I liked Shannon’s post a while ago about giving books a fair chance. Sometimes, despite all the warnings, we read books we know we probably won’t like. We want to read them because just MAYBE we will like them. We read and read and read, and (some of us) refuse to DNF. I’m usually one of these people. I always push myself to just finish the thing, especially when I’ve read nearly half of it. The biggest thing with DNFing books usually – for avid Goodreads users – has to do with the challenge. Do I include it in my numbers for the year because I read some of it, or does it not count because I didn’t finish the book? How do you decide?
Books I’ve DNFed in my Life
The list of books I’ve marked “DNF” is so small, I can include literally all of them here. There are probably a few more from my childhood but I don’t remember at this point. These all happened between college and now. All of these books except two of them were DNFed before the 50% mark. The other two were after.
How many of these will I come back to someday? I would think less than half. Some of them were probably mood-related while others… there’s no coming back to. I usually have a decent idea of what I want from a book. If a bad book can hold my interest, I’ll keep reading. The minute I start losing focus and have literally zero desire to pick up the book again, that’s when I make the DNF decision.
Counting DNFs Toward Challenges
Long story short, yes I (sometimes) do. The whole point of this post was to share my personal method for how I include DNFs in my reading challenge and why. I feel like so many people struggle with this. If I DNF, I just wasted time I could have spent on another book that would actually count for my challenge…
If I read over 50% of a book, I deserve credit for that book.
In general, I count books over 50-100 pages for my reading challenge. I don’t like to include super small novellas (20 pages) unless I know I’m going to meet my challenge. I don’t like to add them in and feel like I’m cheating just to reach the challenge at the end… if that makes sense. In any case, any time I read 50% or more of a book, I feel like those books deserve to be counted. Why not? I read anywhere from 100-200+ pages in the book to get to that halfway mark, so I don’t think that reading should go unaccounted for.
Goodreads protocol: I add the book to my “read” shelf so it will count for the challenge. Then, I add it to the non-exclusive shelf “DNF over 50 percent” so I can keep track that it was a DNF.
If I read under 50% of a book, I don’t include it.
This is completely personal preference. I just don’t want to add the book into my reading totals if it’s a DNF. This can be difficult sometimes. My numbers for 2016 were off because I somehow set a “read” date for Crimson Bound AND put it on the “did not finish shelf,” so my Goodreads challenge showed one more book than the rest of my locations did. In any case, this system helps clear up those problems. I don’t include them in my challenge, so any book that I barely got into isn’t counted as finished.
Goodreads protocol: I add the book to my “did not finish” exclusive shelf, so it can’t be counted on my “read” shelf. It keeps those books separate from my Goodreads challenge totals.