[LET’S CHAT] DNF-ing Books

 

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“Mikaela, are you starting another new feature?” Of course I am. I already have a Discussion feature, in which I talk about bigger book topics, but I realized there were a lot of topics I wanted to discuss that I didn’t feel would be able to fill out an entire blog post or seemed a bit unoriginal since pretty much every other blogger has talked about the same issues. So I thought it’d be nice to create a sort of mini-discussions feature called “Let’s Chat” about all the problems/things we as bookworms face. And I thought the perfect first topic was DNF-ing books.

Everyone usually has their own personal policy on DNF-ing. Some people give it halfway, some people give it 25%, some people will just give up ten pages away from the end in frustration, and some will know that the book isn’t for them after two chapters in. It’s so interesting how different we are as readers, and I think it says a lot about us depending on when and where you give up and say, “I’m done!”

For me, I try (the keyword is “try”) to give until at least 50% before I DNF. I personally think that if I’ve read around that much of an author’s book, and it’s still not picking up or improving, then there’s really nothing in the last half of the book that’s going to make me change my mind.

Above are some books that I DNF-ed after reading through 50%. First up is Under the Never Sky, which I actually first read in the sixth grade. I actually liked the novel back then, but last year, I decided to re-read it so I could finish out the series, and lo and behold, I detested it. The insta-love was SO BAD, and the world-building wasn’t too great either. I got so annoyed and I wasn’t enjoying reading it, so I just bowed out before I got too angry. We also have Hollow City, which I gave up on because I was so damn bored, I couldn’t take it anymore. The Iron King was a book I expected to love because all of my Goodreads friends seemed to and I LOVE fae, but I wasn’t really invested in this one, and ended up calling it quits about 40 pages before the end. And for Rebel of the Sands, I also DNF-ed it late in the game, literally two chapters in the end because I just couldn’t finish it. I was bored, I didn’t like the plot, and there were too many characters to juggle.

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Other times, I just end up quitting earlier on because my expectations aren’t met, or I just really don’t feel like suffering through something that has an incredibly slow start. Usually, for most of my earlier DNFs, it really all comes down to how bored I am with what’s going on.

These are some books I ended up quitting early on. As you guys know, I wasn’t a huge fan of The Darkest Minds trilogy, and once I reached In the Afterlight, I was so bored, I just gave up, especially since I wasn’t really a huge fan in the first place. With The Fever, I was expecting something completely different, and I ended up being faced with petty high school drama. I knew I couldn’t take that, so I decided that it just wasn’t for me. For Before the Fall, I was super excited to read this, but it was a slower thriller, more of a literary thriller, and I felt like the plot hadn’t really moved forward, so I skipped on it. Bad Little Girl was one I felt super bad about, since I received an e-ARC of it, but I read 10 chapters and was so incredibly bored, that I knew it just wasn’t going to happen. I also had a bunch of other e-ARCs to read, so I didn’t feel like wasting time.

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And there’s also another category of DNFs. There have actually been books I’ve DNF-ed that I just read at the wrong time, and have actually become some of my favorite books (or, in one case, a book that I found just fine). I’m always up for giving books second chances if I see enough hype for them, and I’m always glad when I do and find that it was just bad timing the first time around. 

Way back when, I started to read Cinder. I didn’t hate it exactly, but the first chapter didn’t really pull me in. Later on, I picked it up because of Goodreads reviews, and ended up loving it. I binged all three books in the series (at the time, Winter hadn’t come out yet), and it’s now one of my favorite series ever. With The Maze Runner, I’m sort of angry about it because I picked this up way back in the fifth or sixth grade, when it wasn’t popular. Believe it or not, I was obsessed with romance over plot (I know, crazy, right?), and flipped through the entire book to find the scene where they kissed, and was highly disappointed to see the main characters didn’t. I decided to give up on it after two chapters, and picked it back up once it got popular and loved it. I could’ve been a trendsetter you guys! Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Shadow and Bone were both fantasy books where I couldn’t get past the first couple of chapters, but later read and enjoyed. I loved Daughter of Smoke and Bone, while I thought Shadow and Bone was just okay and I never actually continued on past that.

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Then there’s the big question: Should we rate books we haven’t fully read? Personally, for me, I have rated a couple, mostly the ones I read 50% or more of. I consider that enough for me to judge the book on, but I know there are some people who only rate books they’ve fully read and feel like it’s wrong to assign one star to a book because it’s sort of unfair. For books I read less than 20% of, I didn’t rate them at all, and for the ones I went back to, the only time I rated them was after I actually completed them the second time around.

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And that’s it for the first ever edition of Let’s Chat! I hope you enjoyed it, because I’ve already written about 10+ topics, and I’m not going to waste them all.

(Just kidding. But I HAVE already written a bunch of topics already.)

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What is your personal DNF policy? What are some books that you’ve DNF-ed? Any books you’ve DNF-ed, then re-read them and enjoyed them?

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44 thoughts on “[LET’S CHAT] DNF-ing Books

  1. I’ve started DNFing more books as well. I used to force myself to make it through, but it just ended with more bad reviews from me and less time reading books I enjoyed. Great post! I recently DNF The Sun is Also a Star. I really wanted to support the author bc I love her as a person, but the major instalove and what not made it impossible for me.

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    • Yeah, exactly! I really don’t like wasting my time on books I’m just really not enjoying! I’ve heard the same thing about The Sun Is Also a Star, so I’m not going to read it. 😂 I’m not a huge fan of insta-love or contemporaries, so I skipped it!

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  2. I don’t have an issue with DNFing books apart from ARCs which I tend to force myself to read enough to allow me to write a balanced-review. As for reviews, the same applies. I only review ARCs that I have DNFed but not the other books. Those I never mention again lol.

    Its interesting though some of of the books that you DNFed are my favourites and two are books that I really want to read based on numerous recommendations received. One is Rebel of the Sand and the other one is Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I totally get it though, there is a book(When Breathe Becomes Air) that the whole world loves but I DNFed so I never even tell anyone about it . Interesting how diverse our interests are.

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    • Haha, same, I wrote up a DNF review for an ARC that till probably post. I’ve already DNF-ed two ARCs, and I don’t feel bad about it? 😂 I feel like I should, but if other people are DNF-ing, I go ahead and skip!

      I already mentioned in the post that DOSAB I re-read; I just DNF-ed it at first, so I do recommend that one! Rebel of the Sands I just didn’t enjoy; my enjoyment of it waned in the end, unfortunately. 😬 I have yet to read When Breath Becomes Air, but it looks interesting; it’s on my TBR!

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  3. I try to wait until around the 40/50% mark until i dnf a book. But I do understand that sometimes you need to be in the mood for specific books (usually classics or fantasy novels for me) which is why I put some books ‘on hold’ for a later time when I feel like reading it 🙂

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    • Yeah, same! And, yes, I’m a mood reader, so there are a lot of times where I just put a book on hold and decide to read it later (even though that list is slowly becoming larger). 😂

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  4. Great discussion, Mikaela! I actually DNF books quite liberally myself but I don’t always rate them – usually I only rate them when I feel like I’ve seen enough of the book, though this differs in each case. I’m not sure what the last book I DNFed was — so many I’ve opened and closed because it’s “not the right time yet” but I don’t really count those as DNFs. The last book I ALMOST DNFed, however, was probably The Inexplicable Logic of My Life. I ended up finishing it bc it was a review book but I still didn’t like it. 😂

    And I’m surprised to see that you’re not that into Shadow and Bone! I haven’t read it myself but it almost feels like I haven’t yet seen a bad review for that book, haha.

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    • Thank you! And, yes, that’s usually when I rate them – when I’ve seen enough of them to judge, which is probably why I don’t rate them when I’ve only read, like, 5 chapters. There’s so many books that were weak in the start, but I ended up loving, so I don’t like doing that because I know it might just not be for me. Lol, I’ve already DNF-ed two review books oops. 😂

      Yeah, it was just meh to me. It was like every YA fantasy to me. I feel like it was a right time for publishing it, though, because if it were published today, I’m pretty sure people wouldn’t have loved it as much. Six of Crows was much better, imo.

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  5. I started DNFing books AND not feeling guilty about them only last year. Before that, I’d try my best to trudge through books I didn’t like, and always felt guilty for giving up on them. I think the guilt part is an important part of discussion too, because a lot of readers do feel it. I DNF books quite a lot, but for me the condition is that it has to be terribly boring. I sometimes continue with bad books too, just so I can rant about it 😛

    As for the rating DNFed books point of discussion, I think it’s a personal choice. I rate every book, because there’s a reason behind every DNF and I probably would’ve rated the book low for those same reasons, had I completed it.

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    • Yeah, I definitely feel that guilt thing! I mentioned in another comment that I’m more likely to give a chance to a book with hype just because it’s got to mean something, and I’ll feel sort of bad when it just doesn’t work out for me. 😬 Yeah, boring books usually do it for me. I realize for books that I rate one star but read fully I found addicting in some strange way. 😂

      And, yeah, I get that! I do the same with the ones over 50% because I feel like that’s enough at the point, but for less than that, I usually don’t. Probably because I don’t have too many feelings about it.

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  6. Great post!! DNF-ing can really be different for me, just depending on the mood I’m in, or what book it is. For example, if a book has a lot of hype and I’m not really into it right away, I’ll continue reading it to see if it gets better. That’s what I did with The Mortal Instruments (although I didn’t end up finishing the series anyway, it just wasn’t for me). Sometimes I just stop reading a book halfway and then pick it up a few weeks later when I’m in the mood for it again (I guess that’s like a mini DNF?) But I’ve even stumbled upon books that I DNFed with 100 pages to go because I just. Couldn’t. Do it.

    Anyway, lovely post! ❤

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    • That’s actually a really interesting factor! I actually have re-read books because they have so much hype, and I wonder if maybe I missed something when I first read it??? I did that with the Winner’s trilogy – still hated it – and the Divergent trilogy – wasn’t as bad as I remembered – and, of course, with Cinder, DOSAB, and Shadow and Bone. For underhyped books, I tend to just DNF them easily because no ones really hyping them up. Lol, I like the original TMI trilogy, but the last three books were a hot mess, so that’s not a bad decision. 😂 And, yeah, I get the mood thing; I do that all the time. And, yes, i can be pages away from finishing, and I’m just like, “Meh. I’m done.” 😂 Thank you! 😄

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  7. :O CINDER. CINDEEEEEEER. XD Just kidding, it was a little slow in the beginning. And I started reading Dreams of Gods and Monsters (is that right??? the last book) and never finished… I read the series because Laini Taylor was coming to a book festival in my area. And I TRIED to read Shadow and Bone but didn’t make it past the first few pages. XD BUT OMG SIX OF CROWS BY LEIGH BARDUGO IS SO AMAZING HAVE YOU READ IT IF YOU HAVEN’T YOU NEED TO READ IT NOW??? I heard that Six of Crows was MUCH better than the Grisha trilogy. After recently becoming re-obsessed with the SoC duology, I MAY read the trilogy, but I’m not sure. GREAT POST! Discussions for life. 😉

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    • It was; but once I reached a couple of chapters in, I just couldn’t stop reading it. And yes, I actually haven’t finished that one either! It was so big, and I wanted to move on, but I’m slowly re-reading the trilogy again so I can actually complete the series for real! And I get you on that; I DNF-ed Shadow and Bone about four or five times before I got to a point I was fully interested. Six of Crows was absolutely brilliant though; I was hooked from the start! ❤ Thank you so much; and for sure, I love discussions! 🙌🏾

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      • I know right! It was so amazing. Oh XD really? I thought the whole trilogy was okay; it was just… odd for me. I don’t know. XD Yeah, I think I’ll try it sometime soon, but after ALL THESE AMAZING BOOKS. XD And AGH SIX OF CROWS ❤

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  8. I haven’t DNF-ed a book so far I think. I am currently about 200 pages into The Book Thief and I can’t yet decide if I want to continue the book or not.

    I can’t wait to see what other topics you have coming up! This is such a fun feature! 😀

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    • I admire you for doing that; I honestly don’t think I could. 😅 I have The Book Thief on my TBR, but I hate historical fiction, but everyone loved it, maybe it’ll be the exception??? I don’t know my logic. 😂

      Aw, thank you! They’re really awesome to write, so I can’t wait to publish more! 😄

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      • I actually haven’t read that much historical fiction before (if I remember correctly)! All I can think of is The Bronze Horseman trilogy by Paullina Simmons which I LOVED when I first read it years ago. I do want to read more though. I keep seeing people rave about Salt to the Sea!

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      • Ooh, yes, I have Salt to the Sea sitting on my TBR as well. It has short chapters, which is, like, two-thirds of the reason why I put it there. 😂 I feel like I can knock it out easily, but I’ve heard good things about it! I’m just not in the mood to read it. 😝

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      • Oh short chapters are always good! You won’t even realize how much you’ve already read and you also constantly find yourself flipping to the next page because you need to know what happens in the next chapter!

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  9. Great post Mikaela. I always try not to DNF books but I am tempted every now and again if it’s a story I’m really not enjoying or a book I know I won’t like. There have been a few recently I pushed myself through and, in the case of one book, I was glad I did because the next in the series got so much better.
    I’m glad there were some books on here you DNF but then went back, re-read them, and then really enjoyed them. Cinder is one of my all-time favourite books from my all-time favourite series so I’m really glad you enjoyed that one. There are a few books I DNF because I was in the middle of a reading slump when I picked them up but I don’t consider them DNF books because I am going to go back to them, they’re just currently on pause! 😀
    Again great post, I can’t wait to see more of these from you. 🙂

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    • Ooh, that’s interesting! I think, most of the time, I DNF because I’m bored, which is funny, because I can read a slow book and be enthralled but some slow books make me want to go to sleep. 😂 I guess it depends on my mood really! I don’t think I’ve ever pushed through a series before! I usually end up DNF-ing it at some point.

      Yes, I absolutely loved Cinder! I blame most of my early DNFs (except The Maze Runner) on mood reading, because there are times where I pick up a book and just know I should wait for the right time. And, yeah, I have SO MANY books on pause, and it stresses me out because I just want to finish them, but I don’t want to! So complicated. 😂

      Thank you so much, Beth; I’ve pre-written so many, and I can’t wait to share them! ❤

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      • I guess if there’s not something that grabs you about books you can get bored very easily. Sometimes a slow book can have something in you love that keeps you interested. I think I just keep holding out hope the series will get better so I keep reading, although there have been a couple of exceptions to this rule.
        Oh I’m a mood reader as well so I know what you mean, if you’re not enjoying a book no point carrying on and risking putting yourself in a reading slump, at least that’s how I see it!
        That’s all right, and that’s great to hear. I can’t wait for your next one! 😀 ❤

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  10. I don’t think I have ever DNF’d a book. I’ve always felt like I had to finish it or else I’d feel guilty. But this is the second post I’ve seen discussing it and I think I’m going to have to try to implement it in my reading since there are so many reviews I’ve written half-heartedly because I just didn’t really enjoy the book. Thanks for the interesting post! 🙂

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    • Ooh, yes, I know a lot of people who have never DNF-ed, which truly shocks me, because there are some books where I just can’t do it, so good job on doing that! 👌🏾 I definitely feel you on those types of reviews; that’s how I feel about the books that are just meh and I don’t really know how to express my feelings. Aw, thanks for the compliment! 😄

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  11. I have so many books I want to read (we all do) that I can’t stay with a book I’m not enjoying for too long. I’ll usually DNF around 25%. I might give up sooner if there’s something about the author’s writing style that isn’t clicking for me. If I DNF a book, I might mention it in a monthly wrap up, but I don’t review or rate it.

    Good conversation!

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    • Lol, yep; can definitely agree with the whole “have all the books to read” thing. I don’t think writing style has ever affected me before, so that’s interesting! I also do the same; I mention it in my monthly wrap-up, but that’s pretty much it for me, personally, unless it’s an ARC, I guess? Mainly because I have reasons for it, and I always feel like I should warn people about it, I guess? 😂 Just in case they have preconceived notions like I did!

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  12. I had to DNF Hollow City too, I agree that it was too boring and tbh I’m surprised I even finished book 1!
    Honestly, when I DNF a book it’s because I can’t get into it and am bored shitless or I know I like the book, I just can’t get through it. I’ve had to DNF A Darker Shade of Magic twice now, because I can’t seem to make past the halfway mark. Often it’s purely a case of “I would have finished it had I been reading it in another format”. For example, I know I would have finished ADSOM by now if I had the audio available to me.

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    • It really sucked because I loved book one, but book two was so boring, I just couldn’t take it anymore.

      Ooh, I liked ADSOM, but thought AGOS was better. There have been books where I switched format and read them much faster; mainly because there’s something about ebooks for me, I guess? 😂

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  13. I find that I DNF all the time. Most of my DNFs lately are just books I’m picking up at the wrong time. And like you, several of these I’ve revisited at the RIGHT time and LOVED. But I DO DNF if a book is really getting on my nerves, and in that case I usually don’t give it another chance. I’ll only review those if I feel I have read enough to understand the problems: if the writing is just bad or something. Otherwise, if it’s just not something well-matched for ME, I won’t write a review at all.

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    • Yeah, exactly; that’s what happens when you’re a mood reader! I have so many books in a “will go back to eventually” pile. 😂 And, yeah, I can definitely see that; I usually just never go back to it and give up because I know it’s just not for me. I used to review my DNFs on Goodreads, but now that I blog, I just mention them in my wrap-ups.

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  14. Ahh I agree that there’s no right/wrong when it comes to DNF’ing! You just have to do what suits you! I personally don’t like to DNF. It really bothers me to have unfinished books around. I have about 4 books on my DNF goodreads shelf after 5 years of blogging.😂 And one of them I do intend to go back to!! But otherwise I plough through and just write a ranty review at the end haha. But my policy is to try and get to 100 pages. After that I can quit if I realise I’d rather scrub the carpet with a toothbrush than read or something. Ahem. I do rate DNF’s though, usually 1 star, but I always state very clearly in my review that I didn’t finish!

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    • I don’t really like DNF-omg either because I consider it one step away from a book I could have finished for my reading goal. 😂 And, yeah, that sounds pretty good! I usually don’t really mind if someone rates a DNF or not too much, but I know it bothers other people!

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  15. I rarely ever DNF books, even if I am tempted to do so because I always think…it might get better? Also, I don’t review books I didn’t finish for that same reason, because who knows if it gets better and I might miss something in my review? It feels a bit unfair to me to review a book without finishing it, but to each their own of course 🙂 Lovely post!

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    • That definitely makes sense, because I know there are some books that I LOVE that I started reading and was like, “This sucks,” at the beginning, but then it got better. 😂 That definitely makes sense; I know there are some people out there who feel it’s unfair to review/rate books they haven’t finished yet, which makes sense to me! Thank you! ❤

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  16. Years ago I never liked DNFing books. I always tried to finish them, but over the last couple of years that has changed. I figured why force myself to finish it? Cinder was the same for me as it was for you. When I first read it, I DNF it about 5 chapters in, then after some time I picked it back up and ended up really enjoying it!

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    • Yeah, same, that definitely makes sense! I don’t think I’ve ever forced myself to finish a book, and I never want to. 😝 Yeah, I read about two or three chapters of Cinder and just wasn’t feeling it, and then picked it up a little bit later and couldn’t stop reading it! 😄

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    • Haha, yeah, now that I see everyone else saying that they usually DNF pretty early, it’s definitely true that it’s a long way to go, but I’ve broken the mold a little bit! And, yeah, I’m a mood reader, so when I read a book can definitely make a difference! Sometimes, it’s just not the right time for me to read that book.

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  19. I don’t think I’ve ever DNFed a book! :O But I agree with you I think that you shouldn’t rate a book if you haven’t even read around at least 50% of it! I wouldn’t rate a book if I couldn’t even get past the first chapters, I feel like you can’t really judge the entire book on those few impressions, right?! I don’t know that’s just how I think 😀

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    • Ooh, that’s a feat! I don’t think I could ever not DNF a book. I get so bored easily. 😂 I agree with that, though! I’ve read a lot of books with rocky beginnings that end up being really good, so I’d never want to judge from the first chapters!

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