TTT / DISCUSSION: When do you DNF [Did Not Finish] a book?

Top Ten Tuesday

“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?



I’ve used Top Ten Tuesday’s topic as inspiration for this post as the topic itself simply didn’t appeal to me.

47 thoughts on “TTT / DISCUSSION: When do you DNF [Did Not Finish] a book?

  1. I’m always struggling with DNF-ing books – I haven’t DNFed a book in a little while now, years, actually. I haven’t felt the need to though, so I feel pretty lucky about that, I think I got to read some amazing books, or medium books I still was invested in enough to want to know the ending. Yet, with my last read, I struggled to finish it and almost wanted to DNF it. In the end, I didn’t and it got a bit better, but still… I always wonder, haha. I guess I always have some hope that things get better? 😛
    Lovely post! 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally understand. I feel weird DNF-ing books or even thinking about DNF-ing one because, as you say, what if it gets better?! The one big no-no for me is when the main character is way too annoying. [And even then I sometimes push through as I did with The Gentleman’s Guide, haha]
      Thank you! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Haha I do the very same thing – even if the character annoys me…. somehow I feel like it will get better and DNF-ing makes me feel so bad somehow?! :/

      Liked by 1 person

    3. That’s understandable though. Either because we bought the book and it’s still our money we’re pretty much throwing aside by not finishing it or because the author / publisher gave us a copy and we don’t want to seem ungrateful in the slightest.. :’)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great list.

    There are a very small number of topics that I find far too triggering to read about. If they pop up in a story when I’m not expecting it, I have no choice but to DNF.

    Here is our Top Ten Tuesday. Thanks for stopping by earlier!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you.

      I can totally understand that. I don’t have any triggers like that; I can handle pretty much anything – I simply have to make sure I prepare myself before actually reading about certain things. The only thing I can’t handle is objectification of women; read a book like that once and almost threw it out the window. :’)



  3. I used to be one of those people who would never DNF a book. It felt like I was being disloyal or something. But then I realized that there are way too many great books out there to waste my time on a subpar or awful one! Now, I generally give the book around 3-5 chapters before I make a final DNF decision. That is usually enough time for me to determine if I’m going to like the rest of the book or not. I completely agree with all of your reasons! Great post, Kathy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Honestly, at first I couldn’t imagine simply quitting in the middle of a book and never picking it up again but once you start reviewing books.. You simply make that “click” at some point where you realize there’re just way too many books for you to waste time on one you’re struggling with and aren’t going to like either way.
      Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great discussion, Kathy!

    I personally end up DNFing a book because I find the writing to be boring and the characters to be bland. If I can’t connect to a character then I usually can’t find a way to become immersed in the story. I tried to read to page 50-100 in hopes that a book becomes better. Sometimes the books been so bad I barely got past page 15. I tried not to DNF books because I feel bad for the author. I want to support people’s work because I know it takes a lot to write a book. On the other side, I also don’t want to force myself to read something that’s not interested to me or keeping me engaged.

    Amber @ Escape Life in the Pages

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!

      Exactly. I think that’s something we all struggle with since we also write reviews. We want to support authors, especially the lesser known ones, but sometimes it’s so hard to look past things and keep on reading.. :’)


  5. I used to never DNF books but now if i’m not enjoying something, or I’m in intrigued by the plot or the characters, I put the book down and move on to something else. I usually give a book between 50 to 100 pages and if I’m still not enjoying something about the book, I DNF it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely agree! I think I have most trouble with the overall plot-line. I’ve read two books in a series not that long ago where barely anything happened. Like; most books work towards a goal but those? Nooope. Felt like a whole lot of nothing with a small “boom” at the end to make you feel as if the entire book was interesting while it wasn’t. :’) I’m still contemplating whether or not to finish the series since there’s two more books to go and I own them already, haha.


  6. I rarely DNF a book and if I put it aside, I usually give it a second chance. That said, I try to give it a good 25% before I toss it. But each book is different and sometimes you know right away it’s not for you. Others, you get to the end and wonder, “Why did I finish this?” Haha.

    Here is our Top Ten Tuesday. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t figured it out yet. I think it has something to do with the writing style not working for me or can be a character being really horrible or 2-dimensional right off the bat.
      I’ll have to pay attention to that feeling more the next time it hits 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I struggle with DNF’ing. I’m always afraid I’ll miss out on something that will change the tide for me. I do think characters who want to make me pull my hair out is a good indicator I should put it down. I loved your discussion and you made so many valid points!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I usually try to give the book to the halfway point before I DNF but sometimes if I’m just not into the book at all I will give up on it sooner. I’ve only DNFed one book so far this year and that was back in January.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh, halfway is even further than I go, haha! I DNF’d three books since I started blogging, which I don’t think is too bad. One time I only got 50 pages in but the MC was soooo annoying; I just knew it wasn’t going to turn around. :’)

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I usually give a book 50-100 pages before I DNF. I’ve seen some books really turn around by 50 pages but at the same time, at 50 pages I generally know if I’m going to be able to stand characters/writing. When I give it until 100 pages I’m probably just being really hopeful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, now I immediately see myself as always being hopeful. Which is probably the case since we always hope we’re going to like a book when the start is only “meh”. 😀
      I do read pretty fast though, so that helps me as well. I think if I’d read more slowly and took way longer to reach the 100 pages mark, I might lower it so I don’t feel like I invested too much time in it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hm. I can’t even think of a series where I thought the events were repetitive – do you have an example of that? Now I’m curious!
      Haven’t really come across confusing writing – yet; but I guess that’s bound to happen at some point, haha.

      Thanks for stopping by! 😀


  10. To be honest I don’t set myself any firm rules other than that, if I’m not enjoying the book, I won’t continue reading it. Forcing my way through a book feels too much like homework to me, which is ridiculous when reading is supposed to be something I do for fun.

    Plus a DNF for me doesn’t mean I’ll never read that book. Sometimes, in fact probably most of the time, it does, but every now and then I’ll return to a book I DNF’d and realise I just wasn’t in the right mood for it the first time I tried. Plus my reading tastes are constantly changing and evolving, so something I didn’t enjoy as a teenager I might enjoy more now that I’m in my twenties.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s completely true! Reading is never supposed to feel like a chore. Even when you’re a blogger / reviewer, you definitely still have to have fun while reading a book. It’s a hobby after all.

      I relate to that! I sometimes kick books off my “currently reading” because I’m not feeling them but I just KNOW that I will when the time and mood is right.


  11. You’ve definitely listed some reasons why I’d want to DNF a book! I usually DNF if I still can’t get into the book after say, like 50 pages or something or if the book just don’t work for me for whatever reason 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I notice that too, sometimes! I always try to set a 50 page limit but I suck at reading in public places for some reason so I usually use the first chapter to decide. Which is probably even worse, haha.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Same on the public places! I always get distracted and start people-watching or something.. Especially if I have to start a new book. If I’m already in the middle of one I’m loving it isn’t that much of a problem, haha.


  12. I don’t really have hard and fast rules about DNF’ing, it all comes down to if the book is working for me or not- I usually know in the first few chapters, so a lot of times I don’t get that far but I know that it probably won’t work for me. In that case I’ll set it side and might come back to it later, but a lot of times I won’t.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, that’s also a way to look at it!
      But what if the book is reaaally getting on your nerves? Would you consider simply reading the last couple of pages to see how it ends and then throw it aside? 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Lovely post. I think the biggest thing for me is the character. Whenever I DNF a book, it’s either because I don’t like them, or because I don’t think that they are very well developed!

    Liked by 1 person

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