Jamie DNFs A BookThis still doesn't happen very often, but I do have a shelf dedicated to it on GR. Actually, two sort of. I have an "on hold" shelf where I put books that I'm just not feeling right off the bat (~10% or less) that I think maybe I will come back to and give another chance. And I have my DNF shelf where I put those books that I just couldn't get through.
First In A Series/StandaloneBut you don't care about that, lbr. So to the goodies. First up, a "checklist" for when to DNF a First In A Series/Standalone. These are always a little tricky because you have to give the book enough time to get past the character introductions and into the actual plot.
So my thinking is...
- If I'm not enjoying it after 25% of the book (or thereabout)
- If I roll my eyes twice in a way that also make me want to bang my head off the table
- This could be for any reason, but I know my reading style so if the plot is very trope-y but not well written, it will be a quick DNF for me
- Insensitivity for trigger warning things
- I can immediately guess what is going to happen (and I am right)
- Writing style is making it difficult for me to follow the story (a la SHATTER ME)
- I cannot connect to the characters at all (even to dislike them)
- Poor grammar, lots of mistakes, etc. (only in finished copies, though)
- Toxic relationships that are treated as being romantic
But I follow these guidelines...
- If I'm not enjoying the book after 15% (which usually gives enough time for a recap of the first book + where the plot is going)
- If a character doesn't seem to be growing or very stagnant in their development
- If the book follows the EXACT SAME PLOT AS THE FIRST but has ~some~ differences (i.e. location or name of the bad guy)
- If I start reading and getting about half way and realize I do not care about the outcome of the story (a la SEA OF SHADOWS)
- If it is a trilogy (or more), if the second book feels like it is just padding for the rest of the series, I do not continue.
- Again, poor grammar, lots of mistakes, etc.
- And, again, toxic relationships that are treated as being romantic
For The Books I Put On HoldAs I stated earlier, I put books on hold pretty early to eventually come back to them when I am more "in the mood" for them. When I do come back to them, I don't take very long to determine if I will continue with the story to finish it (maybe) or DNF it.
To determine what I will do...
- If I still am having the same problems I was before I put it on hold (i.e. couldn't connect to characters, plot was a mess, etc.), I DNF it.
- If I have let it sit on my "on hold" shelf for over a year, I DNF it. (Yes, this has happened)
- If I find that I am enjoying it more this time, I continue
- If it is a sequel, I usually give it another 10-15% before determining if I should DNF it.
It is always a tough call for meUsually I read a little farther (or skim the ending) to see if I will enjoy the rest of the book. Sometimes I check GR reviews to see if people agreed with me. But the majority of the time, if I think the book won't be more than 2 stars after 25% of the book, I DNF it. It isn't helping me or the author for me to continue reading it just to hate it.
When I do DNF a bookI usually give a mini review as to why I did so -- however, I do not rate the book (unless I got like 80% of the way through and something happened to make me DNF). I used to post these DNF reviews on my blog, but have since stopped doing that as they end up taking up space that I could use for other reviews where I actually rate a book. Therefore, I just post them on GR since most of the people who read my blog also have me as a friend on GR.
|Example DNF Review|
I also do not mark these books as "read" on GR (although I do wish they still counted towards my GR challenge). I feel as though because I didn't read all of it, it is not considered "Read" to me. Plus I like having these books on an Exclusive shelf on GR and you can't have your cake and eat it too with those.
What You Could DoEvery reader will be different, but you should be semi-consistent in how you decide to DNF a book that way people know that you aren't just DNFing on a whim or because you are having a bad day (although those are still perfectly valid reasons).
I would recommend...
A Page Number or Percentage
Having a specified number of pages or a percentage will help you stay consistent in determining whether or not to DNF a book while still guaranteeing you won't spend too much time on a novel you would end up not liking. Like I said, I do about 25%, but you could do 5%, 10%, 40%, whatever. It depends on YOU, your reading speed, how much time you want to give books, etc.
Specific Things You Don't Want To Read About
For me, I don't want to be triggered/have a panic attack while reading. That means I will stop reading a book if certain things are mentioned and not handled in a good way. Sometimes it can be just the way that it is written, but if you don't like it, then don't continue. Don't put yourself through that torment just to say you finished a book.
I would have some sort of guidelines about when you stop reading because the plot is predictable, the characters make you want to jump into the pages to stab them, and there are so many tropes (that maybe aren't uniquely written/created) that you want to rip your hair out. This is also how you can learn what you like in books and what you don't -- you will start picking up books you really enjoy more often than not.
Now the tricky part...
Do you rate the book or not?
I think this is 100% a personal choice. I do not rate books that I DNF at 25%, but I do rate books that I dislike at 40% and read the ending. It is totally your call, but again I would recommend some guidelines so that you remain consistent with your rating of DNFed books. If people are consistent it makes it much easier for your audience because your reviews are your brand. I have also started rating DNF books on Goodreads so others can find my reviews through their rating.
When it comes to DNFing
Stick to a checklist or some mechanism to determine if you want to continue with a story. Don't be afraid to DNF a book. Reading is all about enjoyment and if you aren't enjoying a book, don't be afraid to put it down and walk away.