To DNF or not DNF, that is the question…

1425514_851544098210896_7054318522030830597_nToday’s topic of discussion comes from an article over on The Digital Reader, about an article from The Atlantic.

Do you DNF (did not finish) books? I honestly believe life is too short to read books I can’t get into. It’s not like a movie at the movie theatre, where I not only paid money, but invested time and effort and sometimes even more money to physically put on pants *gasp!* (yeah, I know, right?) AND shoes and go to a different location to watch something. Then, even if it’s bad, I’ll tough it out. (But since I’m very picky about what I subject myself to actually go through all that to see in the theater, actually, I’ve never walked out of a movie in the past several years.)

But books? Yeah. And I’m not even talking Amazon freebies or library books or books I picked up 1,000 for $1 at a yard sale books. I’m talking books I’ve bought via Kindle. (And NO, I do NOT return them. EVER. That’s just a dick move.)

Sometimes, a book will GRAB me by the throat and I HAVE to read it all RIGHT NOW (or as soon as possible) to finish. Sometimes a book is good, but I get distracted by other things, sometimes other books, and it gets put down and picked up several times before it’s finished. Sometimes, I defer judgment on it, put it down, and come back to it later. Sometimes, I get to a point where I think, yeeeeaaahhh no. And then I’ll skim through to the end, just to see if it gets better. If yes, I’ll give it another shot later. If no, I delete it. (Or, in the case of print, list it on our paperbackswap.com account.)

And yes, I do use the preview feature and read through reviews for Kindle books I pay for. (Versus freebies where I’ll one-click and sort it out later.) I buy very few fiction books in print anymore. It’s either Kindle, or a used print book.

I do not feel guilty about DNF’ing a book. I just don’t. Just like I don’t take it personally if someone DNF’s one of my books. Everyone has different tastes. There are VERY popular books out there that I absolutely could not get into to save my life. Books that people adore and rave about and will tear you apart like a rabid weasel if you dare even utter a whispered criticism about them. And, yes, I’m an unabashed skimmer, meaning I will go to the end of the book if I have doubts about a book, check out the ending (in the case of romance to ensure the HEA) and THEN I will read. I don’t do this with all books. But honestly? I have very finite time and energy. I don’t want to read a book that’s going to piss me off by the time I get done with it. I have a limited number of spoons every day, and I’ll be damned if I’ll waste them on books (or other entertainment) that doesn’t “feed” me in some necessary way. Whether it’s to laugh, or escape, or entertainment, or whatever.

So don’t bother trying to make me feel guilty about DNF’ing or skimming through a book. LOL

What are your thoughts, peeps? What are your reading habits? Do you insist on finishing every book you start? Will you DNF a book without hesitation? Will you give a book several chances? Please feel free to chime in with your comments.

Tymber’s latest releases: Geek Chic | Flying Monkeys
Tymber’s Hubby’s book: Dancing on a Tightrope

16 thoughts on “To DNF or not DNF, that is the question…

  1. Yes, totally agree. Life is too short to waste my time on reading a book I can’t get into. I’ve learned you can’t go by other readers’ reviews as I’ve DNF books with mostly five-star reviews. I try to remember to download samples to my Kindle, but sometimes I get suckered into buying it anyway. Just because a book is free does not mean I will download it. I don’t need any books taking up space on my Kindle that I’m not going to like.

  2. It depends on the book. I usually will give it a try, then if it’s not working I’ll skip to the ending and see if there’s a reason to get more invested. I’ve also skipped a few chapters at the beginning to see if things get better. Sometimes all of that works. Sometimes it doesn’t.

    The only book I was really livid about chucking (and I would have zipped that fucker across the room except it was in my Kindle) involved a “secret conflict” that was actually a trigger that should have been flagged for readers. I didn’t return it but I did find someone to borrow it (it was an Amazon read) so I didn’t feel like it was a wasted expense. Someone enjoyed it. But it really pissed me the hell off.

  3. Honestly I have a real hard time putting down a book even if I don’t like it, but with more and more choices available now, I agree with you and am willing to part ways if it just doesn’t grab me. I always surprise myself when everyone raves about a book and then I read it and go meh, it was alright. Just goes to show you that what floats one persons boat, doesn’t always float others and vice versa.

  4. I used to never DNF a book, but now, I do. I do what you do on almost all points. If I’m struggling to get into a book, I’ll flip through to the end and see if it improves. If what I read toward the end is just as bad or infuriating as what I’ve read up front, it’s a DNF.

    I simply have too many books on my Kindle and in my library to spend time reading something that doesn’t grab me.

  5. I will start a book, if I can’t get into it, then I put down and try later. I do not finish books I do not like. Too many out there that I want to read and can’t read fast enough.

  6. I agree as well. I generally have a couple of books going at a time as I find that what holds my interest today may not hold it tomorrow. I don’t DNF often, but if I really don’t like a book for whatever reason – editing, excessive spelling/grammar errors, inconsistent plots, etc., I will put it down (delete off my Kindle, whatever is appropriate) without any guilt. The only time I worry about is if I’ve been given a book to review.

  7. Everything you’ve said is me to a tee!!! Even to skimming through to the end so my brain knows I’ve finished it and then I won’t feel guilty, lol.
    Thank you for being so honest about it yourself. It’s so good to know I’m not the only one, lol. 😀

  8. I use DNF for books that I really, really don’t ever want to complete. I feel no guilt because I stopped reading and I try to remember to delete the book off my ereader (if I’ve purchased the book as opposed to used a subscription service) so I don’t wind up starting to read it again when I don’t have my Goodreads book lists handy.

    When I might come back to try to read the book some other day, I use a category I set up called When I’m Desperate. I find books in this category can wind up being books that I will eventually like – I just need to get a better dose of patience or maybe be in a different mind set than I had when I originally tried to read the story.

    As a side note, I haven’t purchased a hard copy book since I got my first ereader five years ago and I never return an e book I’ve purchased. Nowadays, I’ve moved into the Kindle Unlimited and Scribd worlds. I love being able to pay a set amount each month and then read as much as I like. I’m finding that use of these two services has really broadened the type and number of books I read in a month. I still occasionally buy an ebook but I find those purchases are becoming more and more rare as more books are available via either KU or Scribd.

  9. I try to give a book a chance but if I still can’t get into it after putting it aside and trying again, I give up. With so many books out there to try and so little time, you have to draw the line somewhere. I don’t think anyone should feel guilty about not finishing a book. You keep looking until you find the one that keeps you coming back for more.

    One book I have yet to finish to this day is Bill Clinton’s autobiography. He just rambles on and on. I think I managed to get to the halfway point but haven’t picked it up since.

  10. I couldn’t agree with you more in regards to DNF, I have also been known to skim a book or skip to the end. I also tend to skim through some sections when the authors seems to drone on about every little nook an cranny of a room. Frankly in some cases I don’t really need to know what the décor is like down to the minutest detail. If a book doesn’t grab me in the first 3 chapters I am more likely to DNF it or if I am easily distracted from the book same thing and I may or may not get back to it later. And I generally will not go back to it, if it didn’t grab me the first time chances are it won’t for a second or third try.

  11. I agree with most everyone that there are too many books to read and not enough time. So yes, I skim, especially if the book isn’t holding my attention, and there are probably more books on my cloud drive that are end than I’d like to admit. Luckily kindle unlimited has been awesome for the large amount of reading I do. Haven’t bought a dead tree book in I don’t know how long, and the only ones I buy are from those authors that I like so much that I can’t wait until their books show up on kindle.

  12. Yes I several books I am having trouble reading. I also buy a very small number of excellent authors and rarely if ever move from these. tried and true here
    To read a new author it normally has to be a free book!
    cheap skate here to
    Thanks
    Deb

  13. It is rare I DNF a book but it has happened several times because the spell checks had not happened and it irritated me as well as distracting from the story. I do not feel bad about it as I also never criticise/name those authors – I talk about the story line but not the author as it may an issue for me but not others, the book maybe an aberration for the author and others may be wonderful or even a first published book and I would not want to discourage/disparage an author for pursuing a dream. I have ‘DNF’ because the violence to a lead female character was described to such an extent I felt ill and realised it had been a ‘trigger’. It had not been disclosed in the blurb and I was quite distressed by it even more so as it seemed gratuitous – the story didn’t need it to move forward. A few I have even deleted from whichever ereader the book was on because I NEVER wanted to accidentally open them in the future. It is also rare I buy tree books these days – I read so many books that they take up far less space being on my ereader or Kindle. Thanks for the discussion Tymber.

  14. I’ve DNF’ed print books. I tried, but I just can’t get into Anne Rice. I tried multiple books but to no avail and I know so many people who love her books that I really wanted to, but I just couldn’t make it through the end of a chapter in 5 different books.

    I’m more willing to take a chance on a print book than I am a digital book. With a print book, if I can’t finish it or don’t like it, I can trade it in for another book.

    With digital books, I’ll take a chance on the free books and if I don’t like it, then I can delete it, but if I paid for it, I can’t trade it in for half off.

    I’m a much more picky digital reader than I am a print reader.

  15. Hello,

    I DNF and rate/review if I am over 30%. I installed this self-policy sometime in 2014.

    My DNF shelf is 12% of my reads. In an effort not to waste my time, I have developed a system: I sample from seller ALL new to me authors prior to purchase. My Sampled shelf is at about 60% of all book I attempt to read, if that makes sense. I do not rate Sampled but I do make note to self why I will not continue. Often, GR fiends PM to ask what happened when they are interested to read.

    M =D

  16. Oh and there is “on the back burner” shelf lol for books I feel I will continue just not right then.

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