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Discussion: DNFing Books

Hey all, Dani here.

Wow, this is such a timely topic for me, because I actually just DNF’d a book this morning. So, I guess let’s talk about that.

First up, just in case you don’t know, DNF stands for Did Not Finish. This is a topic I have seen discussed all over the book community, both online and off. We talk about what makes us DNF, when it’s okay to DNF, how to rate or review a book we DNF, etc., etc.

It is not often at all that I put down a book with no intention of picking it up again. Most of my DNFs are more like did not finish yets. Sometimes I put a book down because it isn’t grabbing my interest in that moment, or another book is pulling my attention more. But I always come back to it, whether a few days, a few weeks, months, or even years later.

See, it is always okay to put down a book if it isn’t holding your interest, or if there is a character or plot point that crosses a line for you. It’s okay to put it down and pick it up later, or to put it down and never think about it again. Because most of the time we’re reading for pleasure. I mean, if you’re reading a book for a school assignment then you’re just going to have to power through it somehow. But if you’re reading for pleasure then you should be enjoying yourself while you’re reading–

–okay, and we all know that books make us cry and gasp and react in ways that don’t seem pleasurable in that moment, but in the end, it’s the books that evoke that sort of reaction that we remember the most. But if the emotions are primarily negative then by all means step away. You need to do what’s best for you.

As for me, I’ve been reading for most of my life. My mom was reading to me while I was in the womb. Books have always been around, and now, at the age of 31, I think I’m a pretty good judge of books that sound good and/or entertaining to me. I believe this is why I so rarely permanently DNF a book.

This morning is a very rare exception for me. The book in question (which I’ll have a sort-of review up for soon) was pitched to be a online dating/tech industry romance. It sounded sort of cute and geeky. It came off as pretty much sexist, preachy, and honestly kind of man-hatey. I stopped at page 211 out of 340-ish.

I guess that leads to the next aspect of this post: when is it okay to DNF a book and/or how do you rate a book you DNF? Obviously we all have differing opinions on this, and that is totally fine. But I’ll just say that it bothers me when I go on Goodreads and see that someone has rated a book 1-star and their review says something like “DNF @ 10%.” Can you accurately rate a book if you read so little of it?

I don’t even feel like I can give a star rating on the book I just DNF’d, because I read just over half of the book. But I can definitely mark it as a DNF read and leave it at that. Or I could perhaps state that my rating is how much I would rate what I did read (2 stars, for the record).

So where do you feel like it is okay to mark a DNF’d book as read on Goodreads?

Honestly I think that there should be a feature to rate a book as no stars or DNF and have that factor into the rating numbers. ((Of course, I’d prefer to have half-star ratings on Goodreads before a DNF feature, but I think that’s a topic for another day)).

All right, where do you stand on DNFing? Let me know your thoughts in the comments, and I’ll be back soon with more bookish content.

6 thoughts on “Discussion: DNFing Books”

  1. Great post! I think if reading as much as 50% of a book it’s very worthwhile to still write a review and just mention first and foremost “DNF’d @ 50%” if DNF’ing a book at, say, 5% it’s probably worth it to just let it go since there probably wouldn’t be much to say about it anyway outside of “didn’t like” lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that is a perfectly reasonable idea. I didn’t want to mention the title and author of the book I just DNFd because I will have a review up in a few days. If I had read less than 50%, I think I would have just done a Goodreads review, not a blog post too.

      Thanks for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post! I totally think if you’re reading for pleasure, you should DNF a book when you’re not enjoying it!
    I do also struggle with deciding when it is ‘fair’ to stop reading a book, I keep thinking ‘did I give this a real chance?’. I think most of the time DNF a book after 30% or even later!


    Liked by 1 person

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