June 14, 2013

The Art of DNFing

Fact: I don't like coffee. I just like saying Coffee Clutch in my best and deepest New York accent. Considering I'm a New Yorker, I'm pretty freaking good at it. So I've got my tea and I hope you have your heated beverage of choice, because it's time to gab the day away.

I don't know if you guys know this about me, but I'm a pretty stubborn gal. Like, once I get an idea in my head, it's in there and THAT'S IT (in case you're wondering what that looks like, THIS BLOG is a perfect example).

This whole thing backfires on me sometimes, though. EXAMPLE: I'll become friends with someone and another friend will tell me it's a bad idea but I'll be like "Whatever, whatever I do what I want." Then three months later I'll be griping over how much I hate the person I was so adamant about becoming friends with in the first place. This is because I have to come to the conclusion that said person is wrong for me ON MY OWN. My friends find this whole process highly entertaining.

No, we'll be friends forever. I've gotten really good at tolerating people laughing at me.
Anyway, anecdotes aside, my stubbornness is a MAJOR problem when it comes to reading and DNFing. DNF stands for Did Not Finish. It means I've tried my best to get into this book and love it, but I just can't so I'm going to put it aside and not finish it. Why do I have a major problem with this particular book nerd term? Because I, for some reason, honestly believe that if a book SOUNDED good enough for me to pick up, it should be good enough for me to FINISH.

I just love that he's blue. Oh Arrested Development.
I know some people have POLICIES. They'll read 50-150 pages of a book and if they don't like it after that, they'll stop. But my neurotic, obsessive compulsive nature makes this very hard for me. I mean, I haven't been diagnosed with OCD or anything - but that's because I can still mostly function like a human being and only OCCASIONALLY have to stop and reorganize books at bookstores or in the library (JUST KIDDING, that's always).

But aside from the OCD, what if whatever happens after page 76.8 is THE best part of the book? What if I miss out on an amazing read because I couldn't force myself to get beyond page 94.6? You guys. I  HAVE FEAR OF MISSING OUT AND I CAN'T EVEN DENY IT.

Anyway, OCD or other, I just CANNOT DNF. Until, that is, last month, when I won this one book from ARCycling (AKA My favorite thing ever) and I started it and I just COULDN'T make myself read more than 50 pages. Like, I would fall asleep, even when it wasn't bedtime. This is when I thought to myself: "IS THIS WHAT DNF LOOKS LIKE?!" Then I proceeded to sing and dance because I'm not TOTALLY DNF-Defective.

 And while I still have the book in question (Grim by Anna Waggener), I don't think I'll ever pick it up again. It's one of those summary-misleading, confusing shenanigans that make me sad because a book that sounded like the bomb dot com is actually a book whose plot I totally can't wrap my head around. Not to mention I had a whole stack of other books I was way more interested in!

Sherlock, reading one of the aforementioned, more interesting books
So what should you have taken from all of this?

  • I suck at DNFing because I am a crazy, stubborn person
  • But I CAN DNF if a book honestly makes me feel like it's taking time away from really awesome books I'd rather be reading - which you'd think might happen more often... but it doesn't.
How about you guys? Do  you have a page deadline when you give up if you're not into it, no matter what? Or can  you go on and on in a hateful, neurotic, Gaby manner? Both options are legitimate and TOTALLY healthy, I promise, I just want to hear about your compulsions. A lot. In the comments below.


  1. If I read 50 pages and I'm not into it, I don't even consider it a book I started! I rarely DNF because like you, I try my BEST! I read and read, and read some more ... more like 3/4 of the way in ... I just can't do it anymore. By this time, weeks have gone by and I dread it when it's time to pick it up. And I have to force myself to stop and admit defeat.

    Tanya Patrice

  2. I struggle so much to DNF, you're totally not alone there! I have major fear of missing out, and over-commitment issues (is there such a thing?) Like, I've started reading, I feel like I'm committing some sort of injustice by not finishing or something. I don't know, maybe I just like punishing myself! There's been like... wow, I can only think of 2 books I've ever put down. The second Bridget Jones (can't even remember the name of it), and The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt. I got halfway through BJ before realising I had no idea what had happened so far, and similar with A.S. Byatt.

  3. I definitely DNF. I don't have a set number of pages. Sometimes I just don't like the way a book is written or there's a HUGE no-no within the first 15 pages and I just put the book down and pretend I never picked it up. Other times I'll make it halfway through and realize I've been snoozing the whole time. Basically, if I DREAD picking this book back up, it's not worth my time, I'll DNF, and move on to better things.
    The way I see it... YES. The really awesome part may come after 150 pages in or when the book is almost done, but honestly........ I don't think it should take that long to get there! If I'm totally upset with the first half of the book, ONE awesome thing at the end isn't going to totally change my mind. At best, I may come out with a three star rating, but most likely it'll still be a 2. (I think one star ratings are only if there was something horrifying haha.)
    I've gotten better at DNFing and although it's not my favorite thing to do, there are just too many books for me to push myself through something I'm not enjoying! :)

  4. Hahaha, remember that time that you, Gillian and I wandered around the Barnes & Noble straightening up the shelves? That was a good time.

    Also, like you, I have SO much trouble DNFing. I've DNFed six books this year, and that's with me making a conscious effort to try to save myself from bad experiences.

    Part of it is that, like you, I really do think that the book might get better. I want to give it a fair chance. The only way I can do it is if I'm bored to tears or enraged quickly and I look up the reviews and am a hundred percent convinced that it won't get better for me. But that does not happen often.

  5. I suck at DNF'ing, too. In fact, this year I think I've DNF'ed...two books? And that's MASSIVE for me, because I'm like you. Even if I'm not liking a book, WHAT IF I MISS AN ACTUAL GOOD PART because I put it down? So unless it's just THE WORST BOOK EVER I usually try to finish, because, well, I'm an eternal optimist. And I'm curious, and DARN IT, if I've invested time in a book, I at least want to make it to the end!

  6. I cannot DNF. Like, not at all. I'm with you. What if the next page after you DNF is the GREATEST PAGE EVAH!? What if it's just about to get good. I mean, it's published for a reason right? There has to be some kind of redeeming quality, right? (No, not always.) I've never DNF, and I'm always curious if there will be a day that changes, but so far. Nope. I just suffer on.

  7. I hate DNFing. I'm way too afraid I'm missing out on something awesome that's just a simple page away... Most of the time I just put books down that I'm not into at that moment in time and pick them up a few months later when I actually want to read them. I'm even worse if it's a book that everyone else has loved but I'm just not feeling it...I start thinking that there's something wrong with my copy of the book! (I know it's crazy, but what if that actually happened?!) I do, on rare occasions put away a book, never to read it again, but that's only when I'm 99.9% sure I'm going to hate the book if I read another page of it. And that hardly ever happens, because something must have made me want to pick the book up in the first place, right?

  8. There have been books that I've started and put down, but I have never really analyzed my behaviors of that, nor do I consciously think about DNFing. My mood is the biggest determiner of whether I stick with something or choose to return back to it later. But once I get a certain amount of the way in, I feel compelled to read it. I don't care about what others' opinions have been, but I feel like I have an obligation to do so, even a desire to do so. I started this because I was interested in it, and, unless it more than a few hundreds pages long, I don't generally see a problem with sticking it through. But, then again, I am actively choosing which books to read. If my blog gets more well-known to the point I start getting unsolicited ARCs and tons of review books, my opinion may change!
    I do not think it's a bad thing to feel a need to keep reading a book or to choose to DNF one - reading's such a personal experience, which is ultimately what makes it all the more interesting!

  9. I love your blog!

    I rarely finish a book I don't enjoy, I almost always DNF them. I only go through with it if I have heard it gets better after X amount of pages.

    My blog: http://qaisracetusbookblog.blogspot.com/

    Saru :)

  10. I also am not a fan of DNFing a book. What if it gets better? I don't want to miss out on an awesome book. Sometimes the ending can completely make it worth it. I've only ever DNF'd one book and that was Ulysses by James Joyce, it was horrible.

  11. I am HORRIBLE at DNF. I've tried, believe me, but I always convince myself to give it a few pages or chapters more and wind up finishing the entire thing. While this isn't necessarily always the best use of my time, it works for me. I like finishing things apparently (^_^)

  12. I can't DNF. I have tried. I am just too obsessive about it to be able to walk away. It's just a thing with me and I do not know why. I keep thinking it will get better.

    Lisa @Just Another Rabid Reader


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