To DNF or not to DNF…

That is the question.

I’ve been considering this quite a lot recently. I am a massive fan of exploring new authors and regularly trawl Netgalley and Goodreads. My aim? To find interesting stories which might offer some inventive relief from what can often feel like a monotonous and fruitless search for new material.

It is partly my own fault – I am a self confessed YA fantasy addict. This means that my options are, admittedly, limited. A grand portion of this genre follows the same formula for one simple reason – it works. However after reading my twelve thousandth paint by numbers, common girl / boy falls for darkly dangerous yet secretly kind and gentle prince / princess whilst an epic magical war rages around them (often with the only solution being the common girl / boy’s hidden magical abilities) I feel…tired.

So if the writing isn’t good and the plot is same old, I am faced with a question…should I DNF? For the uninitiated this stands for DID NOT FINISH. If you’ve ever set a book aside, never to return, before reading the final pages then you’ve DNF’d too. There are many reasons to do so. It can be plot, writing, formatting, grammar, characters…thinking about it, with so many opportunities to go wrong it’s amazing we all finish reading so many!

And there are so many books out there I want to read – wasting time on books I don’t feel invested in seems silly. Not to mention that soldiering through a book which I’m not into can send me spiraling into a reading slump.

However in the back of my mind, I always think about the poor author. A person who poured their life and soul into this book, who loves it like a child, who is unflinchingly proud of their creation. For me to pass judgement before finishing seems cruel. I feel as though I owe it to the author to try. Who knows? It might get better! Even though experience tells me it quite often doesn’t…

Thus far I have only ever DNF’d one book: Snakewood by Adrian Selby. You can find my reasoning for this in my review, here.

Do you DNF? What’s your cut off point? Or are you without a reading pain threshold?

One Comment on “To DNF or not to DNF…

  1. I only usually DNF a book if it’s absolutely unbearable to continue. This usually happens when it’s obvious that the target audience for the book is the opposite of when I am, or if I simply can’t connect with or empathize with the characters at all. I also hate DNF’ing a book because I know that the author spent so much time on it, so I don’t do it very often. I haven’t DNF’d a book in the past four years! Even if I dislike a book, I try to skim the rest of it to at least finish it. Great post! 🙂


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