To DNF Or Not To DNF…That Is A Bookworm’s Biggest Dilemma

Posted November 3, 2016 by Hannah in And On That Note, Features / 5 Comments



One of my firm reading rules since the beginning of time has always been Thou Shalt Finish Every Book Thou Starts.

It’s always been a no brainer: finish what you started, even if you hate it. Why? Because I feel like I can’t make an informed opinion or review on a book that I haven’t finished reading. That and I absolutely must need to know what happens.

But recently…

I’ve been having doubts about this reading policy of mine. Is DNFing a book really that bad? I don’t have a lot of time on my hands, so reading is precious. When I’m not working a crazy full time job, I’m studying full time. Now that it’s November, I’ll have more time for reading on my hands, but it’s also #NaNoWriMo, and I want to spend a lot of time focusing on my novel. And I have a lot of books I want (and need) to read.

Which is why this year, I’ve DNF’d three books, and started to read two that I almost immediately put down and moved on from. It’s sad, because those three books (if you’re curious, they were Truthwitch by Susan Dennard, Passenger by Alex Bracken and Ruined by Amy Tintera) were three that I was looking forward to soooo much…and yet they turned out to be a disappointment. Do I never want to try and read them again? No! Of course not!

When I struggle through a book, it starts to invoke the dreaded reading slump, and I’m wasting away through a novel that I’m not enjoying for the sake of reading it, when there are plenty of other books on my shelves I could be reading instead. And enjoying.

So where do I go from here? Well, it’s not as easy as just giving up. When you’ve been oh so strict on yourself for many years, it’s hard to break out of a habit. So I have a new reading rule: Thou Is Allowed To Pass On A Book; As Long As It Is Not A Review Book. Okay, okay, it’s a little harsh, but considering that my review list is mainly Netgalley and Edelweiss books these days, I think it’s a fair enough rule.


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5 responses to “To DNF Or Not To DNF…That Is A Bookworm’s Biggest Dilemma

  1. Christina Carolin

    I strive not to DNF any books. Though it does happen occasionally. This year I only DNFed 1 book. I mainly DNF books when the writing style (grammar and language) is bugging me and I just cannot deal with it. (I mostly read books in english and as a non-native speaker I do not want to expose myself to literature that might negatively influence my english.)
    Of course there are also other reasons to DNF a book. Those reasons might be a storyline one does not like or a character that is extremely getting on ones nerves. Recently, I read a book that was a combination of the last two and I was on the verge of getting into a major reading slump from reading this book. It really helped me to put the book aside and read another book while gaining some distance from the story and all that was bugging me. After that it was not as infuriating to read the book and I pushed through and finished the book (though that might have been motivated by that fact that I had only about 20% left to read when I put the book down).
    Something I have found really helpful in order to reduce the amount of books I DNF is to read 1-2 chapters of the book I’m interested in before the actual purchase so that I can get a sense of the book.
    P.S.: I really enjoyed reading Truthwitch (one of my favorites this year), you should give it a second chance. 🙂

  2. ClaireyClaire

    I always hated the idea of not finishing a book but I’ve that same mentality as you for awhile. Why struggle through a book when I could be reading something else in what little reading time I have. Plus for me, it can just put me in a slump that takes waaay too long to get out of!

  3. I am more than willing to DNF a book now a days. I used to plod through everything that I picked up, feeling guilt over the thought of not finishing, but now I embrace the idea that my TBR is full of books that I will have a love relationship with, so I can’t think of a reason to finish one that I can’t justify continuing with.

  4. I’ve always been one who doesn’t DNF books too. However, I end up stuck on certain books that I really probably should DNF, but can’t pull the plug on for some reason. I’d like to make it my resolution for next year to finally DNF when necessary! I like your idea of coming back to books later on! 😀

  5. I’m actually kind of the same. I’ve learned to DNF books that are my own choices, but when they’re a review book I still try try try to finish them. Though really I don’t think we should feel any guilt for DNFing review books, but it’s hard to get away from the mentality!

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