Discussion: Did Not Finish

Posted May 7, 2018 by Nicky in General / 10 Comments

This one is a topic that tends to divide bibliophiles: deciding not to finish a book.

I’ll admit, I’m often torn. On the one hand, why should I put in the time on something I’m not actually enjoying? On the other, I usually paid for it or went to some inconvenience like getting on a bus to get on a train to get to a library in order to get the book. Or I’m meant to be reviewing it because I received it free.

My ultimate decision was that I can DNF a book if I’m not enjoying it, and I can still write reviews in that case too — after all, it can be useful to know what made another reader’s interest flag — as long as I state that I didn’t finish the book. Sometimes to write a proper review, I skim through to the end anyway; I’ll usually mention that too.

In the end, it’s come down to my Golden Rule of Reading: reading is not workI’ve read voraciously my whole life as an escape, as a way to visit new places and meet new people. No matter what, I don’t want to compromise that joy in books with a feeling of obligation. Reading is a pleasure that’s always going to be there for me, as long as I don’t make it into a job (I have one of those; well, several, since I’m a freelancer/contractor).

I get the feeling of obligation, I do. And I get those books that you love to hate, too, or feeling like you should give something a chance. But unless you need to read something for a class, why are you doing something in your free time that solely feels like a chore? If you’re not enjoying it at all — if you’re reading only to be finished… I don’t see why you shouldn’t stop now, and read something you’d like better. At least, that’s the way it works out for me, after years of feeling a sort of moral obligation to finish books.

How about you? Do you let yourself DNF?


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10 responses to “Discussion: Did Not Finish

    • I think you’re one of the people who influenced me to DNF books more often! Cause you’re right, why waste the time?

  1. Most of the time I finish books, but I do occasionally give up if it’s something I know I will not enjoy. I have limited time to read, I’m not going to waste it on something I’m going to wish I hadn’t spent time on. Fortunately this doesn’t happen often! But I absolutely agree. If it feels like work and I’m doing this for fun, definitely not worth it and better to read something I’ll enjoy.

    • Honestly, this is why I don’t want to go the job-in-publishing route. Having to read books for work sounds like it’d take all the fun out of it! Mind you, people say that about a literature degree, and I loved mine… hmm!

  2. Great idea for a discussion! Before blogging I very rarely didn’t finish books. I felt like I had to finish them, but if I didn’t like them, it would often send me into a reading slump. Since I started blogging I have found so many awesome bloggers that are very candid and open about not finishing books, and it has made me realize its not so bad! So I have been working on it 🙂
    Brittany recently posted…Friday Face-Off: Hands / May the 4th be with youMy Profile

    • I’m totally with you on getting into a reading slump with books that I feel like I should finish. Sometimes I have to ask myself seriously if I’m planning to finish something or actually never want to go back to it. Sometimes it’s hard to tell…

  3. I used to be firmly of the ‘I started so I’ll finish’ mob, but … I gave it up. Life’s too short, the books are too many, and I’m yet to read a book I was hating where finishing it changed my mind. I’ve gone from lukewarm to positive (and, ahem, the opposite) but I’ve never been converting to loving a book I was hating. I don’t have a fixed rule on how far I go though. I frequently quit within a couple of chapters with the intention of coming back (mood reading); but can give it any where from 20-60% before quitting for good (but usually under 50%. I think the 60% was Alif the Unseen because I’d had so many recommendations, but it really wasn’t doing it for me). One of my dead giveaways now is if I’m finding other things to do than read – that’s a sure sign the book’s not right for me right now.
    imyril recently posted…Strange Practice: London blue-light specialMy Profile

    • I’m pretty variable on when I decide to give up, too. There was one book I got almost to the end, and then it threw a trope salad at my face and I gave up… but mostly, like you, it’d be before 50%.

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