Random Bookish Thoughts: DNF

Posted March 19, 2015 / Discussions, Other Memes, Weekly Memes / 17 Comments

random bookish thoughtssTHE DNF. (For the newbies out there, a DNF is when you mark a book as “did not finish.” You stop reading the book, set it aside, and may or may not ever return to it.) I think I’ve mentioned in the past how difficult it is for me to DNF books, even when I’m not really enjoying them. I know there are LOTS of bloggers who are able to stop reading books whenever they can. I don’t know why; I just can’t bring myself to do it most of the time. I was talking with Lisa on Twitter recently and she brought up some great points. I decided to poll some fellow bloggers on the number one reason they decide to DNF a book and use them as inspiration for this post.


Why do I rarely DNF?

When I talked with Lisa about this, the main reason I came up with was the fact that I first have plenty of time to read. Honestly, my boyfriend and I are not busy people by any means. We prefer to hang out at home. He’ll build Legos or play video games while I read. On top of that, I have some time in the morning to read before work. When Chris gets up and leaves for work at six, I usually can’t fall back asleep. This gives me almost two hours of reading time before I have to start getting ready for work. I also always have an audiobook going, so I can read while I shower, get ready, drive, cook dinner, and do laundry. Nonstop reading, folks. I’m also a very fast reader. Maybe that’s why I have such a hard time remembering what happens in books – I read too fast and forget all the details I skim over. Regardless, I read pretty darn quickly. The combination of having a lot of reading time available and fast reading speed, I don’t DNF too much. Why? Because I don’t feel like my “reading time” is AS precious as other people’s. Don’t get me wrong, you know I looove reading (or else this site wouldn’t exist), but I just don’t have to worry about “wasting” it as much… if that makes any sense. I love reading, but because I can eat up more books than average, I’m less likely to stop reading if I don’t like something. It’ll probably only take me another hour to finish, anyways, right…?


When do I DNF?

DNF haveI’ve only DNF’ed three times, and honestly I barely count two of them. I obviously don’t do this very often. The Lovely Bones was the first book I DNF’ed and it was back in college, before I even knew what it meant to stop reading a book like this. I had always finished books. I always felt like I enjoyed all of the books I read. Basically I had started the book over the summer before college and brought it along with me. I tried to read it a few times before bed and just never could get into it. I put it aside at some point because I basically stopped reading in general. I just didn’t have the time while I was in school. I read a bunch of other books on my summer breaks and winter breaks, but I never picked this one up again. I don’t think I’d ever bother picking it up again. Salt & Storm was a book that Cristina and I chose for our first Book Buddies review, but it was pretty boring and I didn’t like the writing style. She was still waiting on hers to come in from the library so we essentially said never mind and picked up something else. I figured I’d come back to it, but I’m not sure I will. Losing It was the most recent DNF for me and it was for a variety of reasons. The biggest issue I had was with the characters. I just didn’t care; I wasn’t invested in their story. I think the audiobook narrator made things a lot worse, but that was my main concern. If I have literally NO curiosity about what’s going to happen with the characters or the story, there’s no point in carrying on.


Why do other bloggers DNF?

How do you decide to DNF?

There are plenty of instances for everyone where you just can’t decide if you should keep going or quit. Based on everyone’s replies to my tweet, I compiled two lists below: why you should keep reading and why you should stop reading. I think there are plenty of reasons to DNF or not to DNF, but it’s all up to your personal preferences. There are so many books where I’m SO glad I decided to keep reading when things got a little boring… 

DNF glad didnotLet me start by saying that even though I’m glad I didn’t DNF We Were Liars or Rites of Passage, it doesn’t mean I ended up enjoying them. It just means that I’m happy I stuck it out until the end for one reason or another. We Were Liars, to me, was so incredibly boring… while simultaneously fascinating. I just HAD to know what happened to her that summer and figure out the mystery. The twist ending was pretty crazy and I did not see it coming. The ending definitely made the book “worth it” but still earned less than average marks from me overall. Rites of Passage was a hard book for me to get through. I was definitely tempted more than once to just stop. The main character’s badassery and perseverance helped me keep going. I was fairly invested in her story; I wanted to know she made it through everything and survived her first year. It was tough with all of the sexism and repetitiveness, but I think it must have accurately captured the environment in some military academies. It opened my eyes up to something out of my comfort zone, but that’s really all I got from it. I also despised the ending. A Great and Terrible Beauty (which I plan on rereading this year) started slow and opened me up to a new genre, but I’m glad I continued. I really loved it. Historical fiction is not my thing, but adding in the magical elements really made a difference. Princess of Thorns was another that started slow… definitely even slower than AGATB. You’re kind of thrown into the world and given some confusing backstory, but the story picks up around the 100 page mark. I absolutely LOVED the rest of the book, even though I contemplating quitting before I hit my stride. So glad I kept going!
DNF no

On the flipside of things, there are countless books that I wish I did stop reading. There were so many aspects I just didn’t like or didn’t care about, but I went through with them anyways. You can just tell that the book wasn’t going to improve and there was no reason to keep reading.
DNF shouldaThe Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender was truly one of the dullest books I’ve encountered. I did slightly care about the ending, which is the only reason I kept going, but everything else just did not appeal to me at all. It was a book that told the story of many generations in the Lavender family. Ava didn’t even enter the story until like halfway through. I think. I tried to block it out of my mind. I hate to say that it felt pointless, but that’s really the lasting impression with me. The book didn’t seem to have a bigger purpose and was just one sad story after another. Depressed me hard, man. September Girls was just…so awful.  The cover is so glorious and the premise is so intriguing, but the main character was a horny sexist teenage boy that just sucked so much. The whole thing was bizarre and not enjoyable. If you want to know more, Debby’s review is pretty much my favorite. I think my hatred for Fifty Shades of Grey is pretty self-explanatory, given the abusive and misogynist nature of the book. That’s all I can say about that at the moment. Promposal was a recent almost-DNF for me. It’s not that the book was BAD or anything… it just wasn’t anything. I was excited about the promposal premise and liked the dual perspectives of the two friends. But it fell flat just about everywhere else. I was hoping for just a little romance or swoons to make up for it, but that aspect was super bland too. I just didn’t ship anything or anyone. I finished it really quickly, so there wasn’t a lot of wasted time, but it just was so MEH.
DNF yes


What do you guys think? How quick are you to DNF? What are your DNF guidelines? Any books you’re glad you pushed through and finished? Tell meeee.

17 responses to “Random Bookish Thoughts: DNF

  1. I’ve never been someone who’s been bothered with DNF-ing, even before I started blogging. That’s not to say I do it a lot (I think I did it about 4 times last year but I also read 67 books, so it’s a very small percentage). I tend to DNF a book if by 100% I’m just not into it (with YA that’s usually about 1/3 of the way through the book which is definitely a fair point to judge, I think). When I DNF earlier on in the book it’s because I have a serious issue with slogging through the narrator’s voice (this happened to me with “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” the narrator sounded so young and immature I only made it to page 16). There are also some books that reside in that limbo space for me, that I put down for months now but don’t have the heart to DNF because I WANT to like them (Delirium by Lauren Oliver and Wicked by JLA are some examples). There’s definitely relief when I DNF books I’m truly not into, especially because I almost NEVER skim. I feel like “What’s the point?” of reading a book if I’m skimming it, so 99% of what I read I read fully, word by word, so I like to make sure the book is worth taking that time for me!

    Great discussion!

    Cristina @ Girl in the Pages recently posted: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski | Review
    • I know what you mean! I don’t know why I don’t have that kind of willpower. I really only DNF when I get to a certain point where I just snap. If the character’s voice bothers me but I like the story, I tend to stick around… and vice versa. I’ve been better about putting books aside but my issue is that SO often I end up being really happy that I kept reading a book instead of DNFing. I recently read Station Eleven and it was a hard book I almost stopped reading.. but it was so worth it by the end!

  2. I don’t often not finish a book. It might take me over a year to finish reading, but…hey at least it’s finished, right? I’ve even suffer through books that I recognize will be one-star reads from the beginning. These are usually books that people seem to be obsessed with; I want to be on the same page as everyone else so I trudge along.

    There is one book that I have not finished, and I really don’t know why. Across the Universe by Beth Revis. I devoured the first half of the book, and then…I don’t know what happened. It was a e-book that I borrowed from the library, and I just never checked it back out. Sometimes I think about picking up where I left off because I think I’d still like it…I just haven’t.

  3. I don’t DNF too often, but I have done it a lot more since starting my blog just because I’d rather move on to another book that I might like. It still bothers me to DNF a book because I feel like maybe, just maybe, something could change in it and make it more enjoyable. I usually know by 35-40% if I’m going to DNF it or not.

    Erin @ The Hardcover Lover recently posted: Soundtrack Saturday (23)
    • Exactly! I used to never DNF but starting a blog and reading a lot more books makes me more likely to DNF. Why waste my time on something I don’t like?
      That’s my biggest issue usually – I always feel like it could get better and I’ll regret it.

  4. I’v been trying not to DNF recently, and I don’t really have any general guidelines to follow. It all depends on the book for me, but usually I try to give the book at least 100 pages or around 25% before deciding to put it down, and it’s usually because I can’t connect with the characters or get into the writing.

    So sorry you DNFed Salt & Storm. 🙁 It was actually one of my favorites last year. Personally, the writing style was just a great fit for me. My aunt gifted me The Lovely Bones a few years back, and because I know I’ll never read it (I watched part of the movie and just NO), I ended up donating it instead. I managed to get through Losing It but I hated it, so I’m happy to tell you that you’re not missing out on anything there.

    I think I got through almost half of We Were Liars before putting it down. Nothing made sense to me, I hated the writing style and I wasn’t intrigued whatsoever. I’ve heard awesome things about the ending, but I just can’t bring myself to pick this book up again. I actually thought the first half of Rites of Passage was better than the last half! The romance got on my nerves a lot. AND HOORAY FOR NOT DNFing PRINCESS OF THORNS! I loved that one myself. 🙂

    Ha, I DNFed Fifty Shades half way through. The toxic relationship was not working for me and I absolutely hated Anastasia’s immature voice. I liked the movie a bit better though. xD

    So yeah. I’ve DNFed a handful of books, but personally if I truly believe that I’ll get back to the book or try it again, I don’t mark it as DNF. I have a separate GR shelf for books I should continue next time. 🙂

    Aimee @ Deadly Darlings recently posted: Review: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
    • Yeah I know what you mean! I don’t like to DNF, but I need to do it more because I suffer too often trying to finish bad books. Haha thanks for the heads up on Losing It! To be fair, I started reading it for a Book Buddies review and at the time it wasn’t grabbing me enough for the Halloween/spooky theme we were going for. There’s a good chance I pick it up again someday. I’ve heard people either loved it or couldn’t get into it!
      Totally agree on Rites of Passage! First half was much better. We Were Liars is just jfglkfdjglkjfdg I have no words. I didn’t like it but I’m glad I stuck around for the ending. Pretty sure I gave it 2.5 stars. Princess of Thorns though<333
      Thank you for the comment 😀

  5. I never used to DNF, back before I started blogging. I felt like ever book was redeemable. Now though, I don’t have any issues putting a book I don’t enjoy aside. Typically I give it about 20% in and then read reviews on Goodreads to see if there is any reason to stay. More often than not, I find out there isn’t and just move on to something else. I have way too many possible books out there to read that I will fully enjoy! I’m a very fast reader though, so I tend to know very quickly if it’ll work or not. I wouldn’t finish watching a tv show or a movie if it was bad or boring, why a book?

    Anne @ Lovely Literature recently posted: Anne’s five mini reviews: February 2015
    • Exactly! That’s the kind of attitude I’m trying to adopt. I’m a fast reader as well and could reasonably just finish the book, but why waste your time? I’m constantly overwhelmed by the amount of books I want to read; there’s no reason to add to that issue by reading ones I’m not enjoying! Thanks for the comment 🙂

  6. I do disagree with you about DNF’ing a book. I am a VERY fast reader AND since I am unemployed, I have tons of reading time. That being said, I still find my reading time precious. 🙂 Also, I have hundreds of books on my TBR. My opinion is that there are way too many great books out there to waste my time with ones I hate. At one time, I never marked a book DNF. But there have been times where I literally want to do ANYTHING else but read because of the book I am reading. I just had an epiphany that reading is a hobby and shouldn’t be a chore. I generally will give a book 50 pages or three chapters, whichever comes first. If the book is just okay, I will probably keep reading. But if after that point, I am hating the book then I just mark it DNF with no guilt. 🙂 I am surprised I made it all the way through Lovely Bones though. I was not a fan of this one.

    • Yep – everyone’s reading habits are different! I’m more likely to finish a book because I anticipate that it may get better. But I do generally try to stop myself if I’m really hating it.

  7. I have never really DNFed.
    I do read fast.
    But I’m also optimistic. (Which is HILARIOUS because I’m a terrible pessimist. I call myself an optimistic pessimist. I’m like, ‘Yeah! The world’s gonna end! Woohoo!’)
    I have high hopes for books. And, sometimes, reading a bad book makes me go ‘Oh. That’s what a bad book is like. Okay.’ So I realize which books ARE bad and which AREN’T. I figure things out like that. Trial and error, you know.

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