Infrequently, I simply have to put a book down and walk away. I have to give myself permission not to finish it. After years in book clubs, I've discovered that perseverance often pays off in reading something that isn't in my comfort level. I gain insight, I learn things (even if they are succinct arguments why I don't like the book, or author, or style of writing).
But yesterday I gave up on reading Diana Gabaldon's Lord John and the Private Matter. Perhaps its because I just finished reading another book that I had to struggle to complete. Whatever it is (and it definitely could be me so this is in no way a reflection on the author or book), I had to stop and read something else.
So I went in search of my Get Out of This Book Free Card. Many years ago my local library gave them out. I eventually misplaced it, so then created one of my own. Not sure exactly how it's supposed to work: do you put it in the book you want to stop reading, then take it out? what about ebooks? how long do you put it there?
To simplify the process, I now write on the back of it the date, author, and title of the book that defeated me. Not that I'm usually planning on going back and attempting to read it again (although this last one might be in that category, and I did finally read Shogun, so I do know it can happen).
Reading should be enjoyable, at least on some level. When it's not, well, I have my card!