The Disciple Discusses…DNF!

Posted May 6, 2017 in Discussion Tags:

How do you know when to throw in the towel? When to wave the white flag? When to DNF?

In case you don’t know, DNF stands for did not finish. I have almost 1000 books on my TBR and several hundred unread books on my kindle. I have OCD and one of my obsessions is that I will die before I get to read all my books. So, that leads me to today’s question: When do you know its time to DNF a book? Here are a few of my guideposts!

  1. The book contains some of my ‘no way’ things. I don’t want to read books with cheating or when a main character dies. So, if I discover a book that contains either of these, I will totally stop reading. I am one of those people that LOOKS for spoilers. I have too many books on my TBR to waste time on books that will only piss me off (I’m looking at you The Fault in our Stars…). Usually, with my other ‘book no no’s” I know in advance and can avoid them, but cheating or death are usually not blatantly mentioned on the blurb!
  2. The characters are awful. Sometimes, the characters are just so freaking annoying I can’t keep going. You know, the characters that are so annoying, you actually don’t want them to get their HEA. For me, Dearest Clementine by Lex Martin was one of those books. I just didn’t like the heroine. It wasn’t anything specific, but I didn’t care for her at all. Another one was Cement Heart. I hated Viper by like page 2 and so could not imagine ever wanting good things for him.
  3. The plot is…meh. There is a lot to be said for a great hook. If I am skimming by chapter 2, it probably isn’t going to happen. However, these books are often the ones I put on my “try again later” list. Maybe I just don’t ‘feel it’ right now and I might like it when I am in a different mood.
  4. The writing is just bad. Look, I am not an author. I would NEVER try to be because I don’t have that kind of talent. So, when I read a book that is just not well written, I can’t suffer through it. I’m not just talking about poorly edited (although that makes me cringe too), I mean the sentences are simplistic, the vocabulary is basic, the story is trite, and the plot is super condensed. If the author spends all his/her time telling me what happened, I’m going to tune out fast. Writing is hard and not everyone can do it. There are too many amazing authors out there who aren’t getting noticed because of all the authors out there who churn out less than stellar books.

So, how do YOU know when to DNF? What are some of the warning signs for you? Do you have a ‘try again later’ list like I do or do you just DNF and move on forever? Tell me!!

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8 responses to “The Disciple Discusses…DNF!

  1. If I find out a book has cheating in it, I won’t it bother with it. It will end up only making me angry. I also avoid topics like rape and sexual assault. I can’t do it. I try really hard not to DNF books, but sometimes I have to throw in the towel

  2. Pretty much agree with all of this. I’m not the kind of reader to care if a character dies/cheated etc, those are characteristics and I’ll read through it if the book is compelling. The one thing that will make me DNF a few words/sentences/pages in is the writing and the mistakes. Like you said, there are so many good books out there waiting to be read I will not suffer through a bad book. I’ve DNFed books who have gotten raving reviews so anything goes…

    • Yes, there are so many books other people LOVED that I was like ‘Um, WTF?’ because I hated it and hardly made it more than 20% in. Different strokes I suppose!

  3. Agree with all of these, Sam. But sometimes I ended up reading tearjerkers (one of the MC dies) because I had no idea that one of the MC would die. I sometimes ended up enjoying it if the writing was so good. These days, I tend to avoid them by reading reviews with spoilers to prepare. Like you, I love knowing everything (especially the ending) before deciding to read a book. It really helps.

    If the writing is great, I’m ok with it as long as there is still a happy ending at the end. But the book hangover after reading it really sucks. So, now I try to avoid jearjerkers.

    I choose to read stories that make me happy, not to be tortured by them. ?

  4. I’m a professional DNFer so I love this post! 🙂 After bad writing [man, how can you get through a book that is badly written??] for me lately has been the plot. If the plot is not engaging I lose interest.

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