“Why am I bothering..”, “Is this going to get any better?”, “Why are you so.. annoying..?!”, “Okay, this is boring..” and so on. All questions we ask ourselves when we’re reading a book we’re wanting to throw aside. Sometimes we read on, maybe we end up being happy about it. Maybe we feel as if we wasted our precious reading time. Maybe we should’ve thrown it on our “DNF”-pile. But when do we go as far as doing that? What are our reasons? What are the things we absolutely cannot handle? When, where and why do you DNF a book?
If you haven’t found yourself on the “Should I really keep reading?”-path yet, you’re definitely one lucky person and I hope you realize that! Most of us have already struggled with DNF-ing. There are plenty of discussion topics on the subject and one thing I’ve noticed is that people’s reason to throw aside a book are very different from one another.
Maybe you’re one of those people who can’t handle certain subjects and you weren’t warned of that one trigger you’re so iffy about [check my post on triggers / spoilers here!]. That would definitely be a valid reason to stop reading a book. Would also be a very good reason to throw it out of your house / apartment / room and never want to see it again.
Or maybe you’re very sensitive to the way a story is written. A huge preference for first person or third person. Maybe you dislike having multiple point of views? Maybe you absolutely loathe descriptive writing? Or you dread every format-switch made by the author because you want a simple, normal format. The regular one!
On other occasions, it might even be the disrespect an author has towards a minority. Simply something in the book that’s stated in such a way that offends you – even if it’s nothing to do with you and the minorities you represent yourself. You don’t have to take something personally to think it offensive, after all.
[This happened to me once because someone let me know why she wasn’t going to read the book and her reason made me kick the book out as well, even though I just started it.]
Another reason could be that the main character simply makes you want to pull your hair out, tear your own limbs off and eat them before simply smashing your head against the wall because you’re simply that. annoyed. I’ve been there, done that. Threw the book aside and never looked back – I can’t be the only one?! Characters with annoying personalities, making one stupid mistake after a more stupid mistake is something I absolutely hate myself. I want to feel a connection with the character I’m reading about. Especially if it’s written in first person, you want to be able to feel that character.
I’m sure there are plenty of other reasons for wanting to throw a book aside – I’m trusting you lot to shout them at me in the comments – but those are the ones I thought of just now.
Like I said, every single one of us has our own “limit” when it comes to making the hard decision to DNF. Mine is simply the 100 page-limit. Even if the character is annoying the hell out of me, I’ll still read until that mark to be sure it doesn’t turn around. If it doesn’t, bye book. If it does, even better! [I have to admit: it often turns around because I’ve only DNF’d three books this past year.]
There are those exceptions though. One of those three books is one I didn’t want to continue reading after barely thirty pages. Everything the main character was saying made me go “You’re a spoiled, annoying brat and I don’t like you. Never will. Egocentric piece of mold.” and… yeah, that happened.
Apart from that, I always stick to my own rule!
Have you set yourself certain rules when it comes to DNF’ing a book? How many have you decided not to finish this past year? Any other reasons than the ones I mentioned that make you want to DNF a novel?