I just want to preface this with my "bad" may not be your "bad"- and just because I don't like a book doesn't mean it's not well written. THAT being said, I feel like too many Bibliophiles fall into the trap of "I started this book so I have to finish it now". It's my trap. I have fallen into it more times than I can count. If not to at least to say you read the thing (especially if it's something like War and Peace or Les Miserables ), or just because it's popular (Fifty Shades of Grey or Twilight), reading is supposed to be enjoyable. Don't force down a book like a bad piece of sushi if you don't have to. Sometimes it might be too many grammatical errors that send a book flying against the wall (I'm reading for errors as I type this part, ha) or maybe it's just too tedious. Don't make yourself do it. We all love to add that one last book to Goodreads- but sometimes it just doesn't hit the spot if the whole experience was painful. I personally just end up being bitter about having to flip through multiple pages of words that end up having no real meaning for me. Doesn't that sound like a waste of time to you?
I actually had this epiphany the other day when I still had the same amount of books staring out at me from my library pile. I just couldn't keep reading a couple of them, and this was after I forced myself to finish Big Magic (that takes a certain personality type to appreciate it in all of its odd glory). After trying to read Cruel Beauty I decided to start a new book (The Darkest Part of the Forest) and I definitely didn't regret it. Part of my reading desert may be the genre I'm reading in (If you're a writer you need to read a lot in your genre to help cultivate your style and see what kind of themes are current). Young adult books are a little more simple in plot, so sometimes it takes a little time to find a book that portrays realistic young characters, while also being entertaining or sophisticated enough to keep my attention. If it does that to me, what kind of attention are these books getting from younger readers? Because I sure know they aren't stupid. Now, I do know that some tedious reading is required in high school and college, and that some of it is needed in order to gain reading comprehension and experience. But I think we can make it more enjoyable by switching some of the older books out with newer classics that have some of the same advanced themes and comprehension levels. We want kids to want to read, right?
It has a lot to do with the publishing industry. They follow what sells and they take clones of whatever is popular and pop them out like Tic Tacs until something unique takes off on Amazon, then they get to start chasing that instead. This is one of the best times to be a reader if you know how to use tech. E readers have opened up a whole new can of crazy, imperfect, unique, and interesting books that otherwise wouldn't be available in the traditional publishing market. Try a new author, a new genre, a new medium (Audible anyone?), just don't read a book that makes you miserable.
As for my generation, pre-Amazon, we lucked out with Reading Rainbow. Who doesn't remember that theme song?