The DNF Question

The year has barely begun and I’ve managed to push through a high number of books, as you’ll probably see in my previous post. I’ve been reasonably lucky in my choices so far in that there’s only one book I feel that I’ve had to force myself through. And actually, once I’d gotten to the second half, it was much improved.

But forcing myself to read is not something I enjoy doing, especially when the book in question just isn’t grabbing me. In Kira Walton’s post, she says she simply can’t leave a book unfinished.

Maybe she’s right. There’s something to be said for giving it a go, especially if you make it half way through I title. I mean, you’ve put in most of the effort already, right?

Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s ok to stop. It really is. Like, it really, really is. Unless you have to do that reading for an assignment – or maybe to save the world from destruction – then you should make it to the end (although one assignment asked for us to read a truly impenetrable Russian classic that will remain nameless and I only read sixty pages of it. Bluffed that one beautifully).

But if you’re reading for pleasure, then surely it should be, you know, pleasurable. And there are so many books out in the world! Hundreds of thousands of beautiful tomes just waiting to be picked up by you. Yes, you! So what sense is there in pushing painfully through a book that isn’t meant for you, when you could find the perfect book of your dreams?

I’ve DNF’d a few books in my time. And, I’ll admit, there’s a part of my that wonders if I should’ve stuck with it. There are even some I’m planning to go back to.

See, I DNF’d His Dark Materials. Yeah. I know. Sacrilege. I was thirteen and really, really bored after the first few chapters so I gave up. Now, in my more mature years and because everybody gives me that weird look as if I’ve grown two heads when I say I haven’t read them, I’m going to give them another go.

The Wizard of Earthsea is a definite DNF. I attempted to read that twice. I absolutely adore Le Guin’s science fiction, it gives me chills just thinking about it, but I cannot get into her fantasy at all. Weird, but there it is.

Hannah Rothschild’s The Improbability of Love is currently a DNF, but still has the bookmark in where I left it and is sitting on the shelf. I made it over the halfway mark. I hated the writing style and yet there was a slight compulsion to the tale that niggles the back of my mind occasionally. So, I may go back.

There are numerous others that I can’t even remember. The point is, in my humble opinion, there’s no shame in not finishing a book. Sometimes, a book and a reader are just not meant to be.

So, instead of causing yourself and this poor tome any pain, why not pass it on to someone who may enjoy it and find yourself a new book-friend?


Do you finish every book? Am I completely insane? Let’s chat in the comments 🙂

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