We all hate it. Devoting time (and, let’s be honest, effort) to reading a book that you’re hoping will be brilliant, but finding out that it’s just not for you. A lot of readers persevere and keep going until that last page. Why? No one wants to DNF.
For those of you who don’t know, DNF stands for “Did Not Finish”, meaning a book that you decided not to complete – as far as I know – for good.
I’ve seen a lot of people say that they hate DNF – they can’t give up on a story halfway through, what’s the point? I, on the other hand, really don’t mind not finishing a book.
Look, I love reading and I’d never consider it a waste of time but… reading a book I’m not interested in isn’t my thing.
But Jordyn, you have to give it a chance!
Well, it really depends what you consider DNFing to be. If I read the first chapter of a book, then decide to read another one, is that still a DNF? Do I have to reach the one half mark? Two thirds? For me, I can decide whether or not I’m going to finish a book about 100-150 pages in, across all genres. If you haven’t caught my attention by then, you’re probably not going to.
Like with Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oaks. I was so excited for this book: gorgeous cover, set in Wonderland, intriguing premise, did I mention a gorgeous cover? However, 100 pages in, I was bored out of my mind. Should I have read a bit more before making a decision? Maybe. But I’ve put it down and have no regrets yet.
But Jordyn, what if it gets better?
That’s always a possibility. If I feel like the book is going to get more intriguing (or have heard that from someone else), I’ll probably push through to the good parts, and hopefully they’ll be worth it. Sometimes, however, I really can’t be bothered, and there doesn’t seem to be hope on the horizon. Dreamland by Robert L. Anderson started off okay. I wasn’t in love with it, but it piqued my interest. It was all downhill from there. Bizarre stuff started happening, a love triangle flew in out of nowhere and it just all got so random. In this case, the book got worse, instead of better, and with only 50 pages left I just shelved it and haven’t looked back. Three words: DID. NOT. FINISH.
But Jordyn, don’t you want to know how it ends?!
ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY I want to know what happens to the characters! For the most part, the reason I push through books to the end when I’m not enjoying them is because I’m interested in the character’s story or the romance – how is it resolved? Who lives? Who dies?
Who tells your story? It’s the number one reason I decide not to DNF a book.
For example, I really didn’t enjoy Interim Goddess of Love by Mina V. Esguerra. About halfway through, I was prepared to walk away from it. Although the setting in the Philippines (I loved reading about some of the foods the characters had on the regular day-to-day) was pretty cool, the book’s real saving grace was the romance! Do the main character and her love interest get together? In this case, I did finish it, but didn’t really like the ending either.
But Jordyn, everyone loves this book, so you should just finish it!
NO NO NO NO. Sorry, can’t do it. While a book being popular definitely has some influence over whether or not I want to finish (or even pick up) a book, for the most part, it’s not a deciding factor. I know everyone and their grandmother love The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare.
So I gave the trilogy two chances. I read Clockwork Angel and thought it wasn’t all that great. Then I tried Clockwork Prince and I’m sorry guys – but that series just didn’t do it for me. I DNFed it halfway through. Despite the hype, I’ve put down both that trilogy and The Mortal Instruments for good.
But Jordyn, how can you not care about DNFing?!
Here’s the thing: forcing myself to read something that I’m genuinely not enjoying makes reading less fun. It’s supposed to bring me comfort, and not feel like a chore. I appreciate all the time that authors put into weaving these amazing tales. It’s definitely not easy, and it takes a lot of their time. I’m thankful every day for the talent that people possess to create these beautiful things called books.
All that being said, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with DNFing. There are so many books I want to read, so many stories that I haven’t gotten to yet, it feels like, to be frank, a waste of time to read something that I just don’t want to. That’s what school required reading is for.
Plus, the way I see it is this: if I wrote a book, would I want my readers to struggle through to the end of it, or pick up something new that they might enjoy more? The answer is that I would want my readers to move on. Not every book is for everyone. And while I hate giving up on a book, I know that I can’t love everything I read, no matter how much I try!
But remember guys, no DNF is set in stone! If you declare a book as DNF but later decide that you want to give it another shot, go for it!
Happy new year! How do you feel about DNFing? How often do you do it? Any hyped books that you just couldn’t get through? Any books you DNFed books that you decided to give another shot? Tell me in the comments! 🙂