Hi! Today I thought I’d talk about DNFing books (which stands for did-not-finish, for anyone who doesn’t speak the lingo). I think it’s a polarizing subject – some people DNF books like there’s no tomorrow, others think they need to finish every book they start, to really know if they enjoyed it or not. I was part of the latter group for many years, but I’ve converted.
I used to think I couldn’t have an opinion on a book if I haven’t read it fully. Even if reading a book was a chore for me (what bookworm thinks reading is a chore?! me, apparently), I soldiered through it just to say how much I hated the book in the end. It would take me ages to read it. It would put me in the biggest reading slump ever! But I would finish it. (Yes, Ready Player One, I’m talking about you!)
I don’t take the decision to DNF books lightly. Whenever a book doesn’t sit right with me, for various reasons, I try to give it around 100 pages to prove me wrong. Sometimes it’s the writing, to which I either get used to, or not, other times I just don’t feel the story – it’s either too slow, or too confusing. Sometimes I just dislike the characters and find it hard to relate and care about them. In those cases, I give the book a try to grab me, before I lose interest. I might put it down for a while in case it’s just a right book, wrong time kind of a situation, where I’m not in the mood for that kind of story, hence why I’m struggling to read it. There are books out there I’ve tried to read many times – like All The Lights We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr and Passenger by Alexandra Bracken – they just weren’t for my cup of tea in the end.
But! There are times where I KNOW for a fact the book is not for me, from the get go. How? I am a particular person with a particular taste – and if a book does something unforgivable, I put it down straight away. I don’t keep a list of unforgivable things, because I just know it when I read it. It might be a theme, or… and don’t get angry now, I’m not saying this to insult anyone… the fact that the book is just ridiculous and kind of dumb. I have 2 examples of those – Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater and Graces by Laure Eve. Maybe I’m being too harsh with those, but I couldn’t get past 5 pages! It was everything at once – the writing, the characters, the story – I couldn’t stand them. I love Maggie Stiefvater’s writing, yet Shiver seems like it was written by a completely different person.
Whenever I DNF a book, I don’t rate it on Goodreads and I don’t review it. I don’t think it’s fair to do either. I am allowed to dislike books, sure, but I still think I can’t have a fully fledged opinion on a piece of writing if I haven’t read it all – there’s no need for me to bash it anywhere without constructive criticism. I do have a designated shelf for all my DNFs on Goodreads, though. Currently there are 12 books on it (like I said, I’m fairly new at the DNFing business). Apart from the ones mentioned above, I’ve also DNFed:
- Monsters by Sharon Dogar – because I knew the gist of the story (it’s a fictionalised life of Mary Shelley kind of book), but the narration and the characters made it unbearable to read.
- The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon – I really wanted to like it, but it kinda fell into the same category as Shiver. Plus, it was just so complicated and didn’t stand the test of time in my opinion.
- A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas – me and Sarah J. Maas just don’t work. Also, I hate romance (most of the times at least).
- The Black Prism by Brent Weeks – I couldn’t get over the way females were written in it. The great idea was lost in the terrible writing.
- The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold – once again, the writing killed the story.
- The Maze Runner by James Dashner – just not my cup of tea.
- The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath – I thought I was angsty at the time I tried to read it, but apparently not angsty enough for The Bell Jar.
- Seraphina by Rachel Hartman – again, not my cup of tea. Kind of boring, to be honest.
What’s your stance on DNFing books? How many books have you DNFed? Any of mine? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to know your thoughts!
I will talk to you guys soon! Thanks for reading.