Opinion: DNF

DNF: Did Not Finish. Three words I never like to say about my reading choices. I can be quite selective when deciding on a book, which means that those three little letters weren’t really a reality for me. BUT a few recent dreary reads (some I couldn’t even be bothered to review) have made me think I need to be stricter on myself and just STOP reading if I’m not enjoying it. It sounds so simple and obvious, right? Yet this hasn’t been happening.

The reason I’m thinking about this is I’ve just finished a book that I’d heard great things about, had to wait ages for it from the library, so other people were obviously eager to get their hands on it too but… once I started reading I felt mis-sold about the story, then realised I was skimming pages to get through it quicker, I just wasn’t invested in it and a bit disappointed while reading. But did I STOP reading? No. Why? Well, this is what I’m now asking myself.

Once I make my mind up about something I like to see it through, even – I now realise – if I’m not particularly enjoying the read. I’d committed and ‘it’s not THAT bad, so let’s see if it picks up at the end’ tended to be the justification for continuing in my head. But today it’s hit me that I’ve been thinking this once too many times in the last few months, so I’ve decided to embrace DNF. I’m no longer looking at books I don’t finish as failing in some way (which when I think about it, is exactly what i was doing. I mean, I even felt bad about selecting the DNF option on NetGalley – I’ve only done it once so far! – anyone else?? ) From now on I’m going to admit that a particular book isn’t for me as soon as I first stop enjoying it (someone else might adore it) and move on. As long as my TBR stack is taller than me, I’ve decided to embrace DNF as an option – there are just so many unread books out there!!

This may seem like a tiny realisation, but since I made this decision I suddenly feel more excited about my upcoming reads. If I don’t LOVE them, I’m not finishing them. Whether I’m 20 or 120 pages in. Yep, liberating. So, I’m intrigued: Are you quick to stop reading if a book is not doing it for you, or do you see it through to form an opinion at the end? Or, do you keep reading out of some misplaced rules you’ve applied to yourself for no real reason, like me??

8 thoughts

  1. I was also like that before, and I also had a similar realization at some point (a few years back). I think I read somewhere that sometimes it’s just not the right time for you to read something, like you’re not ready for it or it’s really not just the time, and that has made reading less stressful and yes, more exciting. And it has brought on some nice experiences too. For example, I got too bored of the first few pages of Jane Austen’s Persuasion when I first read it so I stopped reading it, then after some time I got back to reading it again and now it’s one of my favorite Austen novels! So I don’t pressure myself too much now when reading. I just think that things will fall into place somehow. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, completely agree, now I’ve taken the pressure off myself it’s all a lot more enjoyable! I actually had that conversation with a friend: about not being in the right place in your life for a certain book, or re-reading a book you loved when you were younger and it just losing its charm! You’re right, books definitely do have a time and place in your life!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a great discussion because I always thought it could get better. This summer I tried a reading challenge one month and it was then I realized that it’s OK to DNF! Or if I like the book but I’m not in the “mood” for it put it down and move on. There is a book on my shelf I’ve had for years and I remember starting and stopping it a few times. I tried the audio a few months ago and mentally it was NOT working. So I just moved on. It felt so rewarding to be investing my time and reading in something I’m enjoying. Reading should not be a chore.

    Speaking of popular books that are buzzing and you get them and you don’t make the same connection, if it doesn’t make sense of isn’t working, move on. I have admittedly, continued some of them because I’m turning the pages, the story is moving along but it doesn’t make sense, the characters, the decisions, it just isn’t resonating with me. Well I’ve asked people what exactly made you love this book because I’m not understanding the hype. I had one like that a few months ago, it’s a series but I’m not sure I’ll continue even though some have said things pick up in the next book. Shouldn’t that have occurred in the first book?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, agree with you, you should love the first book in a series or why would you want to read the others?? And reading should NEVER be a chore, but I guess that’s something I’m only fully realising now and it’s a great feeling!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great opinion post! I was the exact same about DNFing a book but realised that my TBR is too big to hold onto a book in case “it picks up at the end”. It worked and means that I didn’t read a single book this year that was less than 3 stars! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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