Monday, 7 June 2021

DNF Isn't A Bad Thing

We've known each other long enough, haven't we dear reader? We all know that I quit books/audiobooks more ruthlessly than I did when I started book blogging over ten years ago. 

Before I started book blogging, I would quit books or put them down and return to them at a much later date. Then I started book blogging and for several years, every book I started I would finish. No matter if I liked it or hated it. And it's only been in the last few years I have been more comfortable to quit/Do Not Finish (DNF). I would use the rule "Life's Too Short To Read Crap Books" (bit misguided phrasing, as every person's opinion is different. One person "this book's sucks" is another "this book's amazing!", hence why I changed the wording for a year or two, then completely dropped it) to help. And now, I am a bit more ruthless (maybe too ruthless) in quitting a story if something doesn't work with me or not enjoying it. 

There is no right or wrong reason to quit a book. Same goes with TV shows, podcasts and films. During the UK lockdowns of COVID-19 here in the UK, the Other Half and I would start TV shows and then, quite quickly, quit them for one reason or another. And that wasn't a big deal. It happens. Maybe it wasn't the show we were expecting, or we didn't gel with the writing/actors/tone or, in most cases, one of us liked the show and the other didn't. The same goes with books and films and every other form of media. Not everyone is going to like it. It happens. 

I have talked more openly on my Twitter (@PewterWolf) and my Goodreads ( on why I DNF a book. It's a number of reasons. But there's always a fear to explain why you DNFed and then, the guilt of DNFing. Like you failed and it's shameful. And it shouldn't be. Sometimes, you like a story and others, you don't. No guilt. 

But yes, I quit books. I quit for one reason or another. Some books I DNF because I hated the book. Others I DNF because, while I see the book's qualities, I just don't get along with the book. The latter is the main reason lately why I quit books several books in the past few months. I get why people love them and I know I will push them onto people, but they didn't really work for me in that moment (yes, there are one or two I do think I was in wrong headspace so might try them again in the future). 

I might write a post about some titles I DNF in the future. Might being the word here as I don't want to write a post and it read like I am destroying them. I have reasons and most of them are "It's not you, book, it's me!" (pacing is slow, character issues, triggers, etc). 

DNFing a book isn't a bad thing. It's not admitting defeat, but knowing that the book isn't for you and putting it down so you can find a story that is more for you. But for a long time, bookish content makers have treated DNFing a book as a bad thing, a thing of shame, and it shouldn't. If a story doesn't make you happy, you know yourself the best and you can put it down if it doesn't work for you. Reading should be fun and a pleasure and I think, sometimes, we forget that... 

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