TO DNF A BOOK OR TO NOT DNF?

Books about WWII have become a recurrent themes in my reading list and The Nightingale is probably one of the weakest I’ve read so far. Unfortunately the plot and storyline resemblance to La Bicyclette Bleue and Gone With The Wind (and I’m not a fan of any of those two books) threw me off a bit but I did give this book a chance and finished it. I appreciate however the mention of women’s place in war, the sister’s bond and the importance of family but I could not care less to be honest since the overall tone was very flat.

(c)Trang Tran

What bothers me the most is the characters couldn’t be more dull, I could not feel empathy for the main protagonists and I still remember the scenes where Isabelle’s urge to fight and rebel against her sister and I’m just telling myself “why am I reading such a book?”, that was one of the red flags already and honestly, I should have given up. But I could never DNF a book once I start it (a weird reflex I should probably start to get rid of).

Now for the new comers to the book community, to DNF a book is Do No Finish, which means you would leave as soon as you feel the book is not right for you. In the case of The Nightingale, I should probably do it. But there seems to be a force in me that still has hope that the ending of the book might change my whole opinion and so I keep enduring it.

(c) Trang Tran

If I’m being honest, this was meant to be a review of The Nightingale, but I was more interested in knowing you guy’s thoughts about the DNF matter. Do you do it? And if yes, how did you come to the conclusion to give up on a book? How do you know? And if you don’t do it like me, is there a particular reason?

TRANG T.

(c) Trang Tran

16 comments

  • i try so hard to continue, but sometimes it’s really difficult. the reason i don’t like to dnf is just in case it picks up later on, which has happened a few times. on the one’s that i do dnf, it’s because i’ve dragged it out for long enough that i can’t be bothered with it anymore. and in saying that, yes i count a dnf towards my reading goal as i usually end up spending more time trying to read it than if i actually liked it!

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  • I want to read that book as I like WWII books and mostly enjoy them. Sad it didn’t work for you.

    I don’t DNF book. I have felt many times ‘book isn’t for me’ but once I start it, I finish it hoping it might get better eventually or at the end. Many times that has happened as well.
    I feel it’s better to read whole book, see if it works and if not, rate it low than just leave it.

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  • Dull characters I can’t connect with would be a good reason for me to DNF a book, no matter how much I might like the subject matter, but I tend to be somewhat draconian about that, so your mileage might vary… 🙂

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  • I don’t usually DNF books, but if i felt like you did i would totally have done that. I don’t know. I usually give it about 20% of the book a go and if it didn’t speak to me till then it’s a waste of time. Last book i dnf i read about 35% of it because i was feeling generous that day… really, a waste of my time.

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  • I DNF books when I feel myself starting to get dragged into a slump. These are usually books I didn’t care much about to start with, or don’t really have any goals around. This is not to say that I don’t read books I don’t like or persevere on more challenging books, but rather the ones I pick up on a whim and don’t like by about 60 pages in are the ones I drop. Sometimes they are ARCs, sometimes not.

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  • Sorry this book didnt quite do it for you. I didntnused to DNF, but nowadays I’m pro DNF. I simply cant waste my time if I’m not enjoying a book.

    I try to get at least 25% through to give it a fair chance but some my reaction to the writing was so negative I dropped at 10%. Meh, on to better books!

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  • I have DNF’d in the past. I think like 3 times total though. Most of the time the book goes “on hold”. I’m a mood reader, so most of the time it’s just I’m not in the mood at that moment for the book I’m reading. I also have FOMO. I always worry something might get better if I just keep going lol Although, I probably should DNF more often!

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  • I spent most of my reading life (I’m 65) finishing every book I started. A few years ago — and I wish I could remember the book that inspired the change — I had the revelation that I really didn’t have to spend more of my time on a book I wasn’t enjoying. Come to think of it, this probably happened after I started writing novels myself. While I hadn’t made this connection before, I don’t expect someone to keep reading one of my books if I haven’t managed to interest and/or intrigue them in the first quarter or third of it, so why should I demand more of myself than of my readers?

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  • I can understand your thoughts on this book. I had a hard time getting into it with its pace, but ended up enjoying it. It’s not my favorite book of hers, though. And I haven’t read those other two books to compare it to.
    As for DNF, I have given myself freedom to do it more often. It’s freeing. I also have let myself skim to the end of books if I’m not feeling them.

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  • It took me a very long time to be able to put down a book and not finish it, and though I will do it now I still find it difficult. I’m a hopeful person and like you always thought it might turn around, it might end up being worth sticking with it. And yes, sometimes that’s true. But I guess the older I get, the more I read, the more I realize that more often than not (for me, at least) it doesn’t end up being worth sticking with it. There are so many other books out there I might enjoy more, and with each day that passes I have less time left in which to read them. So now if things just don’t seem to be going anywhere I try very hard to give up and move on to the next opportunity. Easier said than done, though. 🙂

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  • I used to not being able to DNF books when I first started blogging as I feel like writing a book took so much effort so the least I could do was to finish it. However, I realized that if I didn’t enjoy the book by the 50% mark, then I would end up giving it 1-2 stars anyway and just waste my time doing things I know I would end up not enjoying anyway. So now I’m giving a book at least until 50-60% mark and if I didn’t enjoy it anyway, I’ll DNF them and move on to the ones I know I would enjoy.

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  • I don’t do it often, but I will DNF a book and have done so more often lately. I have too many books on my TBR to spend time with a book that I am not enjoying.

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  • I think it’s really sensible to put down a book you’re not enjoying I just…can’t. What if it gets better? What if I miss something? Aaargh!

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