Flexing my DNF muscle

I feel like I return to the subject of DNFing books a lot, and the only explanation I have for this is that I’m still not 100% sure of where I stand on the issue. Working out whether to ditch a book halfway through is the point at which two of my life’s major anxieties intersect; it’s where my FOMO meets my fear of not having enough time to read all the books I want (or FONHETTRATBIW for short – catchy, no?). If I don’t finish a book I panic that I’m going to miss out on some massive payoff or reward at the end, but what about all those wasted hours that could have been spent with other books if that payoff never comes? It’s a dilemma – made even worse when the book in question comes highly recommended or is one of those books you should have read. I’m highly susceptible to public opinion, and often sceptical of my own. How would I know whether a book is crap or not – if someone on Book Riot tells me it’s good, then it’s good. End of.

Which is where having a book blog, and reading other people’s book blogs has really come in handy. Before I started writing on this here blog, I was a solid finisher – regardless of time and enjoyment. I finished books. That’s what I did, because that’s what serious readers do.

But the more time I spend in the bookish blogosphere the more I realise how misguided I have been. There are people who call themselves serious readers DNFing the shit out of books every day – so why shouldn’t I? It’s a scary and anxious realisation, but also a freeing one and since I’ve come to it, I too have DNFed with abandon.

And while it still takes me perhaps longer into a book than it should before I’m prepared to give it up, and it may cause the odd week of sleepless nights while I come to terms with my FOMO – in the end, I think I’m better off this way. I mean, no one ever learned anything from finishing The Scarlet Letter did they? 😉

2 replies »

  1. There was a time when I would NEVER DNF a book. I didn’t care how much I hated it, I would continue reading it. Part of it was that I always felt an obligation to finish everything I started. Part of it was that I really kept hoping the book would get better. One time after I published a one star review on Goodreads, a friend of mine asked me why I kept reading books that were so bad. And now that I am blogging, my TBR just keeps growing and growing and growing. I realized that there were too many amazing books out there for me to waste time on books that were boring me or making me mad. I still struggle with the DNF from time to time, mainly with ARCs. ARCs are the main ones that I hesitate to DNF, mainly because I made a promise to read it. I still DNF ARCs from time to time, but they have to be really bad for me to do it. And of course, I don’t hesitate at all to DNF books that I own.


    • I think that’s one of the things putting me off reading ARCs, I’d find it really hard to quit it no matter how terrible it was. I also find it hard to know how many pages to give a book before you quit and then whether to quit it forever or potentially come back to it (although I’ve quit a few that I said I’d come back to and never have). I know what you mean though, blogging has been terrible (and wonderful) for my TBR. It just keeps growing. 🙂


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