Guilt Complex: Why Leaving a Book Half-Read Is So Hard

.Until very recently, Michelle Ginder, a transportation planner in Seattle, forced herself to finish every book she cracked open. An avid reader, she says she felt "like a quitter" for giving up a novel halfway. Then, while plodding through John Sayles's 2011 "A Moment in the Sun" and "still not knowing what it was about," she made a conscious decision to put down the book. She moved on to something more gripping, reading the "Game of Thrones" series.

"It felt so good," Ms. Ginder, 39, says. "There was so much guilt associated with quitting, but when I finally did it, it was liberating."

In the age of the e-reader, dropping a book has never been easier: It doesn't even require getting up to grab another off the shelf. But choosing to terminate a relationship with a book prematurely remains strangely agonizing, a decision fraught with guilt.

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