Friday, July 11, 2014

DNF: My Thoughts

dun, dun, dun

Here's where the dilemma comes in. If I'm using my blog as a way to enjoy books MORE, why would I read books that I don't like? Books that exhaust me and cause me to feel like I'm FORCING myself to continue with the story?

The Nitty-Gritty

Most of you know that I work full-time as well as being a single parent, so what it boils down to: I simply don't have time to make myself slog through a read. I know that I'm not the only one that has a TBR long enough to take 15 years to get through. Plus, I'm adding at least 5 - 10 books a week due to seeing something that I HAVE to read thanks to my blogger buddies. Thanks guys!

Therefore, I have no problems with not finishing a book. I even have it listed in my review policy that I will DNF if it's not for me. That way, authors that may not agree with that, can know beforehand so they won't even request that I read their stories.

Don't get me wrong, I have a huge respect for authors. I know that they feel as if their books are their babies. However, if I can't make it through a book, the review is going to have nothing but negative things to say anyway. That's why I don't mind not finishing and moving on. It's also why you are unlikely to see many 1 - 2 star reviews on my blog. I do make sure to create a DNF post so that my readers will know the reasons that I moved on, but I leave it at that.

What you should know is that I'm so picky in the selection process of books that I accept for review, that I hardly ever have to DNF. I try my best to only select books that I feel that I would enjoy.

I have to remain healthy emotionally

I have a hard time reading about sexual abuse, rape, physical abuse, children in pain, etc. There is nothing in my admittedly odd make-up that can handle emotionally treading through these topics. If a book is bringing up sexual abuse often, it's back on the shelf. If I have to read an incredibly detailed rape scene, it's a DNF from me. The one stand-out for me on that is Patricia Brigg's take on it. Believe me, I understand that characters have to have conflict, or there's no story. There are ways that authors can present these types of things to me, but it's all in the delivery. So this one is a 50/50 DNF topic for me, which leads me to my next topic.

I am an ugly-crier

I hate to cry. H.A.T.E. There are many books that I've read sad parts in (Dobby anyone?), but that's not the crux of the story. It's ok for an author to kill a character off or for characters to have a messy break-up. However, I purposely avoid books and movies that I'm sure will cause the snot-enducing tears. I don't like chick flicks, I don't want to be told about a family dog that dies, and I won't enjoy a story that is an extended telling of a person's slow death. So if the book causes me to hiccup-cry over and over again, I'm out. DNF city for these.


Names are an important part of literature. When a book becomes incredibly popular, those names live on and on. Could you imagine Galdolf being Bladorthin? That's what we were almost left with. Scarlett O'Hara nearly had the name of Pansy. Herimoine Granger could have been Hermione Puckle.

When I can't pronounce a name, I resort to calling it the first letter of the name. If an author has numerous names of characters and places that I can't work out how to say in my head, I'll DNF. I also get really annoyed when the majority of the characters in a story start with the same letter, or when one character has a name that goes with the opposite gender. I'll confuse which ones are male/female characters. DNF folks.

I'm seeing Red

Just because an author has an incredibly creative mind with a fantastic story to tell, doesn't always mean they are the best when it comes to grammar. If I want to break out my red pen and fix all the errors I see, I will DNF. I'm unable to focus on anything but "You need a comma there!"

Here's a list put together at inkspokes with editors for indie authors.

I finished History Classes

If a book takes you through the world-building in the first 3 - 4 chapters with nothing but an info-dump, I will probably DNF it. I never enjoyed History when I had to take it for school, and I don't intend on having history lessons while trying to read a fiction book.

It's. Just. So. Boring.

This one is completely subjective. For whatever reason, I'm not feeling a connection with the characters. I may not understand what the POINT of the story is. I play videos games or watch t.v. instead of reading because I see no enjoyment in getting through the story. I put it down and come back to it numerous times. I'm DNFing.

Next week, I'm going to explore the topic of DNFs from author's point of views
Please check back then.

How do you feel? Are you a Chronic Finisher? 
Do you also DNF for some of the reasons I've listed?


  1. Like yourself, I have become increasingly selective in what I'll accept for review, but I still have my share of DNF titles. Some books I'll put down and try again later, but others I realize early on are just not for me. I feel bad for the authors, but I don't have time to waste on books that I'm not enjoying.

    I don't usually review my DNF titles, only because I don't think it's fair to judge an entire book by the few chapters I did read, but I do a wrap-up post once in a while with brief thoughts on my most recent additions to the DNF pile.

  2. You and me are one of the same! I agree with everything you said. Though, I do tend to finish books I don't like. I rarely DNF. I don't know why. I also hate cry books. I HATE to cry. I call myself an emotional robot because it's hard to make me cry, but it does happen, and then I am pissed!
    I mostly DNF when I am bored. If I am falling asleep while reading a book, it's a no go.

  3. I love this post, Jaclyn! I'm shocked that you don't like chick flicks! I also hate crying. I don't cry pretty like Demi Moore in Ghost. I turn bright red and maybe if I just let myself cry I wouldn't look so gnarly. Anyways, I guess you're not going to pick up Fault in Our Stars any time soon.

    The names thing gets me too. I don't mean to get pissed, but if the names are all so silly and the characters live in some plain Jane US city, what hat is the author pulling those name out of?

    Oh, love the gifs!! I hope you have a great weekend, Jaclyn!

  4. Exactly! I don't 'review' DNF titles, but I do create what I call a DNF review, where I let my readers know where I finished in the book and why I didn't go further. Then I link to positive reviews the book had if there are some. I saw this done on another blog and thought it was a pretty tasteful way to handle it. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  5. I know. You have so much more patience than I do. I just feel like they're going to get a negative review anyway, so I might as well move on to something I know I'm going to like.

    I am exactly the same way. People call me 'cold'. I am not a very emotional person so if you can get me to cry, I don't want any part of it. I usually cry when I'm angry and that just pisses me off even more.

  6. I love RomCom's just not 'chick flicks'. I watched The Notebook and enjoyed it, but I will not be watching it again. I pretty much steer clear of Nicholas Sparks all together LOL. Definitely not reading Fault in Our Stars! That book would make me an emotional wreck and I can't do it.

    I want the names to have meaning in books. I want them to be something that the author took care in choosing so it does bother me when names are handled poorly.

    Thank you :D Have a great weekend, too!!

  7. LOL, Sometimes I cry when I laugh really hard and I blame it on all the pent up tears since I never let them out to play. :)

  8. I'm extremely selective, too, but it does happen every now and then that there is something in a book that just makes me not want to read it anymore. And if that happens, there are many, many other books on my kindle ready to take that book's place...
    I don't write DNF reviews on my blog - I just don't feel like spending time on that for the time being, but I do write DNF reviews on GR, Booklikes and Leafmarks, with maybe just a line or two about why I stopped reading, and where.
    I read books on my free time, and I want to enjoy myself! I don't have any specific thing that will be sure to make me DNF a book, though, so it can be touch and go. I don't mind ugly crying if I'm in the mood for that *grin*
    Great post, Jaclyn!

  9. LOL Great post, Jaclyn! Oh, and ONLY 15 years?!? I'm feeling like I might be lucky to finish my tbr by the time I'm 70. But it probably won't happen even then because I keep adding books. :) Anyway, I have to say that blogging has definitely made me pickier about what I'm willing to read. And I once was the type of person who would always finish a book - no matter what. But I'm not like that anymore because as you said, I don't have time to spend reading something I'm not enjoying. Besides, what's the point anyway? Life's way too short. I loved reading all your reasons behind what you'll read and what you won't, as well. I don't know that I have such well thought out reasons, but I do DNF books. I don't review them though but you have me thinking that I least in the way that you do. :)

  10. This is a very interesting post, Jaclyn! The truth is that I have never DNF a book so far. I like to read it through the end, to see how it will turn out. I'm that curious!:)

    Your points here are very precise and true and very helpful to writers! I want to know what other readers don't like so I try to avoid them when I write! :)

    Thanks for sharing.
    Have a beautiful day!

  11. I think I've only had one book that I dnf-ed. I really try to keep going. But I understand the feeling with a full life. It's tough keeping up. *eyes house* Yeah, so much going on. *sigh* I understand. :)

  12. many other books :D I understand not spending the time doing a DNF post. My reasoning behind it is, that you guys may add the book to your to-read lists when I do a Teaser Tuesday or Waiting on Wednesday so I feel obligated to let you know what I thought and that I couldn't complete it. Sometimes, it's better to just move on though. Like you said, you need to enjoy yourself!

    I know you don't mind the crying LOL and there are plenty out there that agree with you. I just can't put myself through it. Thanks so much for stopping by!!

  13. These reasons are just some of the ones that I know will turn me off of a book. Some like the boring one, are just so subjective and also go based on mood which is why I'll try again and if I can't make it through 3 tries, I just give it up for lost.

  14. I think it's great to finish to find out the end. Honestly, I respect the patience for those of you that can do that. Thanks so much for stopping by :D

  15. Hahaha! So many things to get done for all of us :D I think it's great though that you've only dnf'd one before.

  16. I'm seriously thinking my TBR will outlive me. 0.o I'm sure of it. I think I'm up to over 3,000 books on it. With that in mind, I only DNF'ed one book last year and two this year. Both from this year were for blog tours, so that really sucked. I haven't given up on them totally - I think I could pick them up again and give them another try. Then if I still can't finish them, I'll know for sure it's not worth slogging through them.

    When I first started reading Wicked, I couldn't get past like page 60 and put it down for several months. Then I picked it back up and ended up loving it and read the next book. I guess I'm afraid I'll miss out on something I could end up loving, but I also don't want to waste time when there's a million books I want to read. So it's definitely a bookworm's dilemma, lol. Oh the humanity!

    I could not imagine those characters having the names they almost ended up with. Pansy?? That would be so messed up, lol!

    I agree with you about grammar. I have a pet peeve with incorrect usage of words like 'their' and 'they're' and 'there.' The English language is crazy for doing that to people, but since it did it anyway, then writers really gotta learn the differences!

    I hate it when I dread picking up a book I'm currently reading. The best times are when I'm reading a book and I can't wait to go to bed just so I have the chance to get back into it. Nighttime is the only time I can read uninterrupted.

  17. I hate hate *hate* books and films that make me cry. If I know it's going to be a tearjerker beforehand, I leave well alone. Agree very much with most of what you've written here, great post :)

  18. OMG girl, 3,000??? Yeah, you are definitely beating me there. I think it just might outlive you. I think it's great that you rarely DNF. I absolutely love the feeling of wanting to get back to a good book as well. Best feeling ever :D

  19. I love knowing that there are others that feel this way too! Thank you so much for stopping by :D


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