This is a dilemma that every reader will and probably has experienced one time or another. It’s stressful because no one picks up a book expecting they’re not going to like it. We always want to enjoy the books we read but sometimes that just doesn’t happen.
DNF stands for Did Not Finish. These are books that you start reading but don’t finish or give up on and don’t plan to come back to. You can DNF a book at any place in the book. Generally, I don’t DNF a book if it’s too early on or if I’m too far into it. It usually happens at the 100-200 page mark or 20-30% mark.
Why is it a dilemma?
It will be especially hard if you’re similar to me and like to finish what you started. If you’re reading a physical book, chances are that you bought it with your own money so you don’t want to waste it by giving up. The book might also be one that you highly anticipated or others speak highly of and you want to like it too. I find that it’s easier for me to DNF books I’ve borrowed from the library because well, it’s not mine. But I still want to give each book my best shot before doing so.
How do I know if I should DNF it?
Not liking a book doesn’t mean you should stop reading it right away. Some books get better as they go on and you just need to give it a chance. However there are several indicators of when you probably should just stop reading the book.
Here are some signs you should read something else:
- You dread going back to it
Reading is supposed to be relaxing and exciting. If you’re dreading going back to the book, then you’re likely not enjoying it. Why not use your time to read something you enjoy instead?
- You don’t feel connected to the characters
Maybe you feel distanced from the main character, they’re unrelatable, or even annoy you a lot in a bad way. Sometimes no matter how good the dialogue and relationship between the characters are, you just don’t feel connected to them.
- You want to search up spoilers
I’m sure there’s a bunch of you that will want to search up spoilers for books you like, but I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about the times where you get to the point of not wanting to read the whole middle part of the book and go through the story but you still want to know how it ends.
- You’re starting to skim and passively read
When I’m reading a book that I’m fully immersed into, I wouldn’t want to rush the reading process because I don’t want the book to end! But sometimes you may find yourself reading faster and faster until you’re basically just skimming.
- You’re constantly checking how close you are to the end of the book
Sometimes this isn’t a bad sign, but I usually find myself doing this when I’m rushing to finish a book. How long until the end of this chapter? How much percent have I read so far?
Some of these things just happen naturally even if you’re enjoying it! Identifying with one or more of these things doesn’t mean you should stop reading your book. But sometimes it might mean that.
I hope this is helpful and relatable. It never makes me happy to DNF a book but sometimes it really is necessary. Let me know in the comments below if you’ve ever struggled with this dilemma!