My Take | DNFing Books

So one of my bookish resolutions for this year was to DNF more books.

Yes. You read that right. DNF more books.

The thing is we act like that’s a bad thing in the book community. I think it’s perfectly healthy and even good to DNF books. Trying to drag yourself through books can lead to serious book slumps, in my experience. It can also lead to you feeling like you just don’t enjoy reading as much.

So why do we treat it like a bad thing?

One reason can be our book goals. You know, that good ol’ Goodreads goal? Everyone and their mom wants to reach theirs, right? But this is probably the primary reason why we finish books we don’t like. We want to be able to see another book on our shelf that we’ve finished, to feel that zing of accomplishment.

Another reason why we push to finish books we don’t like, I think, is hype. The more hype a book gets, the more we want to love it, and the more chances we’re willing to give a book. We give a book chance after chance after chance until suddenly we’re at the end, unsatisfied, and not in a good, cliffhanger-y way. Hype also puts pressure on us to finish a book by making us feel like we’ll get a lot of hate from others if we don’t finish a book that is well loved.

“Okay, okay,” you might be saying, “But what’s so bad about finishing a book I dislike? What’s the problem?”

The problem is that reading shouldn’t be another task, it should be a source of enjoyment! We shouldn’t feel obligated when it comes to books, but rather, willing. When it starts to feel to much like an obligation, like a chore, we start to enjoy reading less. Why does everyone hate school required reading so much? It feels forced. This, as I stated before, can lead to serious reading slumps and enjoying reading less.

Anyway, that’s my take on this topic! Now it’s your turn!

How do you feel about DNFing books? Do you think it’s a good thing? What are some of the pros and cons?

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Lila is a 27-year-old college student studying physics and a lover of literature. When she's not busy reading or saving the world through science, Lila can be found singing jazz and blues and obsessing over hedgehogs (a.k.a. the cutest animals in the multiverse!)

9 thoughts on “My Take | DNFing Books

  1. I certainly agree that when reading becomes a chore it becomes less enjoyable.

    I don’t typically DNF books, but I have no problem with someone who does. I say typically because recently I put a book down at 10%. And I almost put another two down at the same point. I’m having a hard time getting into books lately, not interested until about 30% in (I read on my kindle and precents are easy). Because of this I think I need to establish my own DNF threshold. Like, if 30% in I’m still not on board, it’s ok to put it down. I feel like this gives me and the book both a fair chance. I’ve also been tired when starting books, and I think it plays a role in this. So, in addition to 30%, a night’s rest before putting it down for good.

    I used to push through all books so I know how they ended, but now I can look it up or ask someone. I may start DNF ing more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a good idea, to have a sort of “threshold.” I think I subconsciously do. I try to give a book many chances annd I typically get 30-50% through before being like “nope.” But lately I’ve just been harder to please, especially after having read so any *great* books.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Life is too short to read a book that bores you, or feels like work. Reading is an escape, fun, and when it ceases to be that, why bother? I DNF – sort of. If I get to a point where I just can’t read a book any more, I skip to the last two chapters and read those. At least then I know how the story turned out! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Confession: sometimes I skip around in stories or read out of order when I’m reading a physical book. But if I can’t find anything interesting then, I set the book down.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You’ve come up with another good topic here, Lila. My rate of DNFs has gone down substantially now that I put apt more time into investigating which books I might like to read. Between Goodreads and book blogs by people whose opinions I trust, my DNF rate has gone down a lot. But it still happens occasionally. Life is short and there are way too many good books I want to read to waste time with those that just don’t float my boat. Still, I’d rather skim the heck out of a book than not finish at all. In the past 9 months or so, I can only think of two books I gave up on.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I usually don’t dnf books but if pacing becomes an issue, then it’s really hard to continue. Also I feel kinda bad if I have to dnf an ARC but it really shouldn’t matter because forcing to finish a book can really have consequences. And I definitely agree with the points you stated. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

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