Why I DNF ~ Didn’t Finish That Book

14 Nov, 2013 by in Uncategorized 17 comments

Lately I have been noticing a trend in my reading. Did not finish.

On average, I mark about 10% of the books on my shelf DNF. I remember when I first started blogging WAY back in the day I fretted, stewed and panicked if I received a book for review from a publicist or author and couldn’t finish it. I clearly remember the first time I threw away a book. Yes, that’s right I chucked it. Now believe me, I was raised to think that “one can not have too many books” and I collect them like candy. But there came a time when I wanted nothing to do with it and I didn’t think anyone else should read it either. (Most of the time I put books for trade or donate them, FYI.)

Then there was a time on Goodreads when I used to give books I didn’t finish and hated a one or two star rating. + marked them DNF. I have since resorted to not rating or adding them at all. Why, you ask? One, because I don’t want to rate a book I haven’t read and 2) attacks on me personally. I had an author track down my personal twitter account and start harassing me. I ultimately had to close the account, explained that not every book is suited for every person and tried to be as professional as possible. But if there’s a way to assure I will NEVER buy or recommend your book to another person, be a bully…that will get me to stand firm and not pick up any of your books again. Recently this particular review has racked up comments on my GR feed again. It’s been years, and now the tactic has changed– send readers who have read the book to comment on my review about why I shouldn’t have put it down. Why waste time seeking me out again? It’s one review, one opinion, and I will not be moved.

Be mature and be kind. Carry on and keep calm.

Here’s the deal. I’m an adult. I’ve been blogging for a long time. I have read lots of books and I have lots left to read. If I pick something up and don’t like it… I. move. on. End of Story. No reason to drag out the inevitable when there are so many other things I could be doing and books I want to read.

So why did I DNF your book? There are a lot of reasons. But here are a few…

1) Plot is moving along to slow
2) Can’t connect with the MC, the voice of the book is whiny or repetitive.
3) Unnecessarily crude or sexualized language. Sometimes lately it feels like its thrown in for no reason
4) Too many “F” bombs. It used to be an anomaly to pick up a YA book and see it, now the word is commonplace.
5) Trying too hard to be politically correct.
6) Severe domestic violence, rape or child abuse. I worked for many years as a social worker before I started blogging & for child protective services. I don’t want to read about it.
7) Erotica wrapped up and disguised as YA or NA.
8) Main stream romance disguised as Christian romance. Make it clean. Know your audience.
9) The book makes me feel slimy. You know the feeling, that “I should not be reading this and if someone else picked it up– like my child, I wouldn’t let them read it…”
10) A sequel that no longer holds my interest or I can’t remember the first book well enough to click with the second one.
11) Excessive violence or horror. I have a weak stomach for that.
12) Out of control parents advocating extramarital affairs, inappropriate boundaries etc.
13) Dissing of my religion. I have only read one book all the way through that put down my religion. It was a very well known, popular author and the put down was made in a snide character comment. Never again. Why are religious slurs acceptable?
14) Something pitched to me as one thing that ends up being another entirely.
15) Annoying/ monotone audio voice in audio books. I typically listen to these while driving to and from school so if my young carpool can’t hear it because of content, we don’t listen to it.
16) A book that hasn’t been edited or passed on to beta readers. Please take time to edit, punctuate, and get some reader opinions before passing it on for review.
17) E books with formatting issues. If it takes me too long to figure out how to load it or there is skipped text, strange breaks in the page, it’s distracting.

I have 66 books on my DNF list and they will all stay there. Once I put it down, there’s no turning back.

What causes you to not finish a book?

17 Responses to “Why I DNF ~ Didn’t Finish That Book”

  1. Julie@My5monkeys

    all of that ..and this year I had 18 DNF which is alot for me. I try to read but for all those reasons I can’t always attracted with books. As the saying goes So many books , so little time 🙂

    • Fire and Ice

      Agreed Julie…I’ve been having a TON of DNFs lately. Last night I took five books to bed with me and two were DNFs. I agree, there are too many books, too little time.

  2. Lisa

    I used to have an issue about not finishing any book. I was determined to finish every book I started because I thought “well what happens if it gets better and I miss out.” However, noticing that there was no way to keep up with all the books I wanted to read I had to start putting aside ones that I didn’t like. I still try to give them a fair chance, but I don’t have the time to read books I don’t enjoy when there are so many others out there.

  3. Mandy IReadIndie

    All your reasons are my reasons. I had one that I was reading that I had to quit because the male MC grabbed his own crotch one too many times. And repeatedly dropped the f bomb. All within the first chapter. I used to fret so much in the beginning if I didn’t finish the book. But the day I started DNF’ing books was like a sweet release. A burden was lifted. But I tell authors before hand on my site that if I don’t finish a book I will not rate it. How can I rate a book I never finished. It is not fair to the readers or the authors. Great post!

    • Fire and Ice

      Yes, Mandy it is sweet release. What you’ve described wouldn’t fly with me either. I’ve noticed sometimes authors power pack content within the first chapter to “grab attention” or in my case, drop the book like a hot potato.

  4. Mirely Rodriguez

    This post is as if I had written it because it’s exactly how I feel and have been feeling for a while now. I never DNF’d. I couldn’t even move on to another book without finishing the current one…I’ve gotten over both since my list of reads keeps multiplying like Gremlins who have had water spilled all over them. 😉 Coming to terms with the DNF, I started to tag a rating to them but have changed my mind. I’ve decided not to rate them because I didn’t finish them. I think it’s only fair. All in all, we have to keep sane as readers. Not all books are for readers no matter the reason. Everyone has the right to not like a book they are reading. Your reasons are valid because they are your likes and dislikes. Depending on the read I might be more tolerable with certain things I normally wouldn’t be comfortable with so it’s hard for me to say for sure it’ll be a DNF or not. The bottom line, people need to chill out and just respect one another. Not everyone will react to a book the same way. Not everyone will read the book in the same way. That is the beauty of all this. The power to invoke different opinions and reactions. People need to learn to make negatives into positives. Just saying. Great post!

    • Fire and Ice

      You are right Mirely! Not everyone will react to the same book the same way. We are each unique in our life experiences and reactions. Thanks for commenting.

  5. Dena BooksforKids

    Pretty much the same reasons as yours. I usually put down a book because of offensive or inappropriate content, if it’s boring, if it’s poorly edited, or if the writing is cheesy/bad.

  6. Michelle

    I don’t DNF as much as I should probably. Sometimes I enjoy reading a book that I dislike… you know the whole love to hate it thing. I usually end up DNFing due to boredom. Like a book will be perfectly fine, I just get bored and want to start something new. And I HATE HATE HATE when a book is your #14. If you are supposed to be about one thing DO NOT be about something completely different! Cool post 🙂

    • Fire and Ice

      Thanks Michelle! Reviewing has stretched me and introduced me to books I would not have normally picked off of a shelf on my own. But I agree, if it’s boring, or starts to slow to a stop even mid-book, it’s a goner.

  7. Tressa S

    I’m also about the same as you. I used to not DNF that many, but when there are so many good books out there, it’s just not worth it to spend my time on something that I don’t like.

    I can’t believe someone got upset about you not liking a book! Definitely not the way to go.

  8. Linda Poitevin

    Jumping in as an author here…and agreeing with you. There are too many books out there to waste time on something you don’t like! While I’m never happy to hear that someone hasn’t enjoyed my work, I fully understand that what/how I write won’t appeal to everyone. How do I know this? Because I’m a reader, too, and I don’t like everything that *I* read. As for the authors that mount the kind of attack you describe? Thank you for not letting them badger you out of reviewing. There are many, many more of us who appreciate you, believe me. 😉

  9. Fire and Ice

    Linda, it’s so nice to hear your input as both and author and a reader! It’s so nice to know that authors support bloggers when we try to be nice an professional 🙂 thanks for commenting.

  10. Jessica @ Books: A true story

    That always sucks when you get attacked for not liking books. It’s really hard for me to DNF books so I try to do lots of research before I start a book. That’s a great list of reasons to just walk away from a book. I have a lot of the same pet peeves.


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