Discussion: DNF-ing.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Today I'm coming to you with a question:

Do you DNF books?
(Did Not Finish)

I ask this for several reasons:

1. First and foremost I needed a discussion topic for today.
2. I just recently DNFed a book so it was on my mind.
3. I have been seeing other people talking about this more lately.

Before I started blogging, I can think of one book that I ever DNFed. That book was Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I felt kind of bad about it because it was a book that my grandma had bought me and it was like $20 for a paperback. But I got to like, page 30 and I could not go on.

I tried reading it again and I had the same problem. I might have pushed myself to read at least a couple more pages than I had the first time because it pained me to leave it unread. But once again, I simply could NOT do it! I don't really remember what my problem with it was, but I guess I don't want to try a third time to see if I can figure it out.

I have pushed myself through many a book that I didn't want to finish simply because I bought the book, therefore I had to get my money's worth of it.

Examples would include:

Shatter Me & Destory Me by Tahereh Mafi
The Fifty Shades of Grey books by E.L. James
Nights in Rodanthe by Nicholas Sparks
(This one I was stuck in the waiting room of a hospital with while I was waiting for my dad to get some procedure done so I really had nothing better to do than read it.)
Paper Towns by John Green
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare
(This one is mostly because I had already invested so much time into the series that I had to see it to the end, but I wish I wouldn't have.)

Since I started blogging last year, I have become at least a little bit more okay with the idea of DNFing a book. I think at least part of that acceptance comes from the fact that they've all been review copies I've DNFed and therefore I don't feel like I'm throwing my money away by not finishing it.

I still really don't enjoy it. I feel bad about it. I don't really know why I should feel bad, but I do. That book I DNFed deserved to be loved more than I was able to love it.

All that being said, I've only DNFed five books that I can think of.

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Beyond the Red by Ava Jae
The Sisters of Versailles by Sally Christie
Black Dove White Raven by Elizabeth Wein
Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

I've seen a lot of good points people have made about DNFing books. I never really thought about it before that much because I don't do it very often.

From these points, I have started to adopt some new etiquette for my DNFs.

I created a DNF exclusive shelf on Goodreads, since if I didn't finish it, I can't really say that I read it. I suppose it could depend on how far I made it into the book, but I'm pretty sure that I bailed fairly early in all of my DNFs.

I got rid of all the star ratings I gave to books I DNFed because if I didn't even make it far enough into any of them to feel like I could count them as read, I sure didn't read far enough to give it a fair rating. Plus if you don't rate it, it looks like it has zero stars and that seems accurate for me.

I have seen where people don't think that you should review books you didn't finish, but I like to kind of recap what I all read and explain why it didn't work out for me. I think that's fair. I like to post them to my blog too because you know, that's something to post.

What will cause you to DNF a book and when do you decide to DNF?

When I DNFed the first book that I just couldn't finish, I asked on Twitter what was an acceptable place to decide to quit and most people told me 100 pages. So the first couple books I DNFed I made it to at least 100 pages before I said NO MORE!

Then I started to see more people saying they wait til at least page 50 to see if it hooks them and that made me feel so much better about DNFing Black Dove White Raven at page 68.

There's really nothing specific about a book that I have found that makes me go, okay no more. Like if the characters are awful or the romance is awful or anything like that.

Basically I have based my DNFs on how big my sense of dread is when I think about having to pick that book back up. Or how boring it is up until the point I find it acceptable to DNF at.

I have put books a couple of my listed books down because I was so bored. I put one down because I hated the format of it. It was a lot of info dump too. I put one down because the romance made me dread having to pick it up again.

What about you? Do you DNF? Why do you DNF? What is your DNF etiquette? Lay it all on me.


  1. This is a really great discussion topic!

    It's quite rare that I DNF a book, because I think I'm always a little bit hopeful that it will get better. If I find myself constantly complaining to people about it though, that's when I know it needs to go. If you can't find anything good about it, and as you say, have that sense of dread when faced with the prospect of picking it back up again, I don't think it's worth carrying on.

    1. Sometimes being hopeful just isn't enough to push through the awful parts to get to the better parts! Which is too bad, but I agree, I try to push through too! Until that sense of dread just becomes too overpowering. It's just so hard sometimes and usually it doesn't seem like it ever gets good enough to make up for how terrible it was.

  2. I DNF books soooo often now ^^' Life is too short and there are too many amazing books around to spend time forcing yourself to read something you hate. My policy is if I'm unsure about a book, I give it 25% and if I'm still hating it, I DNF. On some rare occasions, I DNF even earlier, simply because the book is just too horrible to keep reading XD I love this discussion!

    Brittany @ Brittany's Book Rambles

    1. I agree. I am done forcing myself to read books I don't like. I have been doing it entirely too much out of a sense of obligation, but that has to stop and I think that my DNF list is going to grow a lot. It's already got one more on it since this post was written! That's TWO this month alone! Wild.

  3. I finally allowed myself to DNF books a couple of years ago, and it's seriously SO freeing. I'm of the opinion that not every book will work for every reader - and that's totally okay! I usually wait till I'm about 50 pages in or 5 chapters in, and then if I'm still not into it, I drop the book.

    1. I LOVE that free feeling you get when you finally allow yourself to put that book down! It's so awesome! I wish every book I decided to pick up would work for me, but since that just isn't the case, I have to get more comfortable with this! It's generally not such a problem, the problem arises when it's one that someone specifically asks me to review. I'm just scared to tell them that I don't like it!

  4. I will often not finish or skim books. I don't talk about it, however, because in most cases it doesn't impact my ability to review it. I know enough about myself as a reader by now to be able to say when I don't want to finish a book for personal reasons and when I don't want to finish because the book is just not that well-written. I also think reading any part of a book still counts as reading it--you've read as much as you are going to read. It doesn't really necessitate a special classification in my opinion although I know that is not a majority opinion. I also think you can totally review a book without finishing it as long as you take the time to say why the book didn't work for you and who it might work for. That's really all anyone can ask!

    1. I didn't think that they really needed special classification either, but when I started looking into other people's opinions on DNFs I saw all the reasons why people think you shouldn't mark them as read and I thought it all sounded fair. And now people can see on goodreads which books I didn't finish which is all fine and dandy with me! And I definitely agree about reviewing it! A review is just your opinion of the book, so there's no reason why you can't share your opinion on why this book wasn't good enough for you to finish! I don't even remember if I try to say who I think a book might work for in my DNF reviews, I have written so few of them! I should though if I don't! Haha! Thanks so much for your input! I love how thoughtful your comments always are! :)


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