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Books for Thought is where I post a discussion topic related to books, reading, writing, or something pertaining to one of the three. I hope you’ll join in, and discuss today’s topic of

why i dnf

Not so long ago, I wrote about the art of the DNF, and on the review for the book that inspired it, the lovely Topaz wondered if I would write a post about what things make me DNF a book. And so here I am. I’m going to break this down into the small number of books I’ve DNF(d) and why I DNF(d) them, and see if there’s any consistencies across them. Let’s go :D

Weird Girl and What’s His Name – 50%

DNF because:

+ ~special~ characters

+ characters were indistinguishable

+ no plot

+ no investment in the characters

+ x-files spoilers

Moon Chosen – 62%

DNF because:

+ animal cruelty

+ no plot

+ no world building

+ no investment in the characters

+ bury your gays trope

After Alice – 52%

DNF because:

+ it didn’t align with what I expected

+ writing style

+ racism

+ sexism

+ no plot

This Dark Endeavour – 5% (I didn’t record it but I only read about two chapters or so)

DNF because:

+ it didn’t align with what I expected

Into the Dim – 24%

DNF because:

+ ~special~ character

+ slut shaming

+ no plot

+ the writing style


Okay, so looking at the reasons why I DNF(d) all the above books … there are a lot of similarities. Mainly, it seems, I DNF because of ~special~ characters, no plot, no investment in characters, writing style, and things I can’t stand to read about (homophobia, animal cruelty, racism, sexism, slut shaming). As for the two retellings on the list, they were both really different to the original story and what I expected and I DNF(d) them both.

I don’t know if I’m surprised or impressed by the fact that my DNFing reasons are pretty much exactly the same across the board. Although I guess I shouldn’t be surprised because these are obviously things that I consistently don’t care to read about.

I wonder if, as time goes on and I DNF more than these five books, this will stay the same. I might do another DNF collection post once I have more (although I don’t want more. I want to read books I love, obviously). Knowing me, the things that will make me DNF in the future will be the same as the ones here.



What about you? Do you know what makes you DNF a book?


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Posted on: January 24, 2017 • By: Chiara

24 Responses to Why I DNF

  1. The last book I read was almost a DNF, but because I’d been sent it as an ARC for review (Piper Perish, it’s called) I felt like I should follow through and hoped it could get better. The first few chapters were TERRIBLE for me because the MC finds out her boyfriend has been cheating on her with a guy… and she’s never mad at him for cheating, she’s worried that because she has short hair, she’s turned him gay. There’s no exploration of sexuality, not even the slightest suggestion he could be bi—but, I mean, the entire book she whines about everything that happens to her even if it has nothing to do with her, so I shouldn’t have been surprised that she didn’t want to educate herself! After that book I vowed to DNF if that starts happening in another book I read. There are some time when love triangle scenarios make me want to DNF just because they’re so overdone now. For the most part, it’s been boring plots that make me stop reading!

    • Chiara says:

      Three of the five above were review copies that I DNFd. I did give a DNF review for them, so I fulfilled what was expected of me, because I’m not going to subject myself to a horrible book just because it’s a review book! I definitely would have DNFd the one you’re talking about. It sounds absolutely horrible, my gosh. Oh, love triangles are so old and they cause me actual pain. Boring plot is a big one for me, too! Moon Chosen was so long and nothing was happening, which is one of the reasons why I DNFd.

  2. Valerie says:

    Hmmm what makes me DNF….pretty much everything that you listed up there! I remember finishing Into The Dim and feeling like all of my time was wasted. I should have just followed your lead and DNFed.

    This year, I set my GR challenge to 1. I used to feel pressured to not DNF because I was always behind on my reading challenge, BUT NOT THIS YEAR. Nope, this year, I have already completed my challenge muhahahha! And now I can DNF more! Yay!

    • Chiara says:

      Oh, Into the Dim. Sigh. I am glad that I didn’t end up finishing that one.

      Congrats on finishing your challenge ;D It annoys me that DNFs don’t count, too. But I am hoping that there’ll be no DNFs for me this year *prays*

  3. I have only DNF less than a handful of books, and mainly because the writing was so terrible I just could not stomach another word. It was interesting to get into your head and see why you DNF books. Your reasons are all great reasons to not finish a book, especially when there are so many good ones out there waiting to be read. I hope there are no more DNF’s in your future and you read many great and wonderful books.

    • Chiara says:

      Writing style can be a big thing for me! The writing style in After Alice was so incredibly pretentious and boring *sigh* Thank you! I hope that this list doesn’t grow, either.

  4. Tasya says:

    i think it’s pretty much the same… if i can’t connect with the characters or the plot, i will dnf the book, but maybe give it a try again in the future. but if the book is racist or sexist… well it’s an instant dnf with no second chance! my latest dnf was red rising, i know a lot of people love it but i can’t connect with the plot because the world building is so vague!

    • Chiara says:

      I can’t handle books that are racist or sexist or homophobic because I honestly just don’t want to read about them. Ah, I have heard really good things about that book. but I don’t really have an interest, haha! I don’t think it would be something I’d fall in love with.

  5. Idiotic characters is a big DNF flag for me. I find this is mostly the case in contemporary romances. If I can’t tolerate how a character acts or speaks (meaning I can’t sympathize with why they feel it’s right to act that way), I DNF pretty early on. They also need depth to their personalities. I need to like the characters in order to invest in their story.

    For non-contemporary reads it’s the same thing, but plot is a key factor. If what is given in the synopsis doesn’t happen within the first 20% of the book, I probably won’t stick around unless something else peaks my interest (which usually happens).

    I have a shorter attention span as the years pass and I’m getting more selective about my books and which ones get my time. I DNF’d 2 books last week which used to NEVER happen. But, I’ve had fewer slumps since I made the decision to just let a book go and that’s been a big bonus (even if I have more books left unfinished on my Kobo than I want).

    • Chiara says:

      I am not a big fan of characters that I can’t relate to, either. Especially when they make decisions that make no sense to me. Surprisingly enough, though. I haven’t DNFd a book because of that, but I’ll always mention it in a review if I come across it.

      YES to the synopsis! One of the books on this list mentioned something that a character did and it only happened at 50%. The blurb shouldn’t advertise something if you have to wait that long to get to it.

      Yay for being more selective and more open to DNFing! It does suck if you have purchased the book you DNF, but I guess you win some and lose some.

  6. I probably DNF for similar reasons, especially not being invested/ connected to the characters or the story. I’m not going to keep reading if I don’t give a shit about the story. Painful writing also makes it hard to continue.

    When it comes to ~special~ characters I am undecided. I think it comes down to how the story is written and what I want out of it. If it’s poorly written, those characters really get on my nerves. But there are some occasions where I really enjoy a chosen one/ special character plot line (it’s one of those tropes I can find a tonne of fun to read about). It really depends on a number of other factors.

    • Chiara says:

      Being invested is a big one, I think. I am currently reading a book that I probably could have DNFd because I don’t really care about anything that’s happening. I’m not even sure why I haven’t DNFd it, actually.

      Oh, it’s not so much the chosen one trope, which I can often enjoy, it’s more the “this character is so unique” or “not like other girls”. I just don’t like it when every other character in a book is deemed lesser because the MC is so ~fantastic~.

  7. Interesting! It does seem like you DNF most books based on the same reasons, but that’s good you know what you DO NOT like and if it shows up, you move on. I don’t tend to DNF that often because I’m pretty good at figuring out what I’ll enjoy in a book but I’d DNF if there were homophobia or things like that too – unless you KNOW the character will grow/change.

    • Chiara says:

      Yeah, it is quite obvious what I DNF for, isn’t it? :P These are the only books I’ve ever DNFd so I think I do pretty well at picking books I think I’ll like, too! Although there are always the ones that I don’t DNF but end up disliking, anyway :( Yeah, homophobia and queerphobia in general are things I really don’t like to read about, and depending on the way they are presented in the book are usually sure fire ways to get me to DNF.

  8. Ah, I’m so glad you decided to write this post, dear Chiara – such a lovely & fascinating insight into why you DNF! (Though, I must admit, I did have a little chuckle at the “X-Files spoilers” in the first one – really quite a worthy reason, I think ;) ). The Bury Your Gays trope is HORRIBLE & deserves to be KILLED WITH FIRE, so there’s that, too. Bleh. Though I don’t DNF under normal circumstances, I make an exception for that one, just because I truly cannot stand it.

    • Chiara says:

      Thank you so much for suggesting it! It was so interesting to see that most of my reasons are the same for every DNF, haha. (I knew that I wanted to watch The X-Files and being spoiled for it annoyed me so much!) Ugh, I know what you mean. And especially if the character being killed is one of so very few LGBTQIA+ characters? *torches book*

  9. Rinn says:

    After Alice was a hard read! The only reason I didn’t give up on it was because it was so short. But it was so BORING.

    I DNF a book if it hasn’t grasped my interest by 50-100 pages (although I have DNFed books over halfway through before), if it’s annoying me or if I’m just not feeling it. I’m getting more comfortable with DNFing books now – I used to be determined to finish everything, but really, there’s not enough time to read all the rubbish books!

    • Chiara says:

      It was SO BORING OMG. I probably could have finished it if not for the racism and sexism. I was just not comfortable reading about them :(

      I usually use the 50 page mark, too, but sometimes I make it further into a book and decide to put it down anyway. With the few that I read 50% and over it was difficult to put down because I felt like I had read so much but in the end I’m glad I did! And yes. There is 100% no time for books we know we don’t like!

  10. Pretty cool how laying all your DNFs out like this makes it so clear why you DNF. I can’t say that I DNF all that often, but I think when I do it’s either because of a lack of plot or a writing style that I just can’t deal with — one that’s either over the top or really bland. It’s been a long time since I’ve read it, but I do have a soft spot for This Dark Endeavor! I’m not really sure if I had any expectations at all going into it, but I remember it being really unique and emotional. I’ve definitely had trouble enjoying some books when I go into them with too many expectations, and so often it’s hard not to!

    • Chiara says:

      Right? It was interesting to see how many of the reasons crossed over with each other. I am mostly okay with lack of plot for the most part, but only if there is a character that I care about. And writing style is quite a big one for me. If it’s too much to slog through and actually understand what the author is trying to say then it’s not so great. Oh! I think I mainly put it down because Frankenstein is one of my all time favourite books, and the invented twin character really grated on me, haha. I might give it another go one day because I put it down YEARS ago because of that reason but maybe now that I know it’s different I might think differently.

  11. Emily Mead says:

    I can count on one hand the number of books I’ve DNF’d, and not because I believe in giving the book a chance or anything, but because I’m stubborn. But I don’t know, I’ve been feeling lately that if I don’t like a book, there’s no point wasting my time with it. At least I rarely tend to read books that are sexist/homophobic/slut-shaming etc.

    • Chiara says:

      Same! A whopping five DNFs in my whole life, haha. I am honestly not a very big DNFer, but I am certainly more open to it now. I think if there is only ONE thing about a book that I like then I will probably continue. But there is honestly not enough time to read a book that you know you’re hating!

  12. I completely agree with all of your reasons. I DNF whenever I’n not feeling completely invested in a book, because life’s too short to read a book you don’t like when there’s so many other potentially great books out there. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous post! <3

    • Chiara says:

      Life is WAY too short! As the famous quote goes “so many books, so little time”. And when you don’t care about what happens to the characters then what’s the point in keeping on going? Thanks, lovely!!

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