorns. Any normal person probably would have DNFed by now, but I just can’t make myself.

Like, with A Clash Of Kings I pick it up when I am between books and if it happens to be a point of view chapter from a character I am not in love with – namely Bran and Catelyn, I set it down for goodness knows how long. Or with Zombies Vs. Unicorns, I had intended to read it very slowly just doing a short story a week – but somehow I got behind and have only recently picked it back up. With Enshadowed, it’s definitely a case of I SHOULD DNF THIS, but I just can’t because I LOVED Nevermore and so, I keep hoping it will get better and that maybe I just need some time before I get back into it – also I purchased my copy and because I spent my money on it I can’t set it aside.  Or with The Three Musketeers, I just love Alexandre Dumas but I haven’t really been in the mood for this book so I have it on pause until I get back into the mood.

I fully intend to read all of those books through to the very end, just I am so not in the mood right now. And LOL, needed to work through those feelings with all of you.

What about you? Do you happen to have books sitting on your currently read shelf for an abnormal amount of time? What books? Why? Do you keep some books on pause instead of DNFing them? I am all ears, y’all.

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. I’m the same way. Right now, I have A Song of Ice and Fire just hanging out in my Nook. I got to page 100-something when my Nook power cable crapped out on me, and I haven’t picked the series back up. And The Night Circus. I started it, but just can’t seem to pick it back up and finish it. Even though I’ve only heard great things about TNC.

  2. Dude, this happens to me like ALL of the time. Like, I am about 80 pages into Taken, and I’ve been there for like a month now. If I do finish, I’ll probably have to reread the first part. Oops. I’m also stalled in the middle of an audio. It’s not even bad, but the chapters are so freaking long and my iPod touch resets to the beginning if I pause in the middle of one for too long, and then I don’t know where I was and have to relisten to some of it, and it’s so hard to find a FULL HOUR to listen to one damn chapter. RANT OVER.

  3. Ahhh this is my biggest reading problem! For me, I have been “reading” The Help and Uglies since AUGUST. It’s mostly because I got a bunch of library books, and since I own both those books I thought, “well, I’ll have these forever but I will only have the library books for a couple weeks” but then I just kept on getting library books (oops!). And NOW, I’m reading Romeo & Juliet for school, and also I rarely have time for reading lately. So…. sorry books, I’ll pick you up again one day. (probably in August haha!)

  4. I’ve been reading THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak for almost a full year now…which is a bit embarrassing. The only reason I haven’t DNF it is because everyone says it’s incredible (and I’ve enjoyed the first 100 pages, but it’s strangely easy to set that book aside in favor for something else).

    I also got one chapter into CHAINS by Laurie Halse Anderson about a year and half ago, set it aside because I wasn’t in the mood, and still need to go back and finish it (because really, it’s LHA – her writing is fabulous).

    Nice post! I’m glad I’m not the only one who does this!

  5. Recently, Fuse and Hysteria have been put on hold. (Just read your review of Hysteria, so you know where I’m coming from.) Long-time hold is Finnikin of the Rock. I feel like something’s wrong with me because I can’t get through that book….

  6. This happens to me too. I’ve had Throne of Glass from last September. Still unfinished.

  7. I’ve had The Immortal Rules on my currently reading shelf since December (which is long for me). It’s not that I don’t like it–I think it’s more that everything that happened in the middle of it (like the holidays) distracted me. And now that I’m fully distracted, I have trouble picking it up again.

    This post makes me feel less guilty for struggling. So, thank you for that.

    (PS. I see you’ve got Thesis. Please allow me a moment to profess my love for Thesis. I hope you’re loving it, too!)

  8. I can’t do that, I don’t know why, but I either have to be actively reading the book, pause for a few days to read something that I just can’t not read at that moment, or I have to give up on it. But I also have no problem not finishing a book, something I know that drives a lot of people insane.

    Also, I finished Wild Awake last night (I had left you a comment when you posted your review that I was dying to read it) and I have no clue what I thought of it. I feel like I have to go back and read it again ASAP.

    • I rarely DNF books, mainly because I am stubborn. I always only have 3 books on the go at any time. Bed book, toilet book and my Kobo for when I am away from home.

  9. I’m the same way. The books on my pause shelf are: Enders Game, Wuthering Heights, and Oliver Twist. Just can’t seem to ever finish them. Glad to know I’m not alone. I just can’t bring myself to DNF them.

  10. Like you, it’s virtually impossible for me to DNF a book! I just can’t bring myself to do it — I like to hold out hope until the bitter, bitter end. Sometimes it pays off and other times… not so much. As for books on pause, it happens to me more with audiobooks. If I can’t tolerate a particular reader or the story lacks any sort of viable action, I’ll turn on my ipod instead. So yeah, it can take me FOREVER to finish an audiobook. I don’t really do this as much with actual books. I more the “suffer in silence so let’s just get this over” type. I do, however, have books that are on my TBR shelf that I’d love to read but they keep getting shoved further down the list in favour of the newest and shiniest book-of-the-moment. I’m trying really hard to play catch-up with my list this year though.

  11. I just culled a big ole pile of books from my TBR pile & donated them to my high school’s library & a fellow teacher’s classroom library. They’d been sitting on my shelf so long…I’d still like to read them at some point but this way, at least they’ll get out and get read instead of gathering dust.

    My “pause” book at the moment is LET’S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED by Jenny Lawson. I can’t read it all in one fell swoop because, as funny as she is, her life’s pretty crazy and tragic and overwhelming.

  12. I have a pause book at the moment, because it’s so enormous. I’m reading The passage from Justin Cronin between books, so I believe I’m already 4 months busy in this one. It’s not that it’s bad, not at all. I actually really like it and it’s a very exciting story, but other books are calling much harder :p

    I’m not difficult with DNF. Not anymore. I used to read every book, but now I feel like it’s a waste of my time. I read because I enjoy reading, so I’m not going to force myself into reading a book I hate.


  13. I have been 99% done with Infinite Jest for two years. I can’t bring myself to read the last 12 pages because I have NO IDEA what’s happening and I’m not about to start over.

    I am in the middle of two audiobooks I started years ago, but at some point I decided I’m not that crazy about audiobooks – I don’t like being read to. Room is interesting enough to hold my attention while I’m doing something else (knitting), but The Omnivore’s Dilemma is kind of boring and makes me feel bad.

    Looking at my Currently Reading on Goodreads, I’ve also started: Cloud Atlas, but I don’t even know where my copy of that is at this point, A Short History of Nearly Everything which I loved, but it started to freak me out when it got to the part about meteors killing everyone on the planet (I probably have 20 pages left to read), Lolita – again, no idea where that even is.

  14. I’ve gotten better at this, but YES it is a problem. I don’t want to DNF such books because I could like them. Jane Eyre has GOT to be the worst example of this for me. I like the book–a LOT actually-but I get halfway through before something shiny catches my eye. It’s Jane Eyre, it’s not going anywhere, it can wait while I read all these awesome new releases I need to read right away. In theory, it’s true, but that means those books hardly ever end up finished.

  15. This sort of happens to me but when I eventually get back to the book I want to start it from the beginning. That is because I want to refresh my memory. Recently this has happened to The Casual Vacancy even though I really liked it but something more interesting caught my eye and I forgot about The Casual Vacancy. I should get back to it at some point though!

  16. Antoinette says

    LOL I thought I was the only one! I have 3 books that I have been “reading” for some time…And for the most part they’re books where SO MUCH IS HAPPENING that I need to break in between… Under the Dome (been “reading” since November 2009), Game of Thrones (since August 2012 and currently concentrating on finishing), and Ender’s Game (started in December 2012).

  17. I have books on my shelves for a long time, but it’s mainly because I am a very slow reader for some books – not necessarily because I’m having a hard time getting thru them. Like I’ve been reading Anna Karenina since the beginning of 2013. I’m almost finished, and I’ve been diligent about reading a little bit at a time, but it has taken up space on my Goodreads shelf for a long time. Also I’ve been doing an amazing re-read of American Gods that is so ridiculously slow that I didn’t even bother to shelve it as ‘currently reading’ because I’m reading and re-reading sections as I go. I love that book so dang much. Also I’m reading a non-fiction book that is a tough read because of the subject and it is one of those that is like five-minutes-at-a-time audiobook + print for me, so it’s taking up space for a long time.

    My shelves get cluttered because of those underneath books that I read super slowly while I’m reading other books, mostly. But I totally GET what you’re saying. I do!

  18. When I decide to put a book on pause, I really set it aside and just start it when I’m in the right mood. I really am a mood reader, so what I want to read totally depends on how I’m feeling – and often results in me putting books on pause!

  19. I’m TOTALLY on this right now with Finnikin of the Rock. I want to like it. I REALLY do. But we’re not connecting. I dunno.

    BUT I’m glad I’m not alone! WOO!

  20. Oh, I know what you mean! I got a few of these but I’ve reached the point where I know I most likely won’t go back to read these.

    One of the ones I got paused is Between Shades of Gray. I totes mean to read it but its just too sad.

  21. I’ve had one book on my currently reading shelf since November … but it’s a Diana Gabaldon book, so it’s big AND I totally remember where I am in it. I pick it up here and there, but just haven’t found a huge chunk of time to finish reading it.

    Also, I signed up for the Song of Ice and Fire readalong, so that means those books will be in the currently reading state for some time … AND I was hoping to start reading a chapter a day of War and Peace.

    Sometimes I get antsy seeing the same book over and over again, but I’m learning to deal. 🙂

  22. DUDE I have totally been guilty of this lately. Like, when I don’t know which book to read or what kind of book I want to read (contemp vs paranormal vs adult vs sadface emo book) and I’ll start one, but then set it aside. NOT because it isn’t good, but because it isn’t what I want at that moment. Will I ever come back to them? Who knows.

    Thanks for putting my current book problem into words!

  23. I thought I was the only one that did this! I currently have had The Diviners and Watchmen on my shelf since November, and some stuff has been there longer. I do genuinely want to read them, I just have not gotten there yet. Excellent post.

  24. Oh my god. I do this all the freaking time – although I do quietly returned them to my ‘TBR’ on Goodreads occassionally otherwise the Currently Reading list would be infinitely long.

    It’s not that I hate the books, it’s just that I have other things I want / need to read more, or it’s intense and I need a break, or I’m not feeling it. But I can’t leave them too long, otherwise I forget (old age is a bitch!) what happened – so I tend to start again (sooooo ineffecient!).

    I think it’s because I just don’t have the balls to DNF forever! Pausing is a much kinder way of putting it 😉

  25. I also don’t DNF a book. But I also don’t put books on pause, not really. If I’m reading other books in the meantime, then I end up forgetting where I am in the paused book and having to reread. So if it’s been a week or so and I have no desire to pick up the book in the near future, then I take it off my physical shelf and off of Goodreads. I wish I could better manage books and be able to pause and return to them, but I just can’t. I’m jealous of people who can.

  26. So true with Game of Thrones. The fourth one in the series…A Feast for Crows? All the narratives are by the characters that I strongly dislike (namely Cersei and Jaime). Not looking forward to that one because I’ll miss John and Arya 🙁

  27. I am definitely someone who will DNF a book if I am not feeling it. But at the same time, I will put a book on pause, too.

    I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of Nancy Pearl. She’s this super readers’ advisory librarian. She has some books called Book Lust and More Book Lust.

    Anyway, I heard her speak once, and she was talking about how much to read before you give up on a book. She recommends reading 50 pages before you decide to DNF a book. Unless you’re over 50 years old. Every year over 50, she says to subtract from those 50 pages. For example, if you’re 52, subtract 2 from 50, and that’s how many pages you should read (48) before giving up on a book. Her reasoning is that by the time you’re 50, you’ve read enough books to know what you like and don’t like in a book. Also, since you’re on the down side of life, you don’t want to waste time reading something you don’t like. I always thought that was kind of funny.

    BUT, she did say that just because you decide to DNF a book, that doesn’t mean you can’t go back to it another time when it feels right to read the book. I think that’s like putting a book on pause.

    I know I’ve put books on pause, although never for over a year, I think. Definitely months, though. I think I did that with Breaking Dawn.

  28. This. So much this. I have a whole stack of books that I’m part way through. And it’s totally not that I wasn’t enjoying them. Sometimes I needed to stop and read a book for review. Or maybe I just left the one I was reading at home so I started another on my kindle and just never went back. WHY DO I DO THIS?!?! I really just need to take a week to finish all the books I’ve started (and was enjoying!)

  29. I completely hear you! I get too embarrassed after a while and move the book from the currently-reading to the to-read shelf on Goodreads, but I keep my bookmark in it and give it the stink-eye occasionally! This happens a lot with longer books when I’ve just been spending too much time on it and feel pressure to read something else *sigh* Unfortunately I have no idea when life will calm down enough for me to catch up with them D:

    Anya @ On Starships and Dragonwings

  30. I have 11 books “on hold.” You’re not alone here, gurl.

  31. I absolutely have this problem. There’s actually only 1 book on my Goodreads “currently reading” shelf that’s been there like a year, but that’s only because I started a “finish these later” shelf and moved a bunch of books to that one that I had been “currently reading” for ages. There’s definitely 7 books on that shelf that I started in 2011 and 2 that I started way back in 2010. Oops!

    I definitely have the same issues though, I just can never bring myself to DNF but I get distracted super easily and just start new books all the time, especially since the public library in my new town has an awesome YA section. It’s a problem.

  32. For me it’s the Night Circus. I wanted this book the second it released and I’ve been stuck at 1/4 ever since. I find myself drifting, thinking about amazing things like grocery lists and how I forgot to shave my legs that morning. And omg Holy imagery!!! Just tell
    The damn story, lady. I think I just might give the book away so it will stop haunting me.

  33. APRIL. OMG. I think you’ve been in my head. This happens to me so often, I can’t even. Sometimes DNFing doesn’t even occur to me, even though it’s been so long since I’ve put a book down that I’ve basically passive aggressively DNFed it anyway. I don’t like DNFing, and I can honestly only think of three times that I’ve ever put a book down knowing that I wasn’t going to pick it up again–Beauty Queens by Libba Bray (I KNOW), Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin, and The Education of Bet. And even among those, I feel like I would give Beauty Queens another go. I just can’t comprehend picking up a book and not finishing it! Even if it’s not something I’m enjoying or clicking with, so I sometimes have a tendency to drag things out incredibly long because I’m too hesitant to admit that I’m just not feeling it. It’s basically me being a wuss about making a firm decision to give up on a book.
    But I also totally subscribe to the “I’m not in the mood for this one right now” theory, too. I have a goodreads shelf called “come back to me later” for this very reason, because I really do believe it’s just a part of my reading. I’ve put books down and come back to them later and LOVED them, so I know it’s not just an excuse for me to not DNF things.
    What a ramble this comment is! I’ll spare you more of my drivel about the finer workings of my reading habits. But you are most definitely NOT alone in this AT ALL. LOVE this post, April!!!

  34. Haha, I do the same thing. I have one book that’s coming up on a year (It’s Our Prom), and I actually recently traded one that I had been “currently” reading for about six months (The First Days). No DNF, just– Sayonara bookie! I won’t be missing you, even though I didn’t dislike you. So yeah, I do the same thing. You’re not alone, April. (:

    Um…It’s Our Prom, for whatever reason, just doesn’t work for me. I can only read it in little increments, and at this point I have no desire. Maybe I’ll trade it too.

    For The First Days, I really have no problems with it! I just…don’t know. I think that maybe every other book is shinier…and more YA.

    Lovely post, April! I’m glad that I’m not the only one who does this, LOL!

  35. You must have an awesome memory! There’s no way I could pick up a book after 6 months and still remember what was going on last time I read it, unless I took good notes to have as a reminder!

    I do understand not wanting to DNF, esp. when you spent money on the book!


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