I’m an unapologetic DNFer of books. I have zero problem setting a book aside if it isn’t catching my attention, is trite, is poorly written, or for any other reason.
I see a lot of posts, tweets, and grams about people struggling with the idea of not finishing a book they start. I always read them with a bit of amazement.
Sure, I don’t start books expecting not to finish them. I don’t pay good money to buy a novel hoping it’ll suck and end up on my bookshelf like a red mark of poor decision making. I want all the books I try to read to be good, to speak to me, to mean something.
But not all books can be that to all people. That’s okay. It’s okay that I couldn’t get through Where the Crawdads Sing, even though the rest of the universe seems to love it. It’s okay that I don’t like Jane Eyre, or that some of my most anticipated books of the last year left me feeling hallow, and languished on my shelf until I officially moved on.
My time is important. Now more so than ever. With a full time job, a needy pupper, and a variety of other social obligations there is not enough time in the day to do everything I would like. That means I certainly do not have time for bad books.
I do understand the other side of the DNF argument. There is something to be said about finishing what you started. Being a closer would be great, but alas, I am not one. I also don’t feel any sort of reading debt to an author just because I now have their book in my posession. In fact, I probably bought the book. I’m the one that will be out both money and time if I push through with finishing a book. Also, do you really think authors want people hate finishing books and the posting reviews onlines?
I, for one, would rather find myself on a DNF list than with a bunch of 1 star reviews on goodreads with raging readings posting all of their least favorite moments.
I will say I do not condone putting down books without giving them a real shot. I shoot for between 30 and 50 pages for shorter books and closer to 100 for anything over 500 pages. I know slow burns are a real thing, and want to give all writers a chance to captivate my attention.
But after that if the writing isn’t right I’m going to reclaim my time.