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I actually can’t remember the last time I DNFed a book. In fairness, a lot of the books I read are for my degree modules so kind of require me to power through, but even when reading for pleasure I tend to cling on until the bitter end.
Over the years since I started blogging, I have noticed that so many other book bloggers aren’t afraid to call it a day if they’re not hooked after x number of chapters. This has got me thinking – could becoming a more ruthless DNFer improve my reading life?
The Issues: Pros of DNFing
- More & better books!
I’m sure every bookworm is familiar with the half-pleasurable, half-painful realisation, upon walking into your favourite bookshop, that you can never read all of the books.
DNFing means you can waste less time reading books that just don’t quite do it for you, and focus on the multitude out there that will shoot straight to the top of your favourites list.
- Encourages experimentation
If you’re secure in the knowledge that, if you don’t like a book, you’ll be able to just give it a pass after a few chapters, this may give you the confidence to try something new. It’s likely that you’ll give something a little out of your comfort zone a chance, rather than sticking only with books that immediately sound right up your street.
- Avoids reading slumps & keeps up momentum
That sinking feeling you get when you know you probably should be finishing that book – but you just don’t want to? It can have ripple effects beyond the book itself and reduce your enthusiasm for reading in general, leading to the dreaded slumps.
On the other hand, being a ruthless DNFer means you’re more likely to highly rate books and feel motivated and positive about your reading life.
- More likely to meet reading goals
Whether you’ve set a Goodreads challenge or are trying to read more diversely, trawling painfully through a book that you’re just not enjoying is bound to hinder you in reaching these goals.
See my post: New Year Reading Goals: Pleasure or Pressure?
The Issues: Cons of DNFing
- How do you review a DNF?
This is one of the issues at the forefront of my mind when I shy away from DNFing. Can you review a book you never finished? What if it’s an ARC or gifted copy? Sometimes I want to finish an especially problematic book so I feel like my rant will be fully qualified!
- Sometimes it’s worth the wait
I recently sat down to watch a film with my family. The first scene consisted of a teenage boy looking at a porn magazine. Out of the blue, a car crashed into the side of his house driven by the porn star featured in said magazine. We gave each other a look…okaaaay??? And gave up after about three and a half minutes.
A couple of weeks later, driven by sheer lockdown boredom, we decided to give the film another shot. And spent the next couple of hours laughing until we cried – it was brilliant! (The film was Nice Guys, in case you’re interested). My point is, sometimes dismissing a story too quickly might mean seriously missing out on what’s to come.
- Fear of becoming a ‘lazy’ reader
The above point about encouraging experimentation can work both ways. I worry that dismissing a book because it doesn’t immediately seem to fall into my usual niches will make me a ‘lazy’ reader, reluctant to shake things up and try something new or more challenging.
Now it’s over to you! Do you DNF and why/why not? Is it acceptable to review DNFs? How long should you give a book a chance for? Please feel free to share your opinion in the comments, I would love to hear from you!