Talk To Me 04: How long before you DNF?

I try my hardest not to throw a book into my “did not finish” pile. Even if I really do not enjoy it, I try to power through the last few bits. However, there are times when it just gets too much and I end up asking myself “Okay, Ana. Why do you even bother?”

Why? Well, I seem to hold on to a glimmer of hope that the book might somehow get better. Maybe that character that I really REALLY dislike will undergo that very important character development. Maybe that development will be awesome and they will end up being my favourite character! I absolutely love it when that happens.

But I am extremely disappointed when it doesn’t. It sucks.

Given that this happens more often than I like, I’m starting to think of setting a limit to how much of a book I will read before I can officially put it in the DNF pile. The thing is, I have no idea where that limit should be! After the first five chapters? Halfway? No idea. I just know that once I set that limit and I get to it with a book, I’ll be tempted to keep going just to see if it will get better.

So how about you, dear reader?

Do you DNF a book? How long do you go before you officially call it?

Looking forward to hearing from you!

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34 thoughts on “Talk To Me 04: How long before you DNF?

  1. Ana, I am hopeful reader like you! I always hope a book gets better but 99% of the time it doesn’t, and it makes me so sad!

    I’ve actually never had a DNF, so I don’t think I’m going to be very helpful. But I have seen other bloggers who have a 20% or 50% rule. 20% seems to early, but I think by the halfway mark you’ll probably know if it’s something you want to continue…although it might get better at 60% or even 70%!

    There actually was one book recently that I LOATHED but once it hit the 60% mark I started to like it. It’s books like that that keep me from DNFing!

  2. It is really hard for me to DNF a book because even if I’m like 8 pages in and I already dislike the book, I have to continue it for some reason. I just don’t like not finishing a book that I started. I think last year I only DNF-ed 4 (or less) books. I remember DNF-ing one book when I was more than halfway through it because I was sooo done with it, and the book majorly sucked! I don’t even remember the title. That’s how bad it was lol. But yeah, it’s a rare occasion for me to DNF a book.

  3. I hardly ever DNF books because I usually try to keep going because sometimes the second half of the book can redeem the first half. I mean, if it’s particularly bad, I sometimes skim read, but I’ll try not to DNF. The only times where I really DNF are when the writing style doesn’t click with me, or if there’s too much annoying and unnecessary angst (as in a lot of NA books). When the writing style doesn’t agree with me, then I’ll DNF very early on (usually a couple of chapters in) and if it’s the angst that gets to me, then I usually DNF in the middle of the book.

  4. I honestly DNF books ALL the time. If I’m not connecting with a book after even a short amount of time, like, 20-50 pages, I’ll put it “aside” but I rarely pick a book back up after I move on to the next one. My view on the subject is that there is no way I’ll ever be able to read all of the books that I want to. I seriously add new books to my TBR pile daily, but I don’t read a book a day. There are so many books! Why waste your time on one you aren’t enjoying? I know I’m in the minority on this, but I read for enjoyment. If I’m not enjoying a book then I’m going to find one I will enjoy. Great post!

  5. I can never DNF a book. I just can’t. There are times when I’ve been really frustrated with books and wanted to stop reading, but I never do because what if something awesome happens?? It almost never happens that something really awesome does happen, but you never know 😉 That’s what I’m always thinking!

    Another reason for me is that since I live in the Netherlands but read only in English, my local library doesn’t have the books I want (understandably so). So I always have to buy all the books I want to read. And I’m a cheap person who feels like if I DNF a bought book I have wasted my money. Yep, I’m cheap like that. I don’t know for sure, but I think if I read a library book maybe I would DNF more easily. But still it would be hard because of what I said above.

  6. I DNF books fairly often. Not THAT often…like maybe once a month, if that. And I usually make myself get to about 20% or around 100 pages before I stop. Sometimes I can tell really early on that I’m not going to be able to finish it, but I still make myself get to a certain point because I feel like I should at least try to give it a chance. And sometimes I’m wrong, so it’s totally worth it 🙂 But usually if I’m not into it by around the 20% mark, I have no qualms throwing it in the DNF pile.

  7. It’s hard for me to answer this one, because it’s really rare for me to DNF! I think I’m just good at choosing books I will enjoy. But if I do happen to DNF, it usually comes when I just can’t take it anymore. Either it’s boring or the characters are annoying or the plot is just too ridiculous, etc.

  8. Yay! Welcome to the club, Angie! 🙂

    I’ve come close to DNFs before, and I think I had one that I just couldn’t continue because the love interest was just too pushy and had no concept of personal space. 20% does seem too early! As for 50%, that sounds like a relatively good point. But you’re right, I always go “But what if it gets better at like 60%?!”

  9. For situations like that, I always think it’s just my morbid curiosity making me want to read more. It’s like “I really want to see how this train wreck of a book plays out!” kind of thinking. It sucks that you ended up with a book that just hit all the bad points for you. 😦 Better luck with books!

  10. Very true. I can handle skim reading books that I didn’t like. I understand not being able to continue because of all the angst. Like, pages and pages of a character waxing on about how much they can’t have this other person, etc etc. At that point, I might just go “… Time to skim!”

  11. That’s a really good way to take control of your TBR pile! I understand DNFing early on, I’ve heard friends say they’ll quit something early if it doesn’t grab them right away. Then again, they usually talk about webcomics or anime/manga when it comes to these things. Way to go, Natalie! 🙂

  12. I see someone’s also hopeful and holding out for a great story, haha! I totally understand you there.

    Oh, that’s definitely a good reason to keep going on. I think that’s why I love the library and secondhand shops. I would feel really bad if I DNFed a book that I bought, but I don’t think I would feel as torn if I stopped reading one that I just borrowed or bought for cheap. I totally understand your dilemma, and I hope your library gets more English books that you would like to read. :O

  13. I don’t really know a good ratio for these things, but I don’t know if I could tell by 20% if I would go on or not. Like I said, I would get all hopeful and be like “Well, what if it got better at 30%?” I suppose that’s why I feel quite slow when it comes to working on my TBR pile, haha! 🙂 Once a month doesn’t seem that often, but I totally get how it helps control a pile.

  14. Lucky! I wish I could have your book-choosing skills. When the plot gets over the top ridiculous, I definitely understand how it’s DNF-worthy. 😀

  15. My rule is that I have to read at least 100 pages before I DNF a book. I know that some books start off slow so I want to read enough to give the book a chance to wow me 🙂 however, I also don’t want to waste my time reading a book that isn’t improving by the 100 page mark!

    Great discussion topic!!

  16. I feel you, Ana. I totally hold on to that glimmer of hope that a book would be better. And let me just say that I have been disappointed a couple of times. As my TBR pile grows and grows, I definitely agree that finishing a bad book isn’t worth all the time and effort. Although I don’t really know when to stop either. I stopped reading two books after the first few chapters, and I’m not really regretting it right now. XD

  17. I had to cut down my TBR pile because it was too huge, and I might start being more discerning with DNFs. We ain’t got time for all them books! Haha! 😀

  18. I should really clean up my Goodreads TBR list but there are too many! However, I did clean up my free downloads on my Kindle. Although I’m still left with SOOO many. And yeah, I will definitely end up not finishing all the books I read.

  19. Omg, don’t even get me STARTED on my Kindle freebies. I feel like I really need to go in there and clean up because I have TOOOO many. T_T

  20. Like the cover whore I am, the uglies get cut. Lol. And when those were gone, I had to start going through some of the titles, synopsis, or genres of the “maybes” I still have around 300-400 left though. XD which is a lot better than the original 700. 😛

  21. Haha, wow. I got mine around April 2013 (around the same time I started bookblogging!) and I did go nuts for like… A month. Then I slowed down and haven’t gotten new stuff since! 😛

  22. I started way before book blogging and couldn’t stop since. Although I have learned to download less after a while so I guess that’s progress. 😛 sometimes, you unexpectedly find good ones.

  23. This recently happened to me. I think I was about 8 chapters in (20% in; it was a 600+ page book) when I decided to leave it as a DNF. I was rather sad about it because the book was by an author I had been meaning to read for ages but it was just such a slow read with almost nothing going on/confusions as to how such events contributed to the story and whatnot that I didn’t think I could take it for 500+ more pages.

    So yeah, I guess a couple of chapters in will be my marker for setting a book as DNF (I rarely do it to begin with but I realise there will be times when this will happen)

  24. Whoa, a 600 page book? I think I would get fidgety at around that mark too if I was just not feeling the book. I really hate it when a book drags, because I’m still holding out for that super awesome exciting scene. But I totally understand not wanting that kind of confusion for 500+ pages. I would go nuts!

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