Discussion: To dnf or not to dnf

discussion Do you regularly abandon books or never? I fall somewhere in between. And I differentiate between arcs and books I’ve bought myself.







Advanced reading copies

With arcs I always feel some sort of responsibility and it doesn’t matter if I requested them or got asked to review them. I kinda committed to the task and I don’t want to let the author/publisher down. So I grit my teeth and struggle through. Of course a book like that will never get a 4 or 5 star rating, but I want to be able to point out what exactly I didn’t like. There is a little bit of hope of it getting better too.

I can be as determined as I want to be, some books are just pure torture. I skip pages with these and sometimes I do file them under did not finish. Although I try to read at least 40%. There is a small issue with that mark, though. 40% could mean 100 pages, but it could mean 20 pages as well. So of course it’s no strict mark. Fun fact: The last times I dnf-ed were all at 48%. Huh.


Bought books

Books I’ve bought get a different treatment. I’ve got quite a few here, which I started to read and then thought “meh” and put back. I think one factor may be that I’ve got no deadline. Theoretically I could pick them up five years from now and it would bother no one. Well, it would bother me, but only because I don’t know whether to start again on page one or where I’ve left of.

Most of the time a dnf book stays a dnf book. At the top of my head I can think of one I have picked up and finished then, but I wasn’t really enjoying it.

Although there is a difference. Sometimes I pick up a book and a few pages in I notice, that I don’t want to read it now. Usually it’s because I’ve got no interest in the genre at the moment or unknowingly I want to read a different book first (you know the ‘it’s just not right’ feeling? That’s the one I am talking about). I don’t really consider those as dnf.

Then there are those books, which are bad. Badly written, characters I hate, too many tropes, you name it. These books I give around 100 pages to convince me, sometimes 50 pages if they are really bad. And if I still think ‘Oh god, why?’ I put them away without regret, never pick them up again and try to sell them.

How do you handle dnf-ing?

Do you have rules or do you follow your feelings?

Or maybe you never dnf? How do you get through books you don’t like?


Categories: Discussions

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16 replies

  1. I have a weird relationship with DNF. I want to do it, but sometimes, I just want to torture myself and continue a book I know will be terrible. I’m a weird firm believer in finishing what I started, but I’m starting to learn that that’s a terrible idea if the book is causing you to hate things, lolllllll. I never thought about examining my DNF policy with different types of books, but that’s a great idea.

    I am totally with you about ARCS. I feel like I have to finish it because I got it from the publisher. I need to get into the mindset that I don’t have to. You’re not writing a review in exchange for the book; it’s more a review consideration. It takes the pressure off a little.

    I don’t think I’ve ever DNFed a bought book. Only because the ones I have read, I’ve absolutely loved, and they’re written by my favorite authors. However, maybe one of the reasons why I haven’t DNFed them is because most of my bought books have been unread? WHOOPS. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know this relationship. I’m actually dnf-ing an ARC on and off right now? “omg, this is so bad!”… “well maybe I’ll give it another go”… “ugh, it’s getting worse and worse!”

      I think a dnf-review can be a good review, too. If you can explain why the book didn’t work for you, maye those are the things someone else just loves. But yes, there is no actual law, that says you absolutely have to review every ARC you got. I just like to.

      Don’t get me started on bought unread books. There are so many in my bookshelf!


  2. Not all books are made for all readers… just because I like reading M/M romance doesn’t mean every M/M romance will appeal to me. So I think DNFs are okay, but only if you make an honest attempt and document why that particular book didn’t work for you. But there are some authors that I absolutely can’t stand… I just don’t enjoy their writing style. So rather than constantly get the ARC and not finish it, or rate it very low, I just avoid those specific authors.

    Liked by 1 person

    • To me reviews of dnfs are really hard to write. I want to state why I not only didn’t enjoy the book but also why I wasn’t able to struggle through. Since I don’t want to a rude review… yeah, the balance is difficult.


  3. I hate DNFs too – it is almost insulting to the author that I can’t finish what they put so much work into. That said, if it doesn’t work for me, it doesn’t, and I’d rather not finish a book than feel like it is a waste of my time!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Unpopular opinion here: I sometimes feel like some authors (not really a lot, but some) don’t really put that much work into writing. Like they don’t research enough or plan they characters and plot.
      BUT you’re right. It’s alway sad if you can’t enjoy something, that’s important to someone else.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I hate DNFs. I think for the most part I am pretty good at picking books I like, but there has been the occasional. I’m proud to say that I can only think of 5 books I have DNFed.
    When I do get a book that just isn’t doing it for me, I’ll try to think of why that is. If I am just not enjoying it and it feels like more of a chore to read it, I’ll DNF with only minimal regrets. If it is good but just not holding my attention i’ll set it aside to read later. Great Post!

    Liked by 1 person

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