Do you DNF books?

Screen Shot 2017-04-01 at 11.13.46So, I find it really difficult to not finish a book. Why? I’m not really sure. I think it’s mostly because I keep hoping that it will get better and I don’t want to miss out.

With ARCs there is an added factor, the publisher is expecting a review, and I don’t want to let them down. I also want to get future ARCs. I am totally fine writing bad reviews for ARCs, which last month in particular shows, but I feel like I have to at least write a review. I know some people still write reviews if they DNF a book but I think it is better to be able to do a full review, which to me means finishing the book. What if the ending is amazing and changes how you feel about the whole book?

If you are going to DNF a book, at what point do you do it? I have heard people say they give up if they don’t like the first chapter but I have read plenty of books where the first few chapters suck but the rest of the book is great. So how much is enough to get a good idea of the book? A lot of people say 100 pages, that seems to be the most popular figure, and probably is enough to give you a good idea about how good most books are. So, simple right, if you don’t like a book after 100 pages DNF it? Well, with me, if I get to 100 pages I feel like as I have read so much I might as well just finish the book or I have wasted that time!

I have DNFed very few books in my time due to a combination of the above but there have been a lot of books I have considered not finishing, often multiple times, while  reading them. What’s the big deal then? If you don’t want to DNF then just finish the book and stop whining about it you say? Well, reading bad books, or books you personally consider to be bad, not only means you don’t really enjoy that book, but it can also put you off reading in general or put you in a “reading slump”. I really enjoy reading and want to continue to, but if all I am reading are bad books it will put me off. When I’m not enjoying a book I also take a lot longer to read it so am essentially prolonging the bad experience which is also keeping me away from what are hopefully better books, for much longer. It is hard to motivate yourself to read a book you aren’t enjoying though, or to do anything you aren’t really enjoying. So, it is bigger than one bad book!

A lot of people in the online book community talk about it being hard to DNF books, but there are some that have no problem with it whatsoever. Their argument being, there are so many good books out there, so why waste time on a bad one. I agree! That doesn’t make it easier to actually put the book down though, at least not for me!

What do you guys do when you aren’t enjoying a book? Keep going and hope for the best? Keep going out of some kind of obligation? Or DNF?

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37 thoughts on “Do you DNF books?

  1. Most of the time I tend to keep going unless I really, really cannot stand a book. There has to be a lot of factors which make me put it down and think NOPE.

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  2. Really a great post! You raise some valid concerns and I have them too. I do feel guilty for ARCs but when I couldn’t push myself past it and I find myself reading pages without understanding what’s going on and at the same time I thought I could use this time to read something I could actually enjoy. Time is limited, I remind myself, so why waste on something that’s not going anywhere? Also I don’t get paid for my reviews so it’s not really bad to quit and if I don’t get what I’m reading there’s no way I can do a proper review. I still do a small review to submit to the publisher so that they will know what I think of the book. I have DNF at 30% and 50%. If I get passed 60% I would push to finish it because already too much time has been invested in it. You shouldn’t feel so bad because not all books can be 5 stars and books should go through so many revisions to become good. I think ARCs especially are still in the early works. Publishers and writers still make changes to the book before they do the final publication so it’s very good if you tell them the reasons for not being able to finish it. I don’t like to blast DNF on Goodreads or social media because that may embarrass the author and publisher so I only post to NetGalley so they receive it directly. Interesting discussion topic! Sorry for my super long comment!! 😂

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  3. I have DNF’ed books quite a few times, but I tend to give them a lot of chances before I get to that point. When I am reading and I am not into the book, I put it down and pick up a new one. I figure I may not be in the mood for that book at this time. Once I finish the other book I will try and pick it up again. If I am still not enjoying it or I realize that I have not picked it up out of want for about two weeks I will DNF it. In some cases I will DNF a book and keep it, then a few months late try it again. But, if I do not pick it up in 3 months I give them to a friend or donate them.

    It is a difficult thing to do because you feel like you may be missing out, but I have realized if I am picking up a book out of need and not want I wont enjoy it anyway because I am not in the right mood to read it.

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  4. Great topic! I almost never DNF books. Sometimes I wish I were inclined to do so, like when I’m halfway through a book and hating every minute of it, but I just feel like I’ve already invested time and energy into this book so I might as well finish it?! I’ve heard a lot of people say ‘life’s too short to read books you hate’…. which makes sense to me in theory, I just can never bring myself to DNF!

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  5. I try my best to stick with books, and it wasn’t until I encountered review requests (review copies, not ARCs – from indie authors) that I found I had to start DNFing some books. Some are too weird, make me feel uncomfortable, or just don’t seem anything like what they were described as. I like to think I’m getting better at judging which review books to accept and which to reject (I’m not accepting review requests at the moment for this exact reason) but if I try to force myself to finish every book, I just don’t enjoy it and it puts me off reading.

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  6. I very rarely DNF books because I usually pick up things that I have a really good chance of liking. The only books I DNF a lot are the ones I need to read for university – I usually get about halfway through and then can’t be bothered. If I dislike a book that I chose myself I usually still power through, unless I absolutely hate it. x

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  7. I hate to DNF books but I’m becoming more willing to do it. With a tbr of 700+ books and growing, I can’t waste time on bad books, review copies or not. But they do have to be like, terrible. If it’s not great but has an element that I actually enjoy (chara or location or something) I’ll usually push on. But if I’m just hating everything I’ll stop, usually around 30-50% depending on how bad I think it is. Reading should remain enjoyable!

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  8. My argument is definitely to many books to little time but I completely see where your coming from with not being able to DNF it easily!
    If its a book with 300 pages and I’ve read to 100 already I feel like hmm my as well read the rest but if its a 600+ page book and I barely managed the first 100 pages XD Great post!

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  9. Great post. I struggle with DNFing for the same reasons that you listed. I try not to DNF ARCs because its sort of a commitment with the publisher but I have read a number of books that I just didn’t like so I end up skimming and skipping a few chapters to get to the end. I don’t have an issue DNFing non-ARcs though. Sometimes I do it after a chapter or 2 or even halfway but if its not for me, then I DNF it.

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  10. I never intentionally DNF – but there are a lot of books that I’ve stopped reading if they didn’t grab me. I never write reviews of books that I haven’t finished though, as I agree with all of your points above – it doesn’t seem fair to judge if I haven’t read it all.

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  11. I never used to DNF books but lately, at least the last few months. I have been DNFing books left right and center. I have no clue why. It’s putting me in a terrible slump also! I know what you mean when you want to write a review for books given to you. I feel like that too. It’s mostly self imposed though.

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