How Often Do You DNF?

In the bookish world, the acronym ‘DNF’ stands for Do Not Finish – it means that you got part way through a book and decided to put it down. Today I thought I’d discuss about how often I DNF books, and perhaps if I should be DNF’ing more often.

I very rarely DNF books, and I record on Goodreads if I decide to not finish a book. So far, that shelf has only 9 titles. Considering I have nearly 650 books on my ‘read’ shelf, I think that’s quite a good ratio.

However, I currently have 8 titles on my ‘currently reading’ shelf, and I am actually thinking of DNF’ing some. On my shelf is one masters book, my current read, one non-fiction book, and then there are 3 that I’ve just put down and have no desire to pick back up again. Should I just DNF these?

To me, the idea of DNF’ing fills me with dread. I know it’s dramatic to get so upset about not finishing a book, but it really feels like I’ve been defeated by a piece of shaved up tree. I am also worried that I might be missing out on something good. What if I miss a line that has a great impact on me, or it picks up over half way through?

Personally, I usually DNF about 20% through the novel. If it’s more than 50%, I often just think ‘ah well, I may as well finish it.’ There’s also something largely irritating about getting half way through a book, investing all of that time, and then not actually seeing it through to the end. I feel that I wouldn’t have picked it up if I hadn’t expected to finish it, so it’s almost like being cheated into giving up a fair amount of time that I won’t get back!

Mind you, sometimes when I finish a book I should’ve DNF’d I feel just as frustrated and cheated. I expected a good pay-off and I didn’t get one!

To be honest, though, I would like to DNF books more often. I think it would stop reading slumps more often, and I would be able to spend more time reading books I actually like. There’s a reason I have such a high review average – I normally just read books I really like.

So, what’s your opinion on DNF’ing books? I’m fascinated!

2 thoughts on “How Often Do You DNF?

  1. This topic has been on mind for the last week or so. I’m usually one to try and persevere through a book. I think I’m more likely to do that so that I give the book a chance or maybe I’m just hoping that I’ll be proved wrong. Like you, I don’t have many books on my DNF list.

    1. Yes, considering how much I’ve been able to read in lockdown, it’s been a question on my mind a lot too. It’s hard to know whether to give a book a chance in the hope it’ll improve, or just to give up.

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