Posted on September 7, 2019 at 4:00 PM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek
Mental Floss offers two different answers to the question of which book readers most frequently abandon.
First, it cited Goodreads’ inquiry in 2013 about which books its readers stopped reading.
There are two lists in the post — one just of classics, the other of more popular and modern novels.
But given that this survey was done so long ago, we’d rather share what a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison found.
Jordan Ellenberg analyzed Kindle’s highlighting feature to see where readers stopped highlighting, based on the assumption that when highlighting stops, so does reading.
Of course, it’s an imperfect method — not everyone uses Kindles, let alone e-readers, nor does every Kindle user even highlight — but it yields fresh titles that you can feel better about abandoning:
Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton.
Capital in the Twenty-First Century, by Thomas Piketty.
Infinite Jest, by David Foster Wallace.
A Brief History of Time, by Stephen Hawking.
Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman.
And lest you connect length with quitting — Ellenberg hypothesizes that 98.5 percent of readers finished Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch, which is nearly 800 pages long.