Hi all and happy Sunday!


This week I’m talking about when to give up reading a book. This is a prompt I gleaned from “60 Blog Post Ideas for Book Bloggers” by Jo Linsdell. Up until recently, I struggled to stop reading a book that just wasn’t doing it for me. I felt that if I marked it as “currently reading” on Goodreads, I had to finish it in order to give a good review. But the truth is, there are so many good books out there! Why waste your time on one that isn’t enjoyable?

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What does #DNF stand for?

DNF (or #DNF when sharing on social media) stands for did not finish. This denotes a book that the reader stopped reading. Many readers choose to tag Goodreads reviews this way, or share their #DNF books on Twitter and other social media if they really disliked the book in order to warn other readers away. However, one person’s reasons for DNF-ing a book might be another person’s reasons for loving a book! Every book has its reader. Just because your friend DNF-ed a book does not mean you will hate it.

When should you DNF a book?

So many people feel wrong giving up on a book, but the fact of the matter is there are millions of books out there. Why waste your time with something that isn’t meeting your bookish needs? Now, there are some situations where you should keep reading, but more on that later.

Overall, you should DNF a book whenever you really want to. You know when you want to! When picking up the book or opening the Kindle file makes you tense your jaw or want to chuck your tablet across the room, it’s time to DNF the book.

Reasons I’ve DNF-ed a book:

  1. Crappy writing. I can tolerate meh writing in a self-published novel, but otherwise, I’m out.
  2. Booooring. If a book does not keep me guessing or entertained, I’m done with it. Another book will.
  3. Goes against my moralsOf course, a book might include something I disagree with, but when it’s the author obviously showing some form of bigotry, I’m out. I recently DNF-ed a book where the white heroine thought of the biracial hero as ~exotic~, and this book was published in the 2020’s. Gross!
  4. Isn’t what I’m looking for. Sometimes I go into a book knowing what I’m looking for, and it’s not worth wasting my time with a book that doesn’t meet those needs. Maybe it’s a book for work, and I realize that it’s not on par with other books I could be sharing for storytime or a booklist. Maybe I’m reading for fun and I wanted a smutty romance, but this one is proving to lean more sweet. If it’s not serving its purpose for me, I can move on from it and return at a later date if it ends up appealing to me then.

When should you not DNF a book?

As I said above, there are a few situations where you should consider continuing with the book even when you really, really hate it.

1) You have an assignment on it.

Perhaps this is a book report for school or a review for the prestigious book review magazine you work for. In this case, you really should finish reading the book, no matter your thoughts on it. Though if this is for schoolwork, remember things like Sparknotes exist for a reason. If you’re struggling to connect with the book, read what you can manage, and supplement with a summary source when you need to.

2) You promised a review.

Perhaps you signed up for a blog tour or personally promised the author a review of their book. In this case, I try a little harder to finish the book, even if it just doesn’t click for me. Of course, there are times when enough is enough and you absolutely need to stop reading a book that you’re not enjoying. In this case, reach out to whoever you promised. Blog tour companies often are happy to send you some basic information on the book to post that day in lieu of a review, and an author with good networking skills will accept if a book just isn’t for you. They may ask for a promotional post in place of a review, and you can choose whether or not to help them out there.

3) You’re in, like, the world’s strictest book club.

Actually, if you’re in a book club that full-on requires you to finish the book to attend, I would just skip that meeting or quit the book club all together. Book clubs are about fun, not work. 🤷

When do you DNF a book? Or are you like I used to be, and you struggle to give up on one once you’ve started! Comment and let me know!