The Dreaded DNF (Did Not Finish)

This is not a new topic, I know. I’ve read several different posts about this exact topic on several blogs. However, it’s something that I really struggle with, so I thought I’d also do a post about it.

I’ve seen a few people around the blogosphere who think absolutely nothing about DNF’ing books, and they do it quickly and often. I’ve seen others who typically will read around 100 pages or so before stopping. And then there are the rest of us, because I fall into this category more often than not, that pretty much will finish a book that we’ve started, no matter how much we dislike it.

I mean, obviously, if you count any time you start a book and don’t finish it as DNF’ing, I’ve DNF’d many books over my lifetime. There have been many books, even recently, where I’ve read a few pages of a book and decided that it wasn’t what I wanted to be reading at the time, and I’d put it aside. But nine times out of ten, I intend to go back to that book at some point in the future. No, I’m talking about putting down a book because I’m not enjoying it, fully intending to never finish it. For some reason, that is extremely hard for me.  Then again, this seems to be something I get from my mother. She’s told me that she pretty much always has to finish a book she starts, and I don’t doubt it. I can vividly remember being a teenager and her making me, my boyfriend at the time (now my husband), and a friend of the family sit through three hours of the Brad Pitt movie A River Runs Through It because something had to happen! If you haven’t seen it, here’s a spoiler: Nothing ever happens. Seriously, I have no idea what that movie was supposed to be about, but it was so unbelievably boring!

I have found that there are some books that I have an easier time of DNF’ing, and these are audio books and nonfiction books. However, with audio, I almost always DNF the audio only and go on to read a print version. Even with nonfiction books, I have a bit of a hard time, but I’ve never really been a huge fan of nonfiction, so I think those are pretty easy to tell whether they’re for you or not fairly quickly.

However, fiction books that I’m actually reading? Those are a completely different story. Even if I’m not enjoying a book, I almost always keep going because I’ve had several books redeem themselves in the last 25-50%. True, these are few and far in between, but what if I miss that great book because I gave up on it too soon? However, in the last few months, I’ve considered DNF’ing a few books, and I can honestly say that not one of them made me happy that I kept reading in the end. One book actually made me angry because I wasn’t enjoying it early on, but a lot of people loved it, so I figured it had to get better, but it didn’t. In fact, I thought it got worse as it went along. This is something that I keep saying I’m going to get better about because there are so many books that I want to read, and I probably won’t even get to them all as it is, so why should I waste time reading books I’m not enjoying? Yet, I keep doing it. I’m like a glutton for punishment, I guess! lol

My other downfall? Review books. As you may know, I’m relatively new to blogging, and I’m even newer to review books. But if I’m approved for a title on Netgalley or Edelweiss, I feel like it’s my responsibility to read that book, finish it, and review it. I know a lot of bloggers don’t do that, and I really shouldn’t, but it just feels like an obligation to me. The one and only review book I DNF’d was a nonfiction, but there have been a couple that I really didn’t want to finish and struggled through.

Obviously you can’t change my reading habits, but you can give me advice, or better yet, tell me about your reading habits, especially regarding DNF’ing Books. Do you DNF? How long do you give it? How do you decide? What about review books? Is there a genre or format you’re more likely to DNF? Tell me all about it!

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5 thoughts on “The Dreaded DNF (Did Not Finish)

  1. theparasiteguy August 5, 2013 at 9:38 am Reply

    Haven’t DNF’d in years, actually, though I’ve come close once or twice. The problem is that I always feel I’ve sunken too much time into the book, so I end up just deciding to power though and hope it gets better.

    And I’ve already decided to never DNF review request books; I just hope I never get one that’s bad enough for such a question to come up.

    • Mommy's Reading Break August 5, 2013 at 12:46 pm Reply

      It’s so hard. I have had a couple of review books that I wanted to DNF (and one that I did), so I’ve decided that I need to be way more choosy about what I request because I don’t like to DNF. But at the same time, I know I shouldn’t waste my time reading a book I’m not enjoying, but I always hope it will get better, just like you.

  2. jarndt08 August 6, 2013 at 4:42 pm Reply

    I used to be really diligent and would force myself to finish books just so that I didn’t have to DNF. But now I know that working with publishers and authors is so great because they are really understanding and they know that not every book is going to work for you. There are so many great books out there and I don’t force myself to finish ones that I hate THAT MUCH anymore.

    • Mommy's Reading Break September 4, 2013 at 9:58 am Reply

      That’s really good to know. I feel so guilty even considering DNF’ing review books, but like you said, just because I don’t like it doesn’t mean it’s a bad book. I try to add that in my reviews. For example, I know a lot of people really liked Undercurrent, and I might have, too, if I didn’t read it when I did. It just wasn’t really what I was in the mood for at the time, so I ended up not really enjoying it, but I made sure to specify that in my review.

  3. […] The Dreaded DNF […]

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