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DNF (Did Not Finish) (Discussion + Advice) #Reviewers #Reading #Constructive #Discussion #Sharing #Books

Good morning everyone and welcome to another advice & discussion post. This post is mainly for advice for myself instead of others but if talking it out can assist others in making their minds up about finishing or giving up a book then that would be excellent. I am terrible at DNFing, terrible! I usually give a book at 100 pages before I make time to sit down to make my mind up about if I am enjoying it or not, but by then I usually think that because I have got this far in then I might as well finish it… So I have put together this post to discuss DNFs and reviewing or not reviewing them.

There was a brilliant amount of advice on my last post and I am seriously grateful. If you want to throw your hat in the ring this time around then please do! Here are the points I want to cover in this post.

Discussion Points

  • What is your opinion on DNFing a book?
  • How often does it happen to you?
  • Is it a good idea to review a book you didn’t finish?
  • How long do you wait until you give up a book?
  • Do you think you are too harsh or too kind when it comes to giving up on a book?

My Thoughts

I rarely ever DNF books because I am a bit of a completionist and I find it hard to give up on something once I have started it. It is a real problem for me as a blogger because if I was more willing to give up on books that don’t work for me then I would have more time for the books that do. I am always concerned that I have given up to early or that it might get better eventually. I am seeking advice and encouragement for being more efficient in my book review selection process.

I have only ever had to DNF about 3 times since I became a blogger. Once because an author was really getting on my case about reading their book, so much so that I gave up reading it. Another was due to me being unable to relate to anything the author was trying to convey. I was a 25 year old male with children, the author was a 44 year old woman who hates kids so it was hard to connect with her writing. The last one was so weird that I shelved it for another day when I am in possibly in the mood for that level of randomness. I just don’t really know when to give up on most books.

I am starting to think about my criteria for review worthy books more and more everyday. I think I am going to start reviewing books I don’t finish in the future as I think it is a good exercise to talk about books that didn’t work for me but to focus more on how it might for other readers. I don’t see many DNF reviews in my circles so I am wondering if it is common practice. I do not see why it would do any harm to discuss why I didn’t finish a certain book as it might help other people make their minds up about a book or author they have been looking at for a while.

As I said before, my mark is usually the 100 pages mark before I begin considering if this book is for me or not. The author has usually hit their stride by then and I am far enough into the story or content to become invested. I think it has to do with self-doubt when I am deciding whether or not to continue reading that I usually just carry on reading. I am worried I haven’t given the book enough thought or time. Is this common for other people or is it just me?

I know for a fact I am way too nice to books that I am not totally enjoying. I need to become more cutthroat in my decision making processes and make more time for books that might potentially blow my mind or at least give me plenty to talk about. There are several outside factors that make it hard to give up reading like blog tour reviews or recommendations from other bloggers but I have some ideas to try and make it work. I wanted to put this across to everyone in the book community to see what the general consensus was and I am looking forward to the responses.

Do you agree with me? Do you struggle with DNFs? Are you quick to drop a book that doesn’t agree with you? Do you review books you haven’t finished? Am I wrong about how I approach DNFs?

 Thank you for stopping by to jump into another advice & discussion post here on Always Trust In Books. I am sincerely grateful for everyone’s input in these posts and I have already had plenty of bloggers that have shown their appreciation for the topics we discuss. I hope I keep getting the responses I have been getting as it makes taking the time to talk about these subjects really worthwhile. If you have any other blogging related problems you want to chat about in a group then please let me know here, on Twitter or on Facebook


33 thoughts on “DNF (Did Not Finish) (Discussion + Advice) #Reviewers #Reading #Constructive #Discussion #Sharing #Books

  1. I used to struggle with DNF’ing a book when I just started blogging. Mostly when it concerned ARC’s because I felt that the publisher had given me this opportunity and here I was seemingly not appreciating that. But I’ve changed since then. Like you, I read until about the 100 page mark and if the book hasn’t grabbed me by then, I stop reading. So many books, so little time. Why waste our precious hours on something we’re not enjoying? I don’t review a book I’ve not finished as that doesn’t seem fair. I can’t write up a full opinion on something I haven’t experienced to the fullest.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Always always always give yourself the option to DNF! Honestly it has changed my reading for the better. Book I am not enjoying really hinder my reading to the point where I’ll avoid reading all together. Life is too short to read books that you don’t like, and no book is ever going to please everyone.

    My rules for DNFing are as follows:
    -A book has 100 pages to capture my interest, which I think is more than fair. It doesn’t have to be amazing, but it has to at least intrigue me.
    -Reviewing DNF’ed books doesn’t seem quite fair, but I will always try to at least explain the reasons why, especially if it’s a reason I think other people need to know about (difficult or disturbing content, for example).
    -ARCs always get more of a chance than books I bought!

    I actually rarely DNF books despite being very open to it. I think that knowing I’m giving myself the option really helps!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Blogging is the reason I started to DNF books a bit more ruthlessly. There’s just so little time! And it really is a good feeling when you realise you can set aside a book you’re really not enjoying. Good luck!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Fab post!
    I usually don’t DNF before reading 15-20% of the book. I used to finish but then so many books I want to read, if something is still dragging after 20% I just pass to next one..

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m the queen of DNF’s! If I can’t get into a book I’m always happy to put it down for something that might work better for me. As cliche as it is – there are just too many books out there to be wasting time on bad ones! Sometimes it can be tough to put down a book if it’s from the author directly, for example, but at the end of the day, it’s better to be honest.

    I do review my DNF’s (because there is so many of them). I always try to talk about why it didn’t work for me and how it might work for others, but sometimes if it’s just really bad, I get a bit ranty, which is something I need to try my hardest to avoid. I also never give a DNF a star rating (other than on sites that require one) because you can’t really rate a book on the small % you’ve read (unless it’s offensive and horrible and then you can :P)

    DNFing is a really tricky subject and it’s totally different for everyone – you do you! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I used to feel incredibly guilty if I gave up on a book, but I don’t now as life is far too short. I do try to keep going with a book, but if I can’t connect with the writing or the characters, then I DNF. Also if I don’t like the narrator for an audiobook, I’ll DNF as there’s nothing worse than listening to a voice I’m not enjoying, as it’ll spoil the book for me. I review DNFs for NetGalley as I feel I can’t give a honest review for a book I didn’t complete, but I do send feedback to the publisher explaining why I didn’t finish it. Sometimes I’ll leave a review on Goodreads for a DNF, but it’s just a note to remind me why it didn’t work for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I do DNF a fair amount. Sometimes I do Mini-Reviews (especially when it’s ARCs), sometimes I just quietly put it on my “will probably not finish” shelf on Goodreads, sometimes I just put it away for maybe later. I have a problem with sunk cost, which is why I DNF rather early or not at all because sometimes I feel that I have already invested too much time to not find out how it ends. (sometimes I just skip to the end) I think what I am trying to say is that I don’t think there is a right way to DNFing – it just needs to work for the reader. If you feel guilty not finishing books then go ahead and read the whole book, if you feel like life’s to short, put it away.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I never DNF a book. I believe that if I want to review the book I need to complete it entirely, otherwise my rating of the book is a lie.
    How can you give a book 1 star and then tell me you “DNF at 52%” ….YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT HAPPENED THEN! There could have been something mind-blowingly amazing in the last part of that book that would have got it another star or 2 in your book, but you’ll never know since you gave up! I agree with the people that say they don’t have time for bad literature. I do hate to muscle through and complete these books sometimes… but, my soul can’t let them go! Ha ha!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m rarely quick to out a book down and relegate it to my DNF pile but sometimes I just have to.
    I have given some books another chance and absolutely loved them so I always plan on revisiting my DNF pile

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I also rarely DNF as well (just post why yesterday 😉) but it is more because of my mood reading. I can not be feeling a book today and thoroughly enjoy it the next week. So I tend to reshelve a lot of titles. But I normally try to give books 30%. If it truly is not for me, I have no problem putting it down. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I don’t DNF books very often I think I have become pretty good at picking books I will love or at least like enough to want to finish it. So far this year I have only DNFed 1 book and I did retire a DNF review for it. When I write those reviews I always make sure to say I didn’t finish it and I mention how much of it I did finish it and why it wasn’t for me. I try to give books to at least the half way point but I’m starting to think that might be a little bit much of I’m not enjoying it.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I don’t DNF often but am open to it. Sometimes that means it’s a book I’d like to go back to someday but others are just not for me at all and I don’t have any interest in completing. I typically don’t review books I don’t finish as I don’t think it’s fair but have recently been toying with the idea of doing mini round ups of DNFs to explain why they didn’t work for me at that time. Every reader is different, though, you have to do what works for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I only DNF 3-5 books per year out of around 90 that I read. I always review them because I think it’s a valuable perspective for others who may consider reading a certain book. I try to be fair and thorough when I discuss why exactly it didnt work for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Not finishing books is a great topic for a post!
    I used to be really bad at giving up on a book – I’d persevere, and hate every moment. Now I just accept that some books just aren’t for me, and will move on if I’m not enjoying it. Whilst I understand why it’s a contentious point, for me reading is something I do to relax, and I can’t do that if I’m not enjoying the book. I have limited time (who doesn’t) and I firmly believe that life is too short to force your way through a book that you’re not enjoying.
    This can be difficult when it comes to ARCs though – I do feel bad if I’m abandoning a book that I’ve been sent for review, and this is something I struggled with when I started blogging, but again, I’ve come to realise that no one will like every book they’ve been sent. This doesn’t happen often though – I think that because I tend to request the ARCs I read, they are usually ones I’m keen on.
    My personal rule is to read 20% – I think that that is sufficient time to assess the book and determine whether it’s worth continuing. That’s not to say that I don’t sometimes get beyond that point before giving up though – but I will always go to around 20% before giving up.
    In terms of reviewing DNF books – I have done 1 (I think) but I’ve stopped doing so. It didn’t feel right to review a book that I hadn’t finished, and I felt that I wasn’t sufficiently informed to comment upon it. I don’t think it’s wrong though – and I’ve seen some reviews of books that weren’t finished that worked very well – it’s just not for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Jo! Thank you for your fantastic insights. I am becoming stressed out about finishing books because there are some great books with awful parts and some terrible books with great moments. I need to be better at recognising which is which.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I DNF at least one book a month, I have given up trying to finish books I am not into. I don’t feel bad about it or guilty. I find the book a good home and I am content with that and I get to move onto a book I am actually enjoying. I used to really fear missing out, but every time I let that get in my way of DNFing a book in the past I found out I wasn’t missing anything.

    I tend to make my call about 20-25% though the book, if I am not engaged at that point I call it quits. If something happens I don’t like in a book and it ruins it for me I will end it then and there. I have become very cutthroat.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I DNF without mercy. I decided at one point that my time is just to valuable to waste on something i don’t enjoy and it’s not necessary. Like, i spend 8 hours a day working, and not because i’m having so much fun. So i’d rather not spend my free time as well on things i don’t like. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Ever since I became a blogger, I only DNFed 2 books so far. Before, I drop it so easily even after a few chapters. XD Now, I only DNF it if it’s really problematic. But for this kind of books, I usually don’t post the reviews on my blog, only on Goodreads. ^^

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I used to be one of those readers that had to finish every book I started, a bit like required reading at school but in the last few years that has changed. Generally if I’m struggling at the 15-20% mark I put it aside but that isn’t a hard and fast rule. Most recently I gave up on a read that had been widely acclaimed in the blogosphere and I’d bought my own copy on the strength of the outpouring of high reviews but it simply didn’t work for me so I gave up. Yes, I possibly missed out as I didn’t get very far at all but decided if I wasn’t feeling it and I have a mountainous TBR what was the point?

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I rarely DNF a book – I can think of maybe three since I started blogging in November 2016. The good news is that’s mainly because I enjoy most of the books I read. However, I’ll admit I’m the sort of person who perseveres with things. I’m always the last person to give up on a quiz or crossword! I’m also conscious of the time and effort the author and everyone involved in the book put into it. As a book reviewer and blogger I feel I’m not obliged to LIKE a book but I should give it proper consideration. However, I completely respect those who take a different approach.

    The sort of thing that would make me DNF a book is poor writing,editing and proofreading or subject matter I found offensive or too disturbing. I wouldn’t review a book I did not finish because it wouldn’t be a very positive review and I don’t think there’s a need for more negativity in the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. This is such an interesting post. I have 2 books on my NetGalley list that are filling me with guilt every time I see them (both by the same well-known author). I started reading one of them and it was ok but there are so many other amazing books out there I just can’t bring myself to finish reading them. It’s totally my fault for requesting them in the first place. Another thought though – with a recent read I got over half way and just wasn’t feeling it, was a bit bored but I rallied on through and to my surprise it got really good! Actually changed my mind on it completely. So it can sometimes pay to continue reading a ‘not-so-great’ book. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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