I hate not finishing books, especially books that I’ve gotten at least halfway though. I’m on page 66 of the 139-paged “Mathematics in 20th-Century Literature & Art” by Robert Tubbs, and I want to give up so I can read something–anything–else. I’m a slow reader already, averaging at about 20-30 pages an hour for nontechnical books. But with this one, I get through maybe 10 pages an hour. And there’s no powering through it like I normally do when I need to just finish a book. While walking around the house, I actively avoid the book like it was a coworker who has no qualms about shit-talking about me even when I’m well within earshot.
But why not just abandon it? Add it to the stack of about 10-15 other books that I started with good intentions but never finished? These books shame me. They weigh me down. When Newton was talking about standing on the shoulders of those who came before him, that wasn’t a compliment. That was an insult. Those who came before him, namely Robert Hooke, were detestable old men with bent backs. And he was bending them more by standing on top of them. Much like these unfinished books bend my back.