So this feature was M.I.A. last Sunday because sometimes life happens, but then you know what I discovered? I discovered that I didn’t feel as stressed about having this feature done on time. So I’ve decided instead of making Kernels of Nonsense a weekly feature, I will now be posting every other Sunday instead. This week I will be discussing DNF’ing and the impact blogging has had on this reading habit.
DNF, for those unfamiliar with the term, stands for “did not finish.” I know some readers find the practice of picking up a book, reading a few chapters, and then deciding not to go any further unthinkable. Others are a little more liberal and will drop every book that doesn’t appeal to them right away.
Recently I picked up The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings with the intention of reading and reviewing it for this blog. The problem was after a couple of chapters I couldn’t go on. I won’t get into the details, but I expected something different than what I held in front of me. Here I had a choice, I could strive forward and hope that the book would improve or I could put it down. I already had another book lined up behind it, so I ultimately decided I wasn’t going to read any further.
There are many reasons I may not finish a book. It may be the story is too shallow, too cliché, or the characters are too insipid or down right foolish. If I put down a book, it’s either because I am hating the first few chapters or I have a very strong feeling there will be a scathing review in my near future. Some books are simply not for me and I know if I continue reading them, it will only result in lost time, a very bad review, and something that might look a little like this:
If I go more than fifty pages into a book, the odds are I’m going to finish it. If I’ve checked out the book from the library and am not enjoying it, there is a greater chance it will go in the DNF pile, and all traces of its existence will disappear from my blog and Goodreads. If it is a book I’ve purchase and I’m tempted to put it down, I probably won’t. I did after all spend money on it and I’m going to get my money’s worth even if it kills me. However, there have been a few books that I bought and refused to read because they were too awful to justify the amount of time it would take to finish them (for this reason I’ve become much more picky about the books I buy). There are times when I’ll make a library run and come home with four or five books, but will end up only reading a couple. I haven’t come across an ARC that I haven’t finished yet, but I’m sure that day will come.
I don’t really have a problem writing negative reviews, in fact I find I have more to say (or complain about) when I don’t like a book. However, since I’ve started blogging, I have a continuous queue of books at the ready so I’m never without an alternative option. Time is precious when it comes to reading and the older I get in the blogging world, the less likely I am to stick with a book I’m not enjoying. Part of the reason for this is that when I look back on the books I’ve given one-star ratings to, I kind of wish I hadn’t spent so much time reading them in the first place.
I’ve noticed some bloggers have a DNF list. The reason I haven’t made one myself is I feel that someone who has actually read the book is probably a better source than I am with when it comes to recommending it (or in this case, not recommending it).
What about you? Are there a lot of books you DNF or are you a reader who sticks to whichever book you pick up? How long do you give a book before you give up? What reasons will make you put down a book?