Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Discussion Post: My DNF Habits

Tuesday, February 4, 2014 12:19 AM with 24 comments





Discussion Post: My DNF Habits 



Here's a truth about me: I get bored when reading pretty easily. Don't get me wrong; I adore reading. I do, and I always have, but sometime after graduating from college--where I was an English major and was forced to read enormous and boring books constantly--I made a decision to stop reading books I wasn't enjoying.



 

I've seen a lot of posts where bloggers discuss whether or not they ever do not finish books. Almost always, it seems, the author of the post and all of the commentors will state that they rarely, if ever, DNF books. I'm the complete opposite. I DNF books ALL THE TIME. My view of the matter is this: there are hundreds, probably thousands, of books out there that I want to read. And shiny new books come out every single week. At my current finishing rate of 1-3 books a week (sometimes more, but that's the average) there is no way I will ever get to read all of the books out there that I want to. So why would I ever waste time on a book I'm not connecting with? It doesn't make sense to me. Whenever I do power through and the book doesn't get any better, it just makes me so frustrated.

  

That said, like most bloggers, my TBR is chock full of books I should read because I've requested them from publishers. There is nothing better than receiving a ARC of a book that you are coveting, but that doesn't come out for months. It's seriously like crack (if crack was nerdy and not harmful), so it sucks when I pick up this book I've been dying to read and it just isn't meeting my expectations. Then I have to make a decision. Do I continue reading this book that is boring or that I'm not connecting with, or do I move on to the next one? More often than not I put the book "aside" (*cough* forever *cough*) and move on to the next book I just have to read. The thing is: in my mind I'm not really DNFing. I'm just "putting it down" for a little while. But another truth about me is that once I've put a book "down", I rarely ever pick it back up. I cannot even tell you how many books are sitting in piles around my house with a bookmark sticking out somewhere between 20-50% of the way through, but I'm willing to estimate it at about 30 right now if I count both books I own and books I have checked out from the library. That isn't even taking into consideration the books on my Kindle. Eventually, I'll run out of bookmarks and will have to pull them out of said books, and by then I would have to start over if I wanted to pick it back up anyway because my book memory is shit.


I just want to be entertained. I want to read the books I cannot put down. I want to fall in love with the characters. I want the books that pull me in so totally and completely that I think about the book when I'm not reading it and want everything and everyone to go away until I can finish it. Those books are rare, but it doesn't stop me from trying to find them...and being disappointed in the ones that aren't them.

What I struggle with is how long to give a book. I tend to put a book aside pretty early on. Like, 10-20 pages in which can definitely be too soon. I've been trying to get to the 20-25% mark before deciding whether or not I'm going to move on. This seems like a fair amount to know whether or not the book is worth my time.

Furthermore, and this is the big one, I've been trying to be way, way more selective about the books I request or download if I've been whitelisted by that particular publisher. Lately it seems like the only books I've been connecting with are contemporary novels. There are exceptions, of course, like Kiersten White's Mind Games series or Kasie West's Pivot Point series, but, for the most part, I just cannot seem to get into dystopian, paranormal, or sci fi stories at this particular juncture of my life. As such, I need to watch  what I request. There is nobody to blame but myself when I feel completely overloaded by all the books on my TBR. 

 

I want to start 2014 fresh. I already have a lot of review books on my schedule and am determined to finish most of them. I've been doing better, but I'm still struggling to read all of the books I should. I just get distracted so easily, by a new shiny book, by the TV, by Youtube videos of animals doing cute things.

Lately, though, I've been in the mood to read, and have been finishing more books than normal. Which is awesome. This weekend I actually finished 2 review books (one that I didn't even like that much--which I reviewed yesterday) which made me feel so good. I also have some ARCs on my Kindle that I cannot wait to read, so I'm hoping that 2014 will be an great reading year full of books I wouldn't dream of putting aside.

What about you? Do you ever not finish a book, or do you always power through once you start one? How long do you give a book before putting it aside? I'd love to hear from you!


24 comments:

  1. I'm not too bad with putting books down if I'm having a hard time getting into them, although a lot of the time I'll just set them aside and pick them up again when I'm in the mood to read that particular type of book. I generally aim for around 20% before I put a book down, although I went to DNF a book the other say at 20%, told myself to give it another chapter and ended up finishing the book in one sitting, but really, it does depend on the book. If it's not something I'm that into, I won't force myself into reading it because it's more than likely going to put me into a reading slump, which I really don't want to happen! I think being in a reading mood is a huge part of DNFing books as well. If I'm not in the mood to read, I'll end up disliking all the books I'm reading haha.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Such good points about falling into reading slumps and disliking everything if you just aren't in the mood! It's so true. I hate getting in those patterns of not being able to get into anything, and it is usually when I'm trying to force myself to get through something. 20% seems like a fair amount. I tend to give up on books too early. Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  2. I have no problem DNFing a book I really dislike, but I find that more and more I'm somehow only picking up books that I like. I haven't had the urge to DNF something in a while. I definitely do not see the point of continuing to read something because you feel like you *have* to. Life is short, there are a lot of books, read what you like!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed. Life is way too short to read bad books. I've been trying to be more discerning about the books I'm picking up, and I've had a pretty good start this year. I'm reading a couple of books now that I'm really connecting with. Which is awesome. Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  3. I definitely have the exact same mindset when it comes to this...there are SO many books I want to read. And I'm never going to be able to get to all of them before I die (this makes me so sad). So why would I want to waste my time reading a book that I don't like when I could be using it to read a book I DO like?! I wouldn't. So, yeah, I DNF books pretty often. I want good stuff!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's depressing, isn't it? The books I haven't read that are sitting on my overflowing bookcases alone makes me sad, not to mention all the books that come out every.single.week. I want the good ones, too! Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  4. We'll said! I agree... Way too many books, way too little time, to waste on books you don't like. I DNF books a lot too. I tend to put them in a "to be continued" category, yet like you, I rarely go back to them. I feel bad too since I often requested the book, but really I have every intention of enjoying it when the request is made. Great post! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's the worst when it's a review book. I usually have the intention of picking a book back up, but if it wasn't holding my attention on Tues it probably won't next week or next month either. I'm glad I'm not the only one. Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  5. I agree with you. I am definitely DNFing more though I know I shouldn't do it with review books. But there are way too many books out there and I don't want to waste precious reading time. I actually think 20-25% is too much. I do about 15% with a 50 page limit. If I haven't connected at least a little bit by the time I have read that much, I am just so done.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 50 pages is fair. My issue is that I almost always put a book down if it doesn't catch me immediately (like, 10-20 pages in). Some books are just slow starting and end up getting really good, but I'm so impatient. I do think that 50 pages is a good amount. I know I shouldn't give up on review books, but sometimes it's just so hard to push on when another shiny book is calling my name. Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  6. I power through, but to be honest, I pretty much know what I like and I don't request or buy a book that I'm not pretty sure I'll love. But yes, I agree with you about reading for entertainment and reading books that you just don't want to put down. There are so many great books out there that if you aren't enjoying the book, you shouldn't have to keep reading it. Great post! ~Pam

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just see those pretty covers and it is so hard not to request them all. I've been trying to be better this year, but it's hard. I'm definitely trying to focus on contemps since that is what I've been connecting with. Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  7. I used to DNF books all the time, especially when I first started out blogging. I would request anything and everything that seemed even a tiny bit interesting. This proved to be a huge problem though because I wasn't using my better judgement. I ended up having entirely way too many review books that needed to be read. I was trudging through ones I really didn't like because the publisher had taken the time to accept me. Yeah, it was a mess, and I hated it. Nowadays I've been super selective on what I request. I hardly ever get on NG or EW anymore (unless Harper puts new titles up). If I do request something, I check to see if any of y'all have read it yet. I make sure it's something I actually want to read. If not, I don't request. Since doing that, I don't think I've DNF a book yet. I've gotten pretty good and knowing what I'm going to like. There are some titles that the publisher has sent me without my asking that I haven't gotten to because it doesn't exactly sound up my alley. With things like that, I just let it sit on my shelf and tell myself that I WILL get to it one day *cough yeah right cough*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, the discipline. To be selective is my main goal of 2014. Honestly, it's not even books that I don't like. I just randomly put books down. Even ones I'm somewhat enjoying. I have major grass is greener syndrome. It's just who I am...but I'm trying to be better. Lol. Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  8. I DNF all the time but still manage to struggle to finish far too many books that never work for me. I usually know by 50 pages or so (sometimes even earlier) but I'll rarely DNF an audio book even when I should. I'm still catching up on review books and I feel like I have to finish those (even when they don't work for me) and it threw me into a very long reading slump. Now that I'm back reading I let the stress go and am reading something for fun and something for review and am working on my own time line. The pressure can really suck the joy out of reading.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly! Almost every reading slump I've ever gone through has come about from trying to force myself to read something (usually a review book) that I'm not feeling. I'm super picky with audio books. If I'm having issues with the narrator, I give up pretty easy, but I get all my audio books from the library, so it's never for review and it never costs any money. Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  9. Well, I am one of those readers who try not to DNF books, specifically YA (romance books are a totally different story). I think I get more irritated than bored when I read a book, but I try not to let that reach into DNF territory.

    I think you’re totally right when you say, why would I ever waste time on a book I’m not connecting with when there are plenty of other books I will enjoy more. I don’t really know why I can’t just toss a book into the DNF pile. I think I have a problem leaving a book half done. I might as well finish it even if I hated it. Also, I think I have to finish it so have reasons to tell people why I didn’t like the book and so I don’t ever have to read it ever again. I like to torture myself. ;D

    The thing is: in my mind I'm not really DNFing. I'm just "putting it down" for a little while. This is me! With certain books (that bore me and not irritate me), I put it “on hiatus” because I chalk up my boredom to me not being in a mood to read it. I’m sure that in the future, I would enjoy it better. It’s just not now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I used to feel like that. I would always power through books I wasn't enjoying, but sometime in my early 20s, I just realized that it wasn't making me happy. If I don't care about the characters or am not enjoying the book, then I don't really care how it ends. After college I just became a huge mood reader. I can't tell you how many books I'm on hiatus from...but it's a lot. A whole lot. Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  10. I completely agree with DNFing. I tend to DNF fairly rarely but that's just because I typically like what I've requested. But, if I'm reading something and I don't like it then I don't force myself to finish. It'll be a super low rating anyway so I figure it's in everyone's best interest for me to not waste the time and energy. There are SO MANY BOOKS out there I want to read so it is so hard to stick to something that is painful to read. I do like you though and 'put it aside' for a bit only to never pick it up again. Great post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Kristen. I'm trying to be more selective, but that isn't even the whole thing. Honestly, even books I'm finding relatively enjoyable lose my interest sometimes. I'm just always looking for that amazing read. You are right that it is probably for the best to stop reading books that you know you're just going to give a low rating to. Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  11. I don't DNF many books, but normally, that's because I like most of what I read. But in the rare instance of a bad book, I struggle with DNFing. (I love that we've made this into a verb. :D) I just keep hoping that the book will get better, or I want to see how much worse it can get. I've only ever written one DNF review because that book was just TERRIBLE, but I actually set several books aside last year, planning to come back to them when I was more in the mood for them. I have become *such* a mood reader these days. Which will probably result in more DNFs than usual, but I'm okay with that. Better not to finish than to end up hating the book and reviewing it, right?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is funny the language bloggers have created for themselves. I'm such a mood reader lately, too. I don't read a lot of books that I seriously hate...I just read so many books that aren't amazing, and I want everything I read to knock my socks off. I know that's unrealistic, but there you have it. Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  12. I don't DNF very often, because I am pretty lucky and enjoy most of the books I have. However, I agree with you completely, there are thousands of books I'd like to read, and I'm starting to be afraid I won't live long enough to read them all. Because I do keep on buying new books, requesting ARCs and collecting freebies... But I read to be entertained, too. If I'm not entertained, I don't want to continue to spend my time with that book.

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's all about entertainment for me. I want to love every book I read, so when I feel my mind start to wander, I find myself putting down books down. I just get overwhelmed by the amount of books I want to read. It's a problem. Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete

Hello, there! Thanks for taking the time to comment. I read each and every one and will do my best to respond--usually on your blog instead of on mine. I will, however, always answer direct questions. Due to serious time restraints, this blog is now an award free zone, but I appreciate the thought!