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Restarting A Book You Were Enjoying

A photograph of a watch resting on an open book

How long a time between starting a book, leaving it, and picking it up again would you/do you need before you choose to restart? This is presuming you were enjoying the book and put it down out of necessity (maybe you just didn’t get back to it). In this, the ‘you’ is you yourself rather than people in general.

From my experience so far, a fair amount of time needs to have passed between putting down the book and restarting it. If attempts are being made to continue it can make it more difficult; just continuing the book, to me, means having only really read the latter part or so on, two distinct reading periods creating the effect of reading two books.

A restart after a long time feels right to me because by then I’ve forgotten enough to feel that it would be an entirely new read. I view the decision in the context of reviewing – I won’t have done the book or author justice, I won’t have had as good an experience, if I just continue. I’ve found restarting too soon adds up to wasted time – it’s the extreme reverse of ‘sunk cost’ and effectively just creates a variation on a theme.

Sunk cost comes into it for me, though, and so whilst I may restart, I have to be far enough away in time for that to really work. I kind of have to get away from my own imposed ideal.

What has been your experience?



March 29, 2017, 2:17 pm

I hardly every restart entirely; usually I go back a page or two to remember what I was reading and then go on. I always have had partially read books all over my house.

Literary Feline (Wendy)

March 29, 2017, 2:55 pm

With one exception, I have not had to restart a book I was enjoying and had to set aside for a little while. Mostly because the time frame in which the book is set aside is not long enough to make it a problem.

The exception is a book I started reading 20 or so years ago, was really enjoying, but set aside because of university work and never got back to. I still want to read the book in its entirety, but I will likely restart from the beginning when I do.

If I ever manage to get through War and Peace, that may be another one. I’ve started that one three or four times now to always end up stumped and never returning to it. Maybe I should just start where I left off and not worry about how much time it takes me to read it–even if takes years. :-)

Jenny @ Reading the End

March 30, 2017, 12:24 am

Ooh, good question! I’m thinking about it, and I don’t think there’s any fixed amount of time — it’s just a question of library checkouts, I think.



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