#DNF’ing Books

DNFing a book, also known as “Did Not Finish”, isn’t a thing I do often. Every now and then, if a book is taking me a long time to read, I do DNF it. Most of the time I do so regrettably, though at other times, I do so with a sense of relief.

What causes a reader to put a book down? For me, there are a variety of reasons. As I said above, if it’s taking too long, that’s a good indicator that I’m not going to finish the book. This could be be cause I’m simply not getting into the book enough to read fast enough. Other times it’s because the book is just that bad, but I’d been trying to push through. To be fair, “bad” can mean a variety of things, even to one reader. Most of the times for me, it’s a relative term to my mood. Luckily, I haven’t come across too many books that are flat-out bad (as in poorly written, hard-to-stomach lack of polishing, etc). Some books just aren’t for every reader. It happens. We come across them, and we learn what we enjoy from these encounters.

So, why am I writing a post about DNF books? Well, I seem to be DNFing books a bit more often lately. This seems to be due to the fact that I now have access to a larger range of books than even my collection back in New York (total between NY and Colorado is now just over 2500 books, WOOT) holds. Meaning…I’m using my local library often, maybe too often. It’s the first time in my life I’ve regularly used a library. It’s addicting. You should all try it.

Now that I have access to many of the books that’ve been on my TBR for years, I’ve found that some weren’t worth the wait (for me, maybe not any of you). It’s a little sad because I’ve had high hopes for a few. But at the same time, it’s simply a new experience to deal with because I don’t own the books. I didn’t go out and buy them, whether full price or for a dollar used. It’s almost as if I never touched the book for a few of them. I took it out of the library, read 50 pages, brought it back. And I can just move on to the next. And an even greater thing: I can borrow it again a year from now and it might fit my reading mood better. Who knows.

What I’m getting at is that I find this whole borrowing books from the library thing to be a very liberating experience. It’s also a little overwhelming because I can create too large of a TBR by X date pile easily, but we can get into that in another post. When the financial and space aspect is taken away from reading, things work out differently. I never thought those two things factored into reading, but even on a subconscious level, I guess they were always there.

What are your DNF habits? Do you have a set page count before you can DNF? Do you not DNF and just push through? Every reader has their own way to go about things. I’d love to hear how you handle it.

2 responses to “#DNF’ing Books

  1. For the last couple of years I’ve participated in reading challenges, mostly aimed at reducing the number of books on my TBR shelf. It’s a bookcase behind my desk with about 300 books on it. Some of them have been there for over ten years. (Not even going to count the TBR titles on my ereader)

    What I’ve discovered is that a lot of the books on my TBR shelf end up being disappointing reads. A lot of the DNFs. I figure it’s because I waited too long for some and either my expectations have changed, or just my taste in books. I’ve discovered new authors I’m more passionate about, or some of my favourites are simply writing the same old thing, and that thing isn’t my thing anymore. For series, I don’t remember enough about the first book – or if it’s taken me this long to get to the sequel, then maybe I didn’t really need to read it.

  2. I find that if I have read a good portion I to the book (30%-40%) and I don’t give a crap about the characters anymore and the book in general isn’t doing it for me then I am pretty much done. I have to actually care about the people to care what happens to them. It’s a balance that sometimes I just can’t find.

    I also have the same thing you do that if it is taking me a long time to read then I’m probably not that into it. I also know that I have 50,698 other books I could be reading that I might actually enjoy so why am I wasting my time on something that just isn’t a good fit?

    I actually find it very easy to DNF. The more do it, the easier it seems to get.

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