Memeful Musing: Why I Want to DNF More Books

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Meme-ful Musings: At the end of the month I’ll post a book-related meme that I think brings up an interesting discussion about books. Feel free to join in by making a comment below or linking back!


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Ironically, when it comes to books, I’m an eternal optimist. I say “ironically” because if you ask my family, they would probably call me a “negative Nancy” when it comes to other things in my life. I suppose I am a “glass half-full” kind of girl but it when it comes to books–and in particular book series–I like to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Meaning, it takes me a long time to give up on a book.

Sure, I say I have my 50 Page Rule where I will DNF a book I’m not totally invested in, but I rarely enact it. Most of the time, something will happen in the story that gives me hope that the story will get better; or I convince myself that the awesome plot twist I want to happen will happen if I keep going. I get myself thinking that “what happens if I give up too soon and the book is really amazing?” and that guilts me in to pressing on and then I’m left struggling to review a “meh” book that I forget about in 2 days.

Which is why I want to learn to DNF more books.

The fact of the matter is that you aren’t going to enjoy every book you pick up. Whether it’s hype or simply misreading the synopsis, we all go into books with certain expectations and it SUCKS when you get disappointed. Wouldn’t it be great if you could only read awesome books all the time? That as soon as you know you aren’t going to enjoy a book, you can simply walk away from it and pick up something else instead.

I’m at the point in my life now where I need to “adult”. I’ve finished my last term of post-post-secondary classes (it’s complicated) and am now doing clinical training for my chosen profession. Meaning, I’m not really living the life of a full-time student anymore where I can lounge around all the time reading a book. I have other responsibilities that I have to fulfill and my time for reading and my other hobbies is getting a little sparse.

So it goes without saying that I want to spend my valuable time reading good books–ones that I know I am going to enjoy; that make me want to pick them up and spend all day in bed reading them if I could. And if I should come across a book that just isn’t grabbing my full attention, I don’t want to feel guilty for putting it down.

Or do I?

You know, as soon as I started to write this post, I started to think about it in a different light. Maybe I do need to read those “meh” books to make me appreciate the really amazing books out there. If I don’t remember what a mediocre book is like, how will a know when a book has hit it out of the ballpark? If I’m not reading my 3 star reads, does that mean the books that would usually be a 4 or 5 become the new 3 or less because I’m just not impressed anymore?

I think it’s a fine line for me. I want to enjoy books–but I don’t equate “enjoy” with 5 star reads. There have been plenty of 3 star reads that I have “enjoyed” reading and didn’t mind spending my time on. But I wouldn’t mind learning to give up on those books that I know early on with be 2 star reads.

What’s your stance on DNFing books?

Do you do it often or is it an anomaly?

Do you every feel guilty for DNFing?

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Comments 7

  • I am working on getting better at this too. Part of the process has been getting was choosier about what I pick up in the first place. I have a much more refined purchase criteria than I used to.

    I’m in the same position as you. I’m not a student any more and I have a full time job that sucks, and when I’m not doing that I spend most of my time writing and trying to get somewhere doing what I actually want to. That means that my free time is precious to me, and I’m not going to waste it on books that just aren’t doing it for me.

    • I’m getting much choosier with what books I purchase now too. I try to find other avenues like libraries or review copies when it comes to books I want to read so I’m not purchasing them all the time. Usually I only buy books that have a sale (under $5) or its for a series I have started but can’t find the sequels anywhere else.

      I would love to get back to writing! I have the month of August off so I’m hoping to squeeze in some writing time. But I also have a huge list of books to get through–so we will see how it plays it out. Good luck with your writing!

  • I DNF rarely but I want this too! Mainly because of the reason you stated, I want to invest in reading something that I truly enjoy and I really want to stop when that’s not happening but every time I kind of feel an obligation to that book due to which I’m unable to dnf books more often. But I’m trying to work on this… Nonetheless great post!

    • Thank you!

      It’s a struggle to find the right balance. I find a struggle a lot with review copies because I am such a mood reader. If I feel like I have to read something because I have a deadline, I think it messes with my psyche and I enjoy it less than I thought I would. I especially hate to DNF books that I got for review because how can you review something you haven’t completely finished?

  • I DNF three books this year. IT frustrating to think that I didn’t continue to read it but it’s more frustrating if I ever read it until the end. I have ranted about this on Twitter and I got positive feedback saying I should not worry not finishing a book and that I just have to be honest of the reason why I did so. 🙂

    • I’m always of the opinion that honesty is the best policy! It’s ok to not like something, especially something as personal as reading.

      I get what you mean about the frustration of trying to finish something you aren’t into. Every little thing the characters do starts to drive you nuts!

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