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?
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?