Deciding on whether to DNF a book

I think I’ve written about this before, but the following post popped into my feed recently and I thought I’d write about it again.

I never DNF books: Here’s why

For anyone that doesnt know: DNF means Did Not Finish. DNC is Did Not Complete. Both are essentially the same thing….the reader started a book, and had to make a decision over whether or not to finish it.

Some readers will NEVER DNF a book (see above post).  Some will DNF with various caveats. I’m in the latter camp. I havent taken a picture of my recent TBR (To Be Read) pile, but it has spread from the shelves to below and above the coffee table, several piles on the sofa and a huge pile on the bedside table. At the rate I’m reading at the moment, I dont have time to finish the books I actually enjoy, never mind the books I dont.

When I come across a book that I’m not enjoying and I’m thinking of abandoning it, I have to make a decision as to why.

  • Do I have a problem with the book itself (e.g. they way it’s written, the characters, etc)? If that’s the case, I will put in the “go somewhere else” pile and never look at it again.
  • Is the book potentially ok, and I’m currently not in the right mood for this right now?  This is always possible, and generally why I don’t prescribe a set order in which to read a book. I find this is too close to “homework” and I will instantly dislike a book that I could have loved under different circumstances and times.  Therefore the book gets put back on the shelf, to be attempted again later. Often I’ve forgotten I’ve tried that book before so I often go in “fresh” to a book!

So, dear reader, what is your stance? How do you approach a book that you are struggling with?



6 thoughts on “Deciding on whether to DNF a book

  1. I DNF books more often than I used to, and with criteria similar to yours. Generally, if I make it to at least a third of the way in and I am still not having a good reading experience, it gets DNFd – if it just doesn’t feel like the right time, I stop reading it fairly early on and save it for another day. I’m currently reading a book that I tried to read a couple of times and gave up after just a few pages, but now I’m enjoying it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The older I get (and I’m getting pretty old here), the more I’m willing to quit reading a book I’m not enjoying. I also quit reading books that piss me off because of inaccuracies, or that just bore me. However, sometimes I force myself if the book isn’t too long – like I did with Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf.


    • I think my Woolf books got put back on the shelf, on the basis that I should give at least one more go.

      In the last 18 months or so I gave up on a “Regency” Romance novel that had the main characters explain London distances in “blocks”. Another “Regency” novel that had a cake layered with Grenache and not Ganache. Well you can both Feck right off. No wonder the Americans get such a bad rap when this is the level of drivel fed to them. Bum! (off to lie down!)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m tending to DNF more books now than in previous years – something to do with consciousness of advancing age and thus fewer years in which to read! sometimes I can tell just within a few pages that the book isn’t for me right now and never will be – like you it is usually the style that’s the issue. Others I put to one side and have another go in a few weeks. If, when I pick it up again, I can remember nothing about it, that’s a sign it’s not going to keep me enthralled.


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