[Discussion] To DNF, or not to DNF: that is the question

DiscussionLife is too short to:
Sleep all day.
Not enjoy every moment.
Be unhappy.
Wallow in self pity.
Not tell the person you love you love them because you’re afraid.
To let fear take over your life.
Force yourself through something you aren’t enjoying.
Read bad books.
Life is just too short to read bad books

Just to clarify for anyone who may not be sure:
DNF = Did Not Finish.
Define DNF: A book you are unable to finish reading till the end is often classified as a ‘DNF’.

Only recently have I convinced myself that it’s okay to stop reading a book if I’m not enjoying it. Beforehand when I started reading a book I usually tried to push myself to finish reading it because I knew I picked up the book for a reason. And then I would tell myself that the reason half of the time I’m not enjoying the book is because I’m not in the mood to read that particular genre, or I find I would rather be watching a movie instead. So I would put the book aside to try and read later when I felt like it.

Thing is, I’ve discovered that if I’ve put the book aside I’ve put it aside for a reason too. I’m just not enjoying it. And even though I want to finish it I just have no interest in picking it back up.  The story didn’t engage with my brain and I find myself dreading reading it. Therefore I don’t touch a book for a week or two until I tell myself it’s okay to give up on it.

After all: Life is too short to read bad books.

Disclaimer: Most of the time I don’t think the book I can’t read is a ‘bad book’, more just a book that I personally do not find interesting or enjoyable. I’m sure there are other people out there that love the book, but it’s just not for me.

When do you decide to mark the book as a Did Not Finish? Do you have a page limit, like if you’ve read under 100 pages and you’re not enjoying it you know to move on to the next one?

Did Not Finish?

Or do you try and push through the books you aren’t necessarily falling in love with? Or do you let yourself move on to something else?

To DNF or not to DNF; is that the question?
Do you have trouble not finishing a book because you’re dedicated to reviewing every book you picked up? Or perhaps because you want to give it a chance and maybe, just maybe, you will enjoy the last half better than you enjoyed the first half?

I used to read every book I decided to pick up. Even ones that I found incredibly difficult to get through. But now I’m putting books down and deciding to let it go as soon as I figure out I’m not enjoying it or I’ve spent a week reading it and I’m still only at the half way mark.

I feel there are just too many books I want to read and I want to get to that it would be pointless for me to make myself read something I don’t want to read any more and waste that time forcing myself to do it.

Although to be honest, there have been a few books that I nearly DNF’ed but just as I was about to put it down it suddenly intrigued me and I flew through the last half of that book when I had crawled through the beginning half.

So I guess I mean:

Life is too short to not enjoy it; don’t waste any more time than you have to with things that don’t make you happy.

What is your opinion on DNF’ing books?

Miss J

Recent reviews: Shadow and Bone | Warm Bodies | Bitterblue | Half-Blood
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22 thoughts on “[Discussion] To DNF, or not to DNF: that is the question

  1. Awesome topic…. and timing! I just decided yesterday to DNF a book. Like you I use to push myself to keep reading a book, but I have so many on my physical books on my shelf that I need to read books that I enjoy, and not force myself.
    I don’t have a hard and fast rule, no limit such as 100 pages or anything. The one I DNF yesterday was one I started reading months ago but dreaded picking up again to keep reading. I got through 17% on my kindle and after a week of not picking it back up I choose to mark it as a DNF. I always feel bad not finishing a book, and think maybe if I keep reading it will get better but after thinking about it yesterday I just didn’t WANT to keep reading it, and why should I? There are too many things in life to enjoy so why waste time on something your not enjoying. =)

    • Exactly! There’s no point to push yourself if you don’t like it, besides that also usually means the review will be a low rating review simply because you didn’t like it and pushed your way through it. I’ve noticed that a lot of my reviews are three stars plus because I always DNF books with a rating of 2 or lower. I can never force myself through something I don’t like. Unless there’s a cause to it.

      Same here, I feel bad because I also wonder if it gets better in the second half. But what’s the point if you don’t like the first half? I’ve been DNF’ing quite a few books recently. Mainly because the book was completely different to what I was expecting or I really was just not feeling it. Sometimes I’m craving to read a different genre to the one I would currently be reading.

      Agreed! Life should be full of happiness, positives, laughing and fun!

  2. I sometimes push through to the end in hopes it will pick up and I will start liking it more..I am always really determined that way LOL I don’t have problem DNF if I find I just can’t enjoy anything about it.

    • Fair enough, there have been books that I’ve managed to push through and have thoroughly enjoyed the second half. When it’s a book I was really excited for and I realise I really just want to DNF it, I usually push myself to keep reading for a bit longer just in case it starts to pique my interest. Sometimes they do, other times they don’t.

  3. This is such a great discussion post!

    I’m quite a picky – and impatient – reader, so books that fail to interest me more than at least five chapters in, I’d probably give up on it. I agree: life is too short to do things that makes us unhappy, and reading should be something we enjoy. If I read and really enjoyed the first half of a book, but then disliked the remaining part, I’d probably still push on anyway because I’ve already come so far and it would be a waste of my time if I just gave up and shoved the book aside. Like both you and Sabrina, I used to make myself try to finish every book I read – especially ARCs from publishers, because I felt bad if I didn’t finish it. Now, though, I realize that everyone’s perfectly entitled to their own opinions, and we really shouldn’t turn reading into a chore or a priority. Like I said, reading should be enjoyed, and the same goes with life!

    • I too am impatient at times! Ahh yes, same here. If I liked the first half but not the second half so much then I push through till the end as well. Otherwise it does feel like a waste of a read. Besides the beginning half took me all the way there so I usually assume the ending will recapture my attention. At least I hope it will. Although there was a book that I DNF’ed two chapters from the end… Granted they were two long chapters and I had been pushing myself to read through the last half in hopes I started enjoying it again. I didn’t review that book, even though I had read most of it. I didn’t review it because it would have been a rant review, and honestly? I just couldn’t be bothered. I didn’t like the book so I didn’t want to waste time writing a review for it. It still felt like a waste of a read and a waste of not reviewing it though. But I moved on.

      Yeah, although to be honest I still try a little harder to push myself through review requests and blog tour books etc but if it’s really that bad I opt for another sort of post. I’m very picky on review requests too, I say no more often that I say yes just because the book doesn’t sound like something I would enjoy, or I would never have read it on my own accord etc.

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  5. I definitely stop reading a book if I’m not in the mood, or am just not feeling it, and honestly, I never feel bad. I always give myself permission to go back to the book at another time, though. It’s just that i have so many books I want to read, and I don’t want to force myself to read something, when there is something else that I would devour.

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