Let’s Talk Bookish: What Makes You DNF a Book?

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion. For today’s topic, we’re talking about DNFing books. DNF stands for ‘Did Not Finish’ and is when you stop reading a book part way through.

I actually don’t DNF books. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t finish a book I’d started. I must have done years ago, but not for a long while. Once I’ve started a book, I’m in it to the end. Maybe this isn’t the best approach though. If I’m not loving a book, should I put it down so I can spend my time on a book I’ll like more instead? Maybe. But I just can’t seem to bring myself to DNF a book.

Sometimes a book can really pick up in the second half, and I end up feeling glad I didn’t give up on it early on before things got good, even though I didn’t enjoy it to begin with. I didn’t find the opening quarter or so of Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo that engaging, but it ended up being one of my favourite series. Recently I read Shielded by KayLynn Flanders. I didn’t enjoy the first half much at all and possibly should have DNFed it. But I liked the second half a lot more, so I am glad I stuck with it, even though I didn’t love it overall.

The one time I can imagine DNFing, is if a book has just really bad writing. If the writing quality was really poor, I wouldn’t be able to get through it. Or if perhaps the book wasn’t what I was expecting or includes triggers I wasn’t aware of before I started reading.

I do sometimes give up on series without finishing them. Sometimes I only read the first book and decide I’m not invested enough to keep reading. Other times I read two or more books in the series but then if I don’t enjoy the sequels I won’t keep going with the series. Especially long series, when there is a bigger time commitment. I have to really love a book to read a long series. Whereas I’m more likely to persevere with a duology or trilogy if I’m interested enough to want to know how the story ends.

Do you DNF books you aren’t enjoying? What makes you decide to DNF? And are you ever likely to pick up a DNF and try it again in future? I’d love to know what you think so chat with me in the comments!

8 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Bookish: What Makes You DNF a Book?

  1. I don’t DNF books often, because I’m always thinking ‘but what if it gets beter’, which makes DN’ing very hard!
    Generally my main reason to DNF a book is because I’m not enjoying it!


  2. I second everything you said in this post! I very rarely DNF books, mostly because I’m pretty good at predicting what books I’ll like, and also because I’m obsessed with finishing every single book I pick up. Even if I do DNF a book, I usually make plans to go back to it when I’m in a more fitting mood. But I definitely agree about how important writing style is in my enjoyment of a book — if the writing is bad, I have a hard time connecting to the characters or even feeling invested in the plot! Lovely discussion post, MT 💖

    • Yeah I think I’m quite good at picking books I think I’ll like, so don’t often end up reading a book that’s really not for me, but it does happen ocasionally. And I would agree that sometimes I’m just not in the mood for a book, but I might go back to it later rather than DNFing it completely.

  3. DNFing is probably my worst bookish habit 😂. Usually I won’t finish a book purely because I’m not in the mood for it at that time so I’ll go back and read it again another time and probably really enjoy it.

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