Don’t Like It? DNF It! | How to Decide When to Stop Reading a Book
Honestly, I’ve seen so many conversations about whether we should DNF a book we don’t like and I just HAD to write this post. I’ve seen so many reasons people have for forcing themselves to finish a book, from feeling like they owe it to the book to finish it, that it might get better so it’s worth wading through, that they don’t want to have wasted the time they’ve invested so far…
I couldn’t disagree more.
Firstly, what does DNF mean? Did Not Finish. Basically when you’re reading a book and you’ve made the decision to not finish it, you’ve DNF’d it (grammatically this is a bit iffy but hey!)
IF YOU DON’T LIKE A BOOK THEN DNF IT
Done. Post over.
Hah, not quite.
Here’s my hot take.
When is it okay to DNF a book?
Anytime! 2 pages in, 200 pages in. Honestly, you owe nobody anything but yourself. Okay I hear you, you’ve been sent a book to review, you feel like you are obligated to finish it. Well let me drop some truth bombs on you. You’re not.
Here’s what’s likely to happen when you don’t like a book:
- You write a half hearted review where you pretend it wasn’t that bad or you just all out slate the book
- You get yourself into a slump because you just can’t bear reading another page
- You fall into a pit of despair and burn all your books because maybe you’ve been wrong after all these years and you actually hate reading?
None of these things are good, for you or for the author/publisher. Not only does it slowly destroy your soul and waste your time… it can make you damage your integrity.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve talked about writing negative reviews before, and if that’s your thing then go for it. Some people still get pleasure from reading a book they don’t like and then reviewing it. Great, you do you. But if you ever feel like you’d love to put it down and forget about it but you can’t, you can.
Life is too short
Whilst you’re struggling to read that book, there are another 50 in your TBR pile (cos I mean come on, we have no self restraint, 50 is being kind it’s probably more like 1000000000) that deserve your love and attention, that may be waiting to change your life forever.
The feeling of obligation can suffocate you.
Okay not literally but mentally and creatively. I know when I feel I HAVE to do something that I don’t want to do, it really affects my mood and my motivations.
So when you’re next struggling through a book and you’re unsure whether you should continue, just remember, there is no shame to leave a book unfinished. There’s actually been an uprising recently in articles that agree with this sentiment, they’ve even coined the movement #quitlit! Quit it if you’re not enjoying it!
There are so many amazing books out there so DNF that bore and get yourself a book that makes you excited!
Do you struggle to leave books unfinished? What are your thoughts on this?