Random Thoughts of a Romance Blogger: DNF: A Journey

Posted March 2, 2017 by Suzanne in Random Thoughts, Under the Covers / 23 Comments

DNF: A JOURNEY

You sit, book/e-reader in hand and yet no matter how hard you try you just can’t get passed the next paragraph. In fact you have read the last few sentences so many times that the words will be echoing in your dreams tonight. So you stop. Maybe it’s time to pick up something else, after all this is your fourth contemporary romance in a row, maybe you need to shake things up. So you grab the latest paranormal you’ve been dying to read and happily start turning pages, all the while, the spectre of the previous book haunts you. You know it’s there. Waiting.

So, after a blissful plunge into a world populated by shifters, vampires and all things that go bump in the night you go back. Back to that last paragraph; the hurdle you can’t quite jump, the mountain you can’t climb, that brussel sprout you just can’t stomach. Then you look down at the book and realise you are only 23 pages in, you have another 300 pages to slog through. When did reading become such an epically miserable journey? It’s like you’ve joined the Donner Party for a cold, miserable trek and never mind about eating other people, you’re pretty sure your brain is about to start cannibalising itself. That’s when you realise; it’s not you who’s the problem.

That’s right, I’m talking about DNF’s – books you Did Not Finish. Why is it after all the heartache and misery a DNF causes, you are the one who feels like they’ve failed? Thoughts start rushing through your mine… Maybe I missed something, all my friends loved it after all! Maybe I should give it a few more pages, it could get better! But, we all know deep down; it’s not going to get better. So why this sense of shame? Well guys, I’m here to try and free your from these shackles of guilt after a recent epiphany I had after having two DNF reads in a row.

I don’t normally DNF books, usually I read to the bitter bitter end and then take an enormous amount of glee in writing a 1 or 2 star review. After the torture of reading every single page the opportunity to be able to pour my feelings out feels like some kind of twisted retribution. HA! Take that evil book! But, whose fault is it really? The books for being awful, or mine for continuing doing something I clearly hate, especially when the only person who’s forcing me to do it is me. Who needs that kind of negativity in their life? And is the book really awful? One person’s DNF is another person’s 5 star review. For example, Angela loves the Fifty Shades books, I however, believe along with Mein Kampf that it is the only book that there is any justification for burning.

This is what happens when you continue reading books that you know you should put down, comparisons to Hitler start arising. I find myself being uncomfortable containing that amount of ill-will, even if it is towards something as gosh-darn awful as Fifty Shades. Why would you make time and space in your life for something you feel so much loathing for? I don’t do it in any other aspect of my life. I hate salmon, the thought of eating it makes me shudder so, when I go shopping I don’t buy it, make myself a salmon supper and eat every excruciating bite just in case by the end of the steak, my sudden life-long repugnance of it has somehow transformed. So why would I do the equivalent with reading?

So, my epiphany? Life is too short and my TBR is too long. I have decided that if just the thought of picking up my kindle and reading a certain title fills me with dread it’s going straight into my DNF pile. By now, I have read 1000s of books, I know my own tastes and tolerances. By the end of the first chapter I know whether or not I am going to like the book enough to make it to the end without wanting to claw my own eyes out. So, instead of sharpening my nails ready for claw time you know what? It’s going on my DNF pile. After all life is too short and my TBR is too long.

 

 

 

What are your thoughts on DNF reads? Do you have a strategy when it comes to these books?

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Suzanne

Blogger/Reviewer at Under the Covers Book Blog
Gosh, we all seem to be admitting our ages…and I hate that I am at the point in life when admitting my age is a “thing”…whodda thunk it? I was kind of hoping I would remain 21 forever. However, I have moved out of that New Adult stage of my life and am now strictly in the Contemporary Romance age zone of 28. I would prefer to be in an Urban Fantasy arena, but I don’t think I own enough black leather. However, I could probably squeeze into some PNR, I am fully prepared to give a horn job to my favourite demon, or suck on my sexy vamps…fangs and I am definitely up for some heavy petting with some fine looking shifters. Than again their’s always Sci Fi…I am fully prepared to do the right thing and help some poor alien race with more 6 packs than a supermarket repopulate their planet. Not that I am loose woman or anything.

Annnnnd I will stop myself there, before I start waxing lyrical about my love of historical romance and fantasy as well; no one needs to know about my elf fantasies. As you can tell, I adore and day dream about most romance genres, and my three big loves are 1) reading about romance 2) writing about romance and 3) talking about romance with my gals. Which, is why I love Under the Covers so much, I get all my bookish needs satisfied and don’t get judged when I talk about my favourite characters like they are real people. Which they are right?
Suzanne
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Sophia Rose
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Sophia Rose

Yes, exactly. I had a similar journey to acceptance when it comes to DNF-ing a book. Whether it is the book or me, neither of us should be forced to spend time together. I’ve now created maybe later piles and then marked the ones I’ll never revisit again. Even with my review stack, I will hold off if I’m not feeling a book or sometimes I will lay it down and leave a note that its not for me. I love the freedom from guilt and stress this brings.

Under the Covers Book Blog
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Under the Covers Book Blog

That’s a really good idea, I may need to expend my shelves. There are definitely times when I am just not in the mood for a certain book rather than disliking it, I like the idea of the maybe-later shelf.

Suzanne

Darynda
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Darynda

I could not agree more! Life is too short and there are too many good books awaiting my attention. Love this!

Under the Covers Book Blog
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Under the Covers Book Blog

Thanks Darynda, it has become my mantra when I read a book I dislike!

Suzanne

katey
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katey

I used to read every book its HEA or its bitter end, depending on how I much I was enjoying it. These days I DNF at least a couple books a month and I don’t stress about it. There are so many good books out there that if I get to 60% and realize I just don’t really care how it turns out, I move on to the next book on my list. There are always more good stories than there is time to read them. A DNF isn’t a failure, it’s just good time management!

Under the Covers Book Blog
Admin
Under the Covers Book Blog

I used to do that as well Katey, it’s so stressful, especially when it’s less of boredom thing and more of a i-hate-everyone-in-this-book thing. Wow 60% though, I never make it that far, normally if I can’t feel in the first few chapters then I start to lose all interest.

lol! Good time management I like it!

Suzanne

Tanya @ Rantings of a Reading Addict
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Tanya @ Rantings of a Reading Addict

So far, I haven’t been able to make myself do it. I struggle on even if it puts me so far behind in my review books because I make myself push through. Just did that with one of my latest and it took me almost 3 weeks to read and I now have a huge pile of *hopefully* great books that will have me streaming through them. I should have just gave up on the previous book after the first 25% when I knew I wanted the characters to fall off the face of the earth LOL

Under the Covers Book Blog
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Under the Covers Book Blog

Oh no Tanya! You need to take my mantra on. 3 weeks is a long time to spend on a book your don’t like, especially when you have a big pile waiting. Remember it isn’t failure, no one likes everything and I never trust the people who do seem to like everything, it just doesn’t seem real. Also Katey had a good point, it’s good time management to DNF if you really aren’t getting along with it lol!

Suzanne

Milena
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Milena

I totally agree, there are too many good books and not enough time to read them all, so I don’t want to spend my time on books I don’t enjoy. Another interesting and heated discussion topic I came across in the last couple of weeks is it OK to leave a review for DNF book? Some bloggers, authors, and readers are adamant that you shouldn’t leave a review for a book you didn’t finish. And some say it’s totally acceptable to leave a constractive review. I agree with the latter, when I try to decide if I want to read… Read more »

Under the Covers Book Blog
Admin
Under the Covers Book Blog

Hi Milena, That’s an interesting question! From my point, I don’t shy away from wither DNF or low starred reviews. I strive to be honest in all my reviews about exactly what has or hasn’t worked for me, and with a DNF and 1 or 2 star review that will mean that not much has been working for me so the review can seem lopsided. But, it’s still constructive, I would never write anything personally offensive to the author, I keep it exclusively about the book itself. I think only writing reviews that give a positive spin on things is… Read more »

Timitra
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Timitra

I agree with you Suzanne

Under the Covers Book Blog
Admin
Under the Covers Book Blog

Thanks Timitra 🙂

Amy R
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Amy R

I used to force myself to finish a book but not anymore. While I’ve gotten more selective of the books I read I still DNF every once in a while.

Under the Covers Book Blog
Admin
Under the Covers Book Blog

Yeah, I never used to either, I do find that recently I am DNFing more and more. I don’t if it is the books getting worse or me getting more impatient, I think it might be both.

Suzanne

Elizabeth
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Elizabeth

I feel the same way! I feel guilty if I don’t finish a book because I didn’t like it. I thought the devil wears prada was horrible yet I finished it and that is time in my life I will never get back. So, since then if I don’t like it, I don’t finish it.

Under the Covers Book Blog
Admin
Under the Covers Book Blog

Yeah, the guilt it a big one, like you aren’t appreciating someone’s hard work. But, it all back fires anyways as I end up writing a really low starred review if I finish it, where I am definitely not appreciating someone’e hard work. I haven’t read Devil Wears Prada, I did watch and like the film though, may be I will leave it that way!

Suzanne

kimbacaffeinate
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kimbacaffeinate

Exactly, it took me years to learn this, but I also found it freed me to try new authors and genres.

Under the Covers Book Blog
Admin
Under the Covers Book Blog

Hi Kim, yeah, it’s taking me a long time to let go of the guilt and defeat I felt when DNFing, now though I feel okay about it. You can’t like everything. Agreed, gives you time to explore things you wouldn’t perhaps have the space for before, which is what I have been trying to do recently.

Suzanne

Connie Fischer
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Connie Fischer

I have been there too and I get angry with myself for pushing along to finish the book knowing there are some really good reads out there and life is just too short to waste my time on garbage. Whew! What a long, ranting sentence. I get a lot of books from NetGalley and in doing so, I feel honor-bound to finish the books. I’m getting a bit more picky about what I agree to read/review. This week, I posted five reviews of books from NetGalley. One was a five-star knockout, three got a bare 3-stars and one just squeaked… Read more »

Under the Covers Book Blog
Admin
Under the Covers Book Blog

Haha Connie, yes it’s so frustrating when you are pushing yourself and I totally understand when you are reading a book which you know you are obliged to review, it does add on some pressure. I think though, and someone did touch on this, don’t be afraid to read something think”wow I don’t like this” and either write a DNF review or a low star review without guilt. I’m a picky reader, so if I averaged all my reviews it would probably come out at 2.5 stars, but that also means when you see I have written a 4-5 star… Read more »

Lisa
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Lisa

Why should I feel guilty because I DNF a book I’m not enjoying? Would you feel guilty for turning the channel on a show you’re not liking? Same concept, right? @ Milena: I do leave brief reviews for books I’ve DNF’ed. I don’t leave a star rating but I do state what reason I quit reading. That way if I come across the book again I’ll have a reminder of why I quit. Also it’s there for other readers who share the same interests or pet peeves I may have.

Under the Covers Book Blog
Admin
Under the Covers Book Blog

Precisely, but for some reason it does seem almost taboo to stop reading a book compared to switching the channel on TV.

We differentiate beween DNF and 1 star reviews, although 1 star reviews are books we probably should have DNFed!

Suzanne

Bube
Guest
Bube

Great topic! 🙂
DNF,DNF – yeah, I’m not immune to it 😀
I don’t have a problem with that, simply if I can’t read and I’m not particularly enthusiastic about coming back and think of that like a chore, then I stop with reading. Life is short, and why to spend a time to book that I know I will not like? 🙂
It’s much more difficult with ARCs books, because you feel guilt, but when you are dreading to come back and to read that book,then you have to cut it 😀 🙂