Just because you're buying or borrowing a book does not mean you have to read it. In fact, the practice of stacking books without reading them is so widespread that people in Japan even have a word for it: tsundoku . While it is not an exact science to keep track of which books are not ready yet, people have tried to find out.
The Independent reports that in 2013 Goodreads compiled the members' answers to the classic books they had abandoned. Joseph Heller's Catch- 22 took the top spot, followed by four notoriously wordy novels: The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, Ulysses by James Joyce, Moby-Dick by Herman Melville and Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. Strangely enough, none of these novels reached the total list of abandoned books containing some surprisingly popular works:
The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
Fifty Grayscale by E.L. James
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Wicked by Gregory Maguire
It is possible that the film and the stage adaptations of some of the above novels, although initially arousing interest, ultimately have the factor "what happens next?" ruined, which can sometimes be so crucial to give momentum to the reader. And in the case of The Casual Vacancy Harry Potter fanatics might have given up on the novel after realizing that no magical elements would likely appear in the story.
Jordan Ellenberg, mathematician and professor at The University of Wisconsin-Madison, developed his own method of calculating the illegibility of a book he named the Hawking Index. Ellenberg looked at the sections that readers have highlighted on Amazon's Kindle e-readers, and concludes that they probably stopped reading after they stopped lifting the highlights. According to his analysis, the decision to abandon Hillary Clinton's hard decisions is an easy decision ̵
There are millions of people who do not disclose their reading habits at Goodreads or their reading habits at Goodreads If you have a Kindle, do not take any of these statistics too seriously. But do not be too harsh with yourself. If you decide to celebrate Book Lovers Day today by starting Catch-22 and watching Hulus TV adaptation tomorrow, you're probably not alone.
[h/t The Independent]