I’m a bit rusty at writing discussion but as I just DNF’ed 2 books and want to write this, so please bear with me 😅
DNFs – also known as Did Not Finish, used to be an unimaginable concept for me. Before blogging, I never DNF books. No matter how bad a book was, I always forced myself to finish them even though I knew I would hate them. However, blogging did change my reading habits in a way that I am exposed to more books, feeling the need to keep up with the hype, and read faster than ever. And as time is a finite resource, I have to be more picky with what I read, how much time I spent on them, and how I value my time and enjoyment. When I first started, I just couldn’t do it as I always have the “what if it become enjoyable after I put it down?” thoughts, especially for hyped books. I also felt bad for authors who put so much time and energy into writing only for me to not finishing it.
But at the end of the day, reading IS a hobby for me and why should I keep a hobby that does not make me happy? Most of the times, if I did not enjoy a book and forced myself to finish it I will still disliked it- sometimes to the point of putting me into a reading slump. So what I achieved is mostly wasting my time and reading mood tbh 😬
I still struggle with DNF’ing at times, especially if it’s an ARC or a book I have to read (book club, readalongs, etc) but I have noticed several signs while reading that made it clear that I should DNF. These signs are usually accurate and ignoring them tend to end up with finishing a book I did not enjoy 😅 I know DNF can be hard and it’s certainly something that took me a while to get used to, so I hope these signs could help you decide on whether you should DNF that book or not 😁
01. You keep finding excuses to not reading that book
This is usually the biggest and earliest indicator that you do not enjoy a book. Some people read multiple books so it’s normal if you keep picking on the most interesting one to finish first. However, there’s a difference between putting a book on a temporary hold with every intention of coming back to it and actually purposefully finding excuses to not reading or even feeling dread every time you see the book cover 😬
02. You’ve reach 33% or 50% and still find yourself not enjoying the book
This one ties with my point for appreciating the time and energy it took for authors to write. 33% (a third) and 50% of the book are the two time points that you can use to assess whether you want to continue or not. The first part of the book tend to be the set up so it’s understandable that it can be slow going, filled with characters introduction, world building, and info-dumping. However, the direction of the plot should still be visible and the plot itself should start soon after all the elements are set up. If by the 50-55% mark the story still show no improvement, that’s where I’ll DNF because I always ended up not enjoying the book even if I finished it, rating it 2.5 stars at most.
It’s already half of the book and you’re still not enjoying it, meaning that it already took half of your enjoyment. What are the chances a) the book will improve and b) the improvement is enough to made up for the bad first half? If the answers are no for both questions, then DNF might be the answer for you.
03. DNF has crossed your mind multiple times
If you experience the first two points AND having the thought to put the book down every so often, like every time you’re reading, then it’s kinda obvious isn’t it? 😅