Let’s Talk About DNF’ing Books…Again

Yes, I know this topic has been regurgitated 10000 times, but I’ve never talked about it and it’s relevant to me right now

In case you didn’t know, I’ve been in one killer slump. It’s been several months of me either reading 0 books or 1 book every month.

Then I went on vacation. I thought “okay, I am going to read something because I have so much time!” Nope. I still read nothing.

Then I came back from vacation with a motivation to actually post book reviews and read something. Anything.

Ok, so, what does this have to do with marking books as DNF? Well, I realized that I never officially DNF a book. I’ve done it twice in my life – every other book that I “put down” is just that…it’s “put down for another time“. So, I decided to change that. From now on, I am going to officially mark books as DNF!

WHY I DON’T USUALLY DNF

Honestly, it’s just FOMO (yes, I just used that term even though I find it mildly irritating). I’m afraid that it will get better. I’m afraid that it will be my favorite. I’m afraid that I’m missing out on the fangirling with all the other people who love the book I’m struggling with.

Enter “I’ll just put this down for now“.

What happens when I do that to every book that bores me? My TBR (which I consider all the books I’m currently reading / books I want to read within a month) gets longer and longer and longer and longer and longer.

And I freak the eff out. I start getting stressed and that stress makes me avoid reading all together because how willever catch up with all the books I want to read and the ones coming out and how the heck and I supposed to finish this one when I didn’t really like it and now I don’t want to go back to it and and and and…..

That’s my brain when I look at my growing pile.

MY NEW RULE

When I was reading Nyxia, I realized that I was at page 75 I was so bored. I would read a few pages and my brain would start wandering or I would find any reason to put it down – even doing the laundry. Yes, I would rather do the laundry than read Nyxia.

So, why the heck was I wasting my time? I shouldn’t, but at the same time, I wanted to just make sure that it didn’t get better for me. That’s when I made the goal to get to page 100 and make a decision (I ended up getting to 130 because the chapter ended after 100 and I couldn’t just stop because that would bother me, then I skimmed the next chapter just to make sure it was more of the same – yes, it was).

At 130, I said fuck it! (pardon my french) and it was liberating. According to Goodreads, 130 pages was 35% of the book which I think is plenty to determine whether I’ll like it or not. So, that’s my rule.

Depending on the books length, I either want to read 100 pages or 35% of a book before putting it down and moving on. Not “putting it down for later“, I want to throw that shit in the trash (ok not really, I’ll donate it but just let me feel liberated right now).

The exception is if I just can really tell I will dislike the book within the first few chapters or if it’s a super long book. I don’t know if I could read 350 pages of a 1000 page book before giving up…that’s a lot.  😆

So, that’s my first ever DNF discussion. Now, let’s hear your thoughts:


Do you DNF books? Do you have a set amount that you want to read before doing so? Or do you just give up within the first few pages if you aren’t hooked? Do you ever feel like you’re going to miss out if you DO DNF? 

Comments are the best! Let's chat!

32 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About DNF’ing Books…Again

  1. I DNF quite regularly. I don’t really have a set page number or percentage to read to before I’ll DNF. I can usually tell pretty quickly if the writing style doesn’t appeal to me, and those books I’ll quit in like 10 pages or less. If it’s something about the characters or plot, I may get a bit farther. If I really want to know what happens in a book I’m DNFing, sometimes I’ll read the last few pages or just go find some reviews with spoilers.

    1. Yeah, some books I can tell quickly but then there are those books that I’m a bit on the fence about and it’s those that I’ve set the goal for. It makes it structured and easier for me hahah

  2. I relate to everything in this post so much!! I used to force myself to finish books, but now I DNF quite often. When I’m not invested in a plot/characters or I’m bored out of my mind, I move on to the next book. I have to remind myself all the time that reading uninteresting books isn’t worth it – there are amazing books out there waiting to be read!
    I also try to make it to about 100 pages or ~30%, but sometimes the first chapter is boring enough that I give up that early. It feels so powerful to DNF a book and not feel bad about moving on with my life!

  3. Letting myself DNF books was the most liberating decision I ever made. Unless something is problematic, I don’t even review ones that I DNF, no matter what. It frees up so much of my time and mental energy.

  4. I used to have the exact same problem! The ever dreadful FOMO (and yes, what an irritating word). Plus, there have been a few books that somewhat redeemed themselves towards the end. But life is too short and TBR way too long.

    These days, I feel more guilty about not reading certain books rather than DNFing others. (Especially since blogging is all about new releases which leaves all those other books collecting dust.) Because at least I gave the book a try, right? And it wasn’t for me. There will be plenty of other books to discuss and fangirl, which I won’t ever get to read if I waste my time on struggling through books I don’t even like at a snail pace.

  5. I agree with you. If I feel like I’m wasting my time, and I know I rather do something else than reading that book I would definitely DNF. I did it with And I Darken. I tried because everyone else was loving it so I read 70% of the book (according to goodreads) but I had to stop reading it. I felt like I was torturing myself.

  6. I DNF all the time! I think I’ve just never had that much investment in a book if I’m bored with it (and I’m also a really impatient person lol). I tell myself to wait until halfway through, mainly because there have been books where the beginnings were rocky, but once I pushed through, it became an all-time favorite, but I feel like I often break my own rule and DNF around 25% or so! There are some books I just can’t get into at the time, but jus tout them down because I know I’ll get back to them (hopefully). 😂

    1. That’s kind of why I have a hard time DNFing. SOME books that I didn’t like in the beginning became favorites. Off the top of my head, LOTR comes to mind. The beginning of The Fellowship is really slow…but it’s one of my favorite series of all time. So it’s really hard for me to put books down but I definitely need to give it more of a shot haha

  7. I don’t DNF too often because I enjoy the books I read fairly enough to continue. I do a lot of research before buying/reading a book. I only pick up ones that I KNOW I’m going to be somewhat interested in.

    But when my temper flares, my temper flares and swoosh – the book’s out before you can shout “DNF”.
    I do feel like I could miss out on something if I give up on it, but I don’t have pity for the author’s hardwork whatsoever. I’m a terrible human being and have NO mercy.
    But the fandom is what most times keeps me going. Sometimes it ends up being incredible, sometimes it doesn’t.
    From now on, though, if I’m REALLY not enjoying it, I’ll follow your rule and GOODBYE.

    Great post, I really enjoyed chatting with you!

    1. I try to do that too, but I still end up with books I don’t like no matter how hard I try haha

      HAHAH I need to be ruthless like you! BUT YES. Sometimes the fandoms convince me to keep going on a series or book that I’m not super interested in…honestly, like ACOTAR lol I don’t really like those but have read most of it? like why ? hahah

  8. I ask myself: would I rather read a book that bores me to tears or a book I adore?

    I’m not going to waste my time on books that bore me when I have a huge TBR pile waiting for me that’s bound to be full of 4-5 star reads.

  9. Yes! I have always believed in DNFing. If I am not into a book 20-25% through, I just cannot waste any more time on it. However, I don’t review it. I don’t think it’s fair if I did not read the whole book, but if someone asks, I will share that I DNFed for whatever reason. I read for fun. I refuse to struggle through a book I am not enjoying.

    1. I review it if I felt like I read enough of it to do so. Just to let people know why I didn’t finish it, but I don’t give it a star rating because that seems a little unfair to me haha

  10. Honestly, I don’t really have a set place where I can DNF. However, I kind of have a personal rule about where I am and whether it’s fine for me to rate a book if I DNF’d it. Generally, if it’s around 50% I rate the book. But if it’s only like 15% that I DNF I leave a rating off my GR review.

  11. I totally understand where you’re coming from. usually when I don’t like a book – especially one that’s really being hyped – I feel so bad for not liking it that I just suffer through the remaining pages for WEEKS until I FINALLY finish it… That just needs to stop and I recently realised that I don’t have the time to waste on books I don’t like when there are so many books out there that I could really LOVE. So I’m also DNFing books from now on, but I really hope to not have to do this often. Great post!

    1. UGH YES. I oddly feel bad if I don’t like a hyped book. Like “WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?” hahah I don’t have as much time to waste on reading bad books either. I find it harder and harder to actually read these days so it’s important for me that I start DNFing if I still want to read at all haha

  12. Well done. DNFing books is surprisingly liberating. It’s so nice to give up on a book and not think ‘I’ll try again another time’ because some books just don’t work for us. You’re never going to like every book, sure, sometimes you’re not in the mood to read a book, but you are the best person to be able to judge whether it’s a case of not being in the right mood for a book and plain old not liking it. With the number of books coming out every week and the long long list of old books to read no one has time to waste on a bad book.

    I do like to at least give a book a good go before placing it on the DNF list, though. I like to read a mimimum of 10% but really a whole lot more. If by 50% I’m still not loving it then it’s definitely time to abandon.

    1. Exactly, there are too many books in the world and more coming to waste any time on one you don’t even like!

      Yeah, some books I can tell I won’t like it early on but I usually like to give a book a good chance. I’ve DNF’d a book at 50% before too.

  13. I rarely DNF either, and usually if that’s the case I legit force myself to finish it simply to say that I saw it through to the end and I still hated it and it still had no redeeming qualities.

    But who the hell has time for this? I like your plan. I support your plan. Hell, 35% is even a lot. You should know by 25%, or roughly the first hundred pages (if it’s a longer book). If it’s a 1000+ page book, I mean, yeah I can see it having a slower start but unless someone you explicitly trust on book recommendations tells you not to put it down, screw that. Either you like it or you don’t. Don’t force yourself to read something that isn’t interesting to you – not everything is for everyone, no matter how much hype it has – and don’t waste your time on a book that just isn’t for you.

    1. Thats how I usually am and it just wastes so much of your time to force yourself to finish! And yeah, that’s why my rule kind of depends on the length of the book and just HOW BORED I am at the beginning hahaha

  14. I have the same rule! I always think life is too short to read a book you’re bored of reading. Give it a good go and then if you’re STILL bored, put it down and start a new one. I think 35% is a good chunk to accurately make that decision! I usually try to push for 30% as well. Sometimes I end up loving the book after the initial 20%, and other times it doesn’t get better.

    I find trying to push through books you aren’t enjoying is definitely a way to get yourself into a reading slump. I’ve been feeling the same over the past few months. I hadn’t touched a book in 4 months or so, I had tried but kept getting bored so kept putting it down. I didn’t want to DNF it but then I also didn’t want to start another book. So I just didn’t read. Once I decided to DNF it, I magically started reading again and now I’ve read three books in only a few weeks. DNFing works!