When to DNF

There was once a time when I couldn’t bear to DNF a book once I started it. If I committed to reading a book, I was going to read the whole thing. There was no putting it down, no trying again later, and certainly no giving up.

These days, I feel like I’m DNFing constantly. Sometimes I don’t like a book and simply do not care to see how it ends. Sometimes a book isn’t what I expected it to be and I’m not really interested in what it actually is. Sometimes I’m just not in the mood for something I’ve started so I set it down until maybe one day I am.

I’ve always tried to hit the 100 page mark before I give up on a book. As someone who mostly reads longer books, that’s enough to get a sense of what’s going on, but not so much that I’ve wasted too much time if I decide to DNF. If it’s a shorter book, or an audio book, I try to get to 20% before deciding.

Of course, I set these rules aside if I’m really not enjoying a book before I reach 100 pages or 20%. If it’s obvious I’m not going to like a book, or the book was marketed as something it isn’t, I’d rather set it aside to make time for a book I will enjoy than struggling through a book hoping it gets better.

With too many books I want to read, I’ve been getting much more comfortable DNF-ing things at any point for any reason.

When do you decide if you’re going to DNF a book?


2 thoughts on “When to DNF

  1. Hmmm…your post pulled me right in! I don’t have a page number or a percent mark, but I think it’s cool that you do. 🙂 I read until I get this little icky feeling. It tells me I can’t get those minutes of my life back…and I DNF the book. As a writer myself, I know it’s hard to write a book, and I mean no offense to the author, but we’re all at different places on the journey. I have to decide whether or not the time spent reading will help mine. I’m sure it helped the author’s journey though! Thanks for a thought-provoking post!

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    1. I’m working on being more intuitive with my DNFs, which it sounds like you’re good at. I still like having those page and percentage marks for when I’m uncertain about a story. Especially with fantasy that can sometimes take longer to set up. Thanks for the comment!

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