When Do You Decide to DNF?

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Lately, I've been stuck in a reading rut.  My usual reading selections just haven't been satisfying my typical hunger for good books.  And so, I've been experimenting and exploring with different genres since the beginning of this year.

Recently, I picked up a classic work from English literature that just about everyone seems to love and adore.  As for me?  I can't decide whether I like the book or flat-out hate it.  I go from being ridiculously bored one minute to slightly interested the next.  Each page seems like twenty in my mind.

I can't decide whether to "DNF" it or not.


There have only been a few books throughout all my years of reading that I've decided to DNF.  I hate "DNF-ing" books, because I simply hate giving up on a piece of text prematurely.  I want to love every book I choose to pick up, but unfortunately, we all know that's not the sweet reality of this world.

One of my all-time favorite books, Jellicoe Road, taught me to never put down a book permanently too early.  For the first 100 pages (I kid you not), I was absolutely bored with the book--completely uninterested.  Being an extremely inpatient reader at the time, I probably would have put down the book about twenty pages or so in.  However, since I was required to read the book for my English class, I thankfully read on . . . and ended up loving the novel wholeheartedly.  (I talk about this book a lot, so I apologize if this story is one you've already heard.)

Ever since then, I've vowed to read what I deem a "significant portion" of every book I begin.  This philosophy of sorts has both rewarded me and disappointed me.  I want to give every book a chance, but I don't want to waste my time by forcing myself to read a book I don't enjoy.  I'm conflicted.

So, my question is when do you decide to "DNF" a book?

Do you give up on a piece of text the moment boredom begins to creep in?  Do you trudge on until the end?  Is there a definitive moment when you absolutely know a particular book just isn't for you?

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Let me know in the comments below.  Let's discuss!


Julia's a dreamer. She often zones off periodically throughout the day thinking up plans for the future, pining over fictional characters, and concocting up possible plot lines for stories.

You can find Julia on her main blog, Peach Print, on Twitter @peachprint, on Instagram @yapeach, and of course, right here on the APCB blog.

24 comments:

  1. I DNF a book if I get through the first fourth of the book and I'm not interested. Before, I hated the idea of giving up on a book because I was always worried that I'd miss out on something great by putting it down. But I have never really experienced a book that that I was happy I pushed myself all the way through it. So each time I go to read a book, I look at how many pages it is and figure out what the fourth marker is, and if I'm not interested by that point then I put the book down.

    This is a great post, thanks for sharing!
    ~Brittany @ Brittany's Book Rambles

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  2. I do my best not to DNF a book. Like you, I really don't like to DNF a book I picked up - I *want* to love this book. But it can't always be that way.
    I usually DNF a book for one reason: boredom. That usually happens because of a very-very slow-paced plot\too many descriptions of places\things.
    When it happens, I do my best to keep reading. After all, there are some books that are hard to get into but once you do... they may very well become one of your favorite.
    But if I really can't keep going, I put the book aside. I don't rate it, because I feel it would be unfair of me to rate a book I DNF, even if I didn't like it.
    In other words, I agree with you completely (:

    My blog: http://magiverse.blogspot.co.il/

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  3. I never used to DNF books because I was always hopeful that it would get better, but recently I've come round to the idea more, because I just realised that there is no point trying to force myself to read something I'm not enjoying because there are so many other things to be reading and so little time! If I find myself not wanting to pick up the book once I've put it down, or I feel pained to carry on, I DNF. The hard thing is distinguishing between whether I'm not enjoying the book or whether I'm just in a reading slump and not going to enjoy anything I read.

    Great post, Julia, love it :)

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  4. I hate dnfing as well especially because, like you, I was once reading a book which I found so boring for the first 80-100 pages and then it ended up being one of my all-time favourites! Generally if a book has gotten quite good ratings or it's a classic that many people love I will try to continue, but if it really feels like a struggle to read a book - I DNF it! :)

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  5. I really hate not finishing a book - however if by halfway I hate the characters, have no interest in the story and can generally find no redeeming qualities - I will give it up. Although In many cases, I find many books really pick up the pace towards the middle/end. Yet nothing is worse then forcing yourself to read a book - life to short and there are to many other wonderful books!

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  6. I really hate DNF-ing novels, that said, when I can't click with the characters and could not possibly care less about the story, I'll likely DNF the book. I always try to read until the 50% mark (especially, if the book received good ratings or was recommended to me), but there are some books that I can't click with, starting from the first page. This might sound strange, but I'll more likely DNF a novel that I think others would like, but it's not for me, than something that I wouldn't recommend to anyone.
    DNF-ing is something I do only when I don't want to know the ending AT ALL. And, as I'm quite curious, that doesn't happen too often so I usually finish even the 1 or 2 star books. Or, at least, skim read them.
    Great post! :)

    Veronika @ The Regal Critiques

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  7. The second you feel like reading it is a chore. The second you're thinking about quitting, the second you feel like you have to read it, even though you really don't. Life's too short to wait any longer than that.
    - Jen from The Bookavid

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  8. I pretty much never DNF books. I think I've only done it to two in my entire reading career! I'm one of those people who HAS to know how the story ends, regardless of whether it's a good storyline or writing. Every single book has a point to it and I want to know what it is, even if it's a horrible one.

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

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  9. If I'm halfway through and I couldn't care what happens I'll end. There is one I dnf'd 24 pages in because I was rolling my eyes so much I was afraid they were going to fall out.

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  10. When it takes me forever to read a book, that is never a good sign. A good book keeps calling you back to it and you'll literally hide in the bathroom pretending to take a shower while you're actually reading (*cough* not that I actually did that or anything *cough*)
    So... I don't have a hard and fast rule, but if I realize I keep thinking of other important things I need to be doing instead of reading a book (laundry! errands!) then it might be time to put it aside...
    Jen @ YA Romantics

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  11. I can't stand it when I have to DNF. Thankfully, it is a very rare occurrence. Normally, if I do DNF, it isn't until around the 110 page mark. I try to wait as long as possible, because you just never know if you are going to fall in love with it!

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  12. I only recently started DNFing books. I usually will power through a book no matter what because I could not bring myself to just not finish it. It made me feel really bad. I can't remember where I read it or watched it from a booktuber, but they made a great point. They said that they will DNF a book because why torture yourself and make reading work when it should be for enjoyment. The time spent trying to push a book your not enjoying could be spent reading other books you want to get to and enjoy. It made perfect sense to me. I will DNF a book too early. Usually I try to at least get halfway through the book to decide if its not working for me. I have even just put a book down and have come back to it a later time. I had to shelf Red Queen about a little more than ahlfway through for a year and just recently finished it. So it depends what works for you.

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  13. I generally try not to DNF books, but if I begin and immediately realize that there is absolutely no way I will be able to force myself through the book, I abandon it. As a result, I DNF most books within the first few chapters. If I feel a book is terrible but I have already reached the halfway point, I am more likely to force myself, albeit grudgingly, through the rest of the story. Lovely discussion :)

    ✨ Claire @ Cover to Cover

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  14. I don't like DNFing books either ! In fact, I have only just one book in my DNF shelf, and that was because it wasn't just boring, it was awful : the writing, the characters and well of course the story. I knew it was pointless to keep reading because, well I don't think I would have liked it anyways! I also, recently, read The Magicians, and well at first it was so boring that I just kept counting the pages left before it was over, but I kept reading it because the characters were likeable and the writing was beautiful ! Eventually, iit got really interesting when I reached 200 pages or so. All this to say that usually I don't DNF, but it can happen if the book is bad at every point, if it has nothing to keep me reading then I just won't force myself reading it.

    @ "Book Addict"

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  15. Great post!!! I don't like to DNF books, I away try to keep reading even if I get bored at the beginning, I usually keep reading until chapter 10, and if I don't like it well *sad face* :(

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  16. I always give a book a *fair shot. I DNF books if there is a lot of profanity or just content I don't want in my brain, if I have given it a fair amount of pages and I am forcing myself to read it, and if I am no longer having fun reading. I think that all books deserve a fair shot, but there comes a point when it needs to be put down.

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  17. I'm actually terrible about DNF-ing books, and rarely do it as well since you never really know what a book has in store for you. The problem with me and DNF-ing is that I don't want to give up on a book too early, but if I've already read a large portion of the novel, I figure that I might as well read it all the way through. Does that make sense? But yeah, some people have definitely mastered the DNF; I've got to work on recognizing when I know a book just won't do it for me. Great post, Julia!

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  18. I don't know girl, I try not to DNF a book because I always feel bad when I do it because like you said, I don't like to quit something once I invested so much time in it and then factor in the fact that I spent money on it, I feel like I need to finish it because if I don't it'll feel like a waste of time. :(

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  19. That's a good question. I used to have a problem DNFing books, but I have way too many books on my TBR to waste time on books that I am not enjoying. I mean, what if I were to get hit by a bus and die and the last book I was reading bored me to tears?? Morbid, I know. I don't know that I have a specific point in a book at which I decide to DNF (I rarely DNF before 50 pages though), but I usually DNF it if I realize I would rather do ANYTHING else (even housework) except read. And if I am dreading the book instead of getting excited by it, then I stop.

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  20. I too try and read a significant amount of each book before I DNF it! But sometimes, there's just no getting there, if I really can't read at least 20% I will put it down. I usually try for 20% before I stop though, but I never force myself to read something that I just can't. If it's taking me two weeks to read the first 10% then I will definitely stop reading.

    Jordon @ Simply Adrift

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  21. I am basically the worst at DNFing. I cannot make myself do it, no matter how much I want to. Because like you and Jellicoe Road, sometimes there IS a hidden gem! But of course, more often than not (MUCH more) it becomes a 1-2 star book. I have DNFed... 3 or 4 books total in life. And I don't regret it. One I DNFed at 54% because I was going to keel over from boredom. As it turns out, it didn't get better (I asked people to spoil it hah). The quickest I ever DNFed was at 12% because it was just terrible. And there wasn't going to be redemption. That was when I started thinking long and hard about which review requests I accepted 😂 But yeah, I don't have any hard and fast rules because it is such a rarity!

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  22. I just did a post like this on my blog asking how other people review books including DNFing. This whole topic really intrigues me because its not talked as often as I would I thought it would be. I found that it really depends on the reader. Personally I feel so bad about DNFing books because I want to like them, but its mostly caused by slow pacing in the book.

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  23. Usually, if I've made it about 30-40% of the way through and I still don't feel like I have a sense of the direction of the book, I call it quits. If it seems like it has promise, I'll just set it aside and intend on revisiting later (sometimes I actually DO!), but often enough, I just end up being done. I typically don't review them in any fashion other than a brief blurb about why I stopped, mostly to serve as a reminder to myself.

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