D is for… DNF!


April 4, 2014 by Bernadette ~ The Bumbling Bookworm

If there’s one thing I struggle with when reading, it’s when I should put a book down and mark it DNF (Did Not Finish).  I’ll be reading a book and hating it, but I still won’t put it down!

There are many reasons to DNF a book.  Reading is a subjective experience and, as such, our experiences with a book are all varied and unique.  The storyline might be too cliche, or too unbelieveable, or just plain crap.  What I may have hated about a particular book, another person may take no issue with.  You very well could love the book, but I could just as easily hate it.  Sometimes it might be boring or the characters could be repulsive and beyond redemption.  There could be issues with editing, with obvious/frequent spelling and grammatical errors, or the book might be poorly researched and the factual errors too annoying to bear.

My problem is that I’m not giving up on the books that I don’t like.  I think it’s partly because I HAVE to know how things end.  It’s a compulsion, I just HAVE to know the ending to everything, even TV shows I haven’t watched in years.  Case in point, Gossip Girl.  I stopped watching that at least three seasons before it finished up, but you bet your arse I watch that finale!  I think I also have an irrational expectation that the book will miraculously improve and turn out okay towards the end – like, there has to be a reason why I’m reading a book that’s so bad, right?  RIGHT!?  In my head I’m thinking “It will get better, yeah?” and I can’t give up, when we all know it’s not going to get better…

The problem with this is I’m wasting time on books I’m not enjoying in the hopes they’ll miraculously improve, when there are literally MILLIONS of other books I could be reading at the time instead.  I’m spending time on something I’m not enjoying when there are many other books out there that I could be reading and loving instead.  And while I don’t feel like I have to read ALL THE BOOKS, I do have this feeling that I’m going to miss out on something better if I’m not putting down the ones I don’t enjoy.  But when I even think about putting the book down, I talk myself out of it for whatever reason!  I’m my own worst enemy 😦

I’m not a person who likes to have my wasted in a professional capacity, and I think this is a trait I need to bring into my personal life, particularly when reading books.  To that end, I have decided to make a conscious effort to put down books that I’m really NOT enjoying and mark them DNF.  It will take some time for me to change a lifetime of habits but I need to realise that I’m wasting my own time by reading books that I don’t like.  I hope that I can stick to this!

What about you, do you ever DNF?  Or are you totally against it, or on the fence like me?


16 thoughts on “D is for… DNF!

  1. If I finish reading part of a book and feel like I’ve just wasted an hour or so of my life, it’s time to put it away!

  2. bookmammal says:

    I’m actually doing a similar post for my “D” day–but I can’t post it yet because it’s not April 4 yet in the US! 🙂
    I struggle with this, too–I want to make sure I give a book a fair chance–but I also agree with you. There are just way too many books out there to spend time with one that you don’t enjoy. My motto remains–unless you’ve been assigned a book for a class, you’re under no obligation to finish it!
    Nice post!

  3. Oh I’ve got no prob DNFing books these days. Starting the blog and having review requests got me out of the I have to finish EVERYTHING mindset I was so in before having the blog since now I usually have to keep to a schedule and if I’m hating a book I’m SLOW reading it because I’m just not interested and that gets me behind. Finally realized it was okay if I didn’t like something to put it down and move on. I’ll give it to 50% and if it hasn’t caught me in some way I’m done and moving on to the next. Too many out there to waste time on one I’m hating so much even though sometimes I do wish I knew how it ended but in those cases I’m good just skipping to the last couple chapters 🙂

    Happy A to Z-ing!
    herding cats & burning soup..

    • Yeah, I think it’s starting the book blog that’s got me thinking the same way. I don’t have to justify it to anyone, it is what it is 🙂
      I like that you give it to 50%, I might have to take that tip on myself 😀 My problem is that I have to know how EVERYTHING ends, so it’s about changing that mindset in myself – it’s going to be bloody difficult!
      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Ebony Ellis says:

    I always find it difficult to DNF a book…I always feel sort of guilty. However, I am slowly getting better at it (I think), as this year I DNFed my first two books ever!

  5. I feel guilty if I DNF. But I always remember the names of the books I don’t finish – they tend to stay with me for being terrible. Nice to follow and connect

  6. I have this dilemma at the moment. Do I DNF a book I feel compelled to finish. It’s not a fiction novel but an account of Berlin and living during the time of the wall. I almost feel that I should finish it for this reason. I am a person that tries to finish every book I start and whilst typing this I am trying hard to think of just one book I have not finished and can’t. Maybe I need to become more selfish and more on to books that will hold my attention. Great ‘D’ post. 🙂

    • Thanks for stopping by!
      I’m struggling with the same dilemma, I’m reading a book that I put down ages ago and I cannot bear the thought of picking it back up, but I always finish books that I start. Gah! It’s too hard! lol

      • I know, mine is sat there, I can see it out of the corner of my eye and I know that in order for me to put it back in the bookshelf I need to finish it – I just can’t seem to do it at the moment. 🙂

      • Mine’s an ebook so I don’t quite have that problem 🙂 But I know exactly what you mean. I can’t seem to crack this one open again, but I feel like I’ve gotta finish it. I think we’re putting too much pressure on ourselves!

  7. I definitely have a problem with not finishing books. I feel that because I’ve spent X amount of money on it I’m going to read the whole thing, even if I’m not enjoying it. Plus I don’t like feeling like a “failure” for not finishing a book.
    It’s something I need to work on, because like you said – there are many more books in the world that I could be spending my time reading and enjoying instead of a slow slog through one I’m not liking.

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Hi! I'm Bernadette, a 27 year old lawyer who loves to read (duh!), especially to escape my day job. I love to talk about books but I don't always get the opportunity to do so, hence my blog! I adore YA literature, most genres of Adult Fiction, and I've also been known to pick up a non-fiction book from time to time. I hope you enjoy your visit!

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