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-empty” 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?