[DNF = Did Not Finish]
Up until about 2 years ago, I never left a book unfinished. No matter how bad a book was, I would trudge through it with all my might, and giving up on a book was almost equal to ‘cheating’ for me. It felt like I was cheating on a book if I did not finish it, and thus, no matter what, I’d always finish the books that I’d pick up.
It was only last year (or maybe a little before that) that I willingly started DNFing books, without feeling guilty about it. I think DNFing is something which, when you do it for the first time is hard, but the more you do it – the easier it gets and the more comfortable you feel to put your reading and enjoyment above all.
Why DNFing Books Is Absolutely Alright
Unless you’re reading for a course, of reading for knowledge or to receive payment, the sole motivation for reading something is : enjoyment. You’re reading because you enjoy reading, and you pick up a particular book only because you expect to get something from it in terms of entertainment. So I think it is correct to say, that when the sole purpose of a book is not fulfilled : you are at complete liberty to put it down. I think it is a disservice to books itself if you keep reading it in spite of not enjoying it. The purpose of reading is lost and there’s no point on going on with a book you’re not enjoying.
When I’m Most Likely to DNF
My main reason for DNFing a book is boredom. I can stand horrid books, I can stand offensive books, I can stand ridiculous books. But boring books? No way. The thing with reading bad books is that after reading, I enjoy discussing it and bringing up all the cons of the book and analysing it critically. It’s fun, and though it makes me sound hard-hearted, it is something I enjoy. Just as I love praising good books, similarly, I love criticising the books I didn’t like. But when it comes to boring books, I don’t even have anything to say. When I’m halfway through the book and if I still haven’t formed a single opinion about any aspect of the book, then it’s a clear indication that there’s nothing in it for me.
When it comes to DNFing books, I do not have any specific page number of percentage where I decide to give up. Usually, with most books, the initial few pages are a bit boring because you’re just getting introduced to the story and the characters, but apart from the initial few pages, anywhere else the book becomes too boring for me : I decide to give up. There are books I’ve DNFed with barely 20 pages to finish, and others I’ve DNFed having read merely a 100 pages.
Do I Count DNFed Books As ‘Read’
In my Goodreads challenge, if I give up on a book with less than 30 pages to finish, I count it as ‘read’. The books which I plan on picking up later (if I have more than 30 pages to finish) I put in my ‘want to read’ shelf. Everything else, I remove completely from my shelves. I really wish in the future, Goodreads comes up with a default ‘DNF’ shelf, it would make so many lives easier!
Do I Rate DNFed Books?
I don’t think there’s anything wrong about rating DNFed books. A lot of people feel quiet strongly about rating DNFed books, but I think it’s totally fine! Clearly, if you DNFed the book, you found something wrong with it and I think that gives you complete right to rate the book. Normally, if you finish a book and don’t like it, you’d give it a low rating anyway! And since you DNFed it, you didn’t like it, right? Then I don’t see anything wrong with rating DNFed books!
However, when it comes to books I plan on picking up again, I leave them unrated. That is always when it comes to classics, because when it comes to classics, I think that your enjoyment of a book changes with age. So, DNFed classics? I do not rate them.
So those were all my thoughts on DNFs!