If reading books is to survive as a leisure activity—and there are statistics that show this is by no means assured—then we have to promote the joys of reading rather than the (dubious) benefits. I would never attempt to dissuade anyone from reading a book. But please, if you’re reading a book that’s killing you, put it down and read something else, just as you would reach for the remote if you weren’t enjoying a TV program. Your failure to enjoy a highly rated novel doesn’t mean you’re dim—you may find Graham Greene is more to your taste, or Stephen Hawking, or Iris Murdoch, or Ian Rankin. Dickens, Stephen King, whoever. It doesn’t matter. All I know is that you can get very little from a book that is making you weep with the effort of reading it.

Nick Hornby, Housekeeping Vs. The Dirt