Question of the Week:
DNF (Do Not Finish): How long will you try a book before you DNF it?
|DNFing a book: soooo disappointing!|
(image courtesy of Katy https://flic.kr/p/4P4rmS)
Clara Kensie: It kills me to DNF a book, but I don’t want to spend time reading something I don’t enjoy, when there are hundreds of other books in my to-read pile. I don’t have a set “trial period” of reading a specific number of pages before I DNF it. I’ll stop reading a book once I realize I don’t care what happens to the characters, if the plot is too contrived, if it doesn’t make me suspend belief, if it’s poorly written— any reason, really. I recently DNF’d a book after the second chapter because it was confusing and hard to follow. Reading should be fun: an escape, not a struggle. Recently, a friend highly recommended a book to me, a book she loved-loved-loved. I read chapter after chapter, thinking, “The good part must be coming up next.” “Okay, the next part has to be when it gets good.” But the good part never, ever came. That was one book I wish I had DNF’d. But, it made for a great discussion with my friend!
Alyssa Hamilton: I usually read about 150 pages of a book if I'm feeling iffy about it. If by that point I'm not interested in it, I'll put it down. If I am really not feeling it before that point, I'll definitely put it down. I'm not the kind of person who feels overly guilty or bad if I don't finish a book that I've started. Why spend time on something I'm not enjoying, when I have shelves of other books I may love?
Martina Boone: It really depends on the book. I very rarely DNF, but if I do, lately it’s usually on a book I’ve bought because I wanted to buy it to support an author and therefore I try my best to get through it. Obviously, not every book, including mine!, is for every reader. I try to buy at least an ebook for every author I know or whose work I generally enjoy.
Much, much more difficult for me is when I find a book that I was really excited to read because I picked it, because someone recommended it and it sounded exactly up my alley. You know that book, right? You hoard the idea of that book in your heart and you bide your time waiting for the right moment to read it. You settle in with your cup of tea and your snack and you blanket and your cat, and you start to read and . . . Eeeek. It’s okay. Or it’s awful. Or it’s not bad, but it’s not GREAT. I always read those far longer than I should, because I don’t want to let my disappointment color my thinking. Sometimes the writing is brilliant and the concept just doesn’t live up to it, or sometimes the concept is brilliant and the book just missed the opportunities. That’s heartbreaking. HEARTBREAKING. There was a day when I wouldn’t quit reading even then. I’d just slog through my disappointment. Now, I’d rather just part company and keep looking for the books I truly, truly, truly love. There are so many great ones out there!
As for what makes me DNF a book? The above aside, the one thing that’s guaranteed to make me DNF is a story laced with plot holes.
Erin Cashman: I'm in two book groups, which is great, because I read books I would not normally pick, and often love them. I used to finish everything, even if the book became a chore. Now, I give a book fifty pages. If after 50 pages, I'm not looking forward to picking the book up again, I don't. I love a gorgeous setting and well developed characters, but I need to be swept up in a story. I'll overlook some flat writing or dialogue, an undeveloped or unforgettable minor character, but the story has to captivate me for me to keep reading. If it's an author that I love, I will read more of the book before calling it a DNF. The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling was one of those books. I was confused when I first started it, but once I sat and read the first 50 pages in one sitting, the characters all became very distinctive, and I loved the book.
Lisa Green: I am definitely ADD and admit I stop reading pretty quickly unless it's a strong recommendation from a trusted friend.
Katharyn Sinelli: Probably the biggest reason I don't finish a book is because I get distracted by another bright and shiny one. Disingenuous dialogue can be off-putting, unless the author has really taken the time to get me invested in the characters. Then I'll buy into a bit of schmaltz.
YOUR TURN: What makes you DNF a book? How long will you try a book before you give up on it?