Since joining the book blogging community, the acronym ‘DNF’ is something I’ve become aware of, meaning ‘did not finish’. But is it weird, that until then it had never really occurred to me to do that? To just stop reading a book and move on? I literally can’t think off the top of my head of any fiction book I’ve ever started and not finished, even if I wasn’t really enjoying it.
Even now that I know ‘DNFing’ is a thing that you can do, and that loads of people do it (I’m not going to be arrested by the book police or anything!), I just can’t seem to abandon a book once I start reading it. I mean, I have no problem with the idea of giving up on a book you’re not enjoying. In fact, it makes total sense. But somehow I can’t seem to do it myself, and sometimes I think that’s a bad thing?
I have a few theories as to why I can’t seem to DNF:
- I’m not overly picky.
I think one of the biggest reasons I don’t DNF, is simply that I’m not majorly picky with my reading. There’s not many books I’ve started reading that have genuinely been that bad that I’ve felt that it would be a real struggle to finish it.
Sure, there have been books I’ve enjoyed more than others, and ones that in an ideal world I probably wouldn’t have wasted my time on. But I feel like a book would have to be truly terrible for me to give up on it completely, and I can’t think of a book where I’ve felt that badly about it.
- I would feel like I’d wasted time if I started a book and didn’t finish it.
Another major reason why I think I don’t DNF, is because once I start a book I already feel like I’ve invested my time, and I don’t want to have wasted it.
Now I’m well aware that this logic is majorly flawed. I in fact end up wasting more time reading entire books that I’m not totally loving than I would by starting a book and then quitting… But I just can’t seem to give up once I start!
- I’m always hoping the book will redeem itself.
I also think that I don’t DNF because I feel like I can’t fully judge the book unless I’ve finished it. Maybe I’m bored in the first half, but what it the second half gets really really good and I miss out on it? Or perhaps I’m not immediately jelling with the characters, but the plot makes it worthwhile?
I just never want to miss out on anything by stopping too early, especially once I’ve made the aforementioned time investment by starting reading.
In my head, all three of these reasons are valid, and perhaps it isn’t a problem if I’m not reading any books bad enough to make me seriously consider DNFing. But sometimes I feel like I should start DNFing books that I’m not totally loving, so I can devote times to books that I can honestly say I thoroughly enjoyed.
I know that not every book you read is going to be your favourite book ever, but there’s so many books out there to read that wasting time on so-so books that I’m not excited about seems like a big waste of time.
So what do you think? Do you DNF books often, or literally never do it? What things would make you decide to DNF?