tam’s guest post: dnf – why?

We all have books that were “DNF” because they are just awful, or the theme turns us off and we just can’t face it again. But what about a DNF because…. well, no real reason. If someone asked you’d say that everything in the book was fine, characters, setting, plot and there were no glaring editorial errors you just…. lost interest, got bored, forgot about it.

Does that happen to you? I have several where I’ve read about 2/3 of the book and then just drifted away. I can’t tell you why exactly. It’s not length because it can be a long book of over 200 or pages or it can be 30 pages. There was nothing wrong with the books in question and many people would rate them highly, but for some reason I just lose interest and while I have every good intention of returning and finishing it….

This induces a fair amount of guilt on my part when I see them sitting there in my TBR file. I feel that I’m letting the author down because I didn’t finish their work (not that they’ll ever know since you’ll notice I didn’t name names here). I also feel guilty for buying more books when I have books I haven’t finished. And yet I can’t seem to force myself to go and finish them. They are like the vegetables your mother said you had to eat before you get dessert, but I’m a big girl now, I don’t have to eat them if I don’t want to. I will sometimes skim through to the end to see if anything important happened but mostly it just languishes there, staring at me mournfully every time I click “open”, begging me to expose its electronic pages to the sunlight. But then I choose the shiny new book and it is left there, alone, in the dark… of my TBR file.

So am I the only one who has this problem? What do you do with your DNFs that don’t deserve deletion? Do you feel guilty too?

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About Kris

Reads, rants, randoms & R+s. You've been warned. BTW, don't follow me if you're a GLBTQQphobic wanker. It won't end well. For you.
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12 Responses to tam’s guest post: dnf – why?

  1. Kris says:

    I have a similar situation with an author who is usually an autobuy for me. He's been a bit hit and miss with me lately, but I was determined to get this book as soon as it came out because it's a sequel and I love/d the first one muchly.

    I got about 1/3 of the way through it, put it down, and started to read something else. I haven't gone back to it since.

    Usually this means I toss it on the secondhand book pile or I transfer it to my backup hard drive, but for some reason I just can't seem to delete it from my ereader. In fact, I've removed it and put it back on the ereader several times because I feel guilty.

    It's actually beginning to annoy the crap out of me.

  2. K. Z. Snow says:

    Happens to me a lot, but usually because I feel guilty taking the time to read. Plus, since I don't have an e-reader or laptop, it's very taxing to get through longer e-books on da Dell. I spend most of my day in front of the damned thing!

  3. nichem says:

    Most of the time when I've gotten 2/3 of the way through, I just go ahead and finish. I have several books, though, that I read the first couple chapters, but never finished. Nothing was particularly wrong with these books– most I just didn't feel like reading that particular theme at the time. I still keep them on my e-reader thinking I'll get back to them eventually.

    There are several books where I got halfway through and couldn't wait to see what happened, so I skipped to the end and read the last couple chapters. Then I never went back and finished the rest of the book because I was disappointed I already knew what happened. I know, I'm weird. 😛

  4. I have become so bad because I can barely get through the first 3 chapters of some books. I used to give a book up to the first 100 pages.

    I am not sure if I have become more critical or my attention span is shot.

  5. Lily says:

    I have only two books on my DNF list plus one that I actually removed from all my files last year. The absolute worst book I'm ever tried to read.

    I just can't see spending all the money I do on books and then not reading them. So while I may not love the book I read it all the way through. Except for those three.

  6. Kassa says:

    It happens more if I'm reading at work and finish for the day. Unless the book is really something I'm interested in, I often never pick it up again sadly.

    poor books.

  7. orannia says:

    A very wise friend of mine once told me that there are too many books in the world to waste time rading something you just aren't that in to…

    Sometimes, when I know I'm in a certain frame of mind I avoid particular books because they have DNF written all over them 🙂

  8. Jenre says:

    I don't do this often, but, yeah, sometimes I start a book and can't be bothered to finish it. I can think of three off the top of my head, all of which have been rated highly and recommended but which I just don't have the motivation to go back to.

    One in particular, I'm sort-of reading at the moment which is supposed to be one of the books to read if you like m/m. I pick it up, read for a bit, put it down, don't pick it up again for weeks. There's nothing wrong with it, it just doesn't keep my attention and I don't really care enough about the characters.

  9. Ingrid says:

    I have a few of those as well. Luckily I have still one big file with all my e-books, read and un-read. So I know it's in there but I don't see them.

    I read a book last night, the start was very good but half way the book things changed. As it is a new book I hope it will be reviewed soon, I am curious what other people will think of that book.

  10. Tam says:

    Thanks everyone, glad I'm not alone. I feel bad because my “mother voice” chimes in and says you paid good money for those books you can bloody well read them before you buy more. LOL

    If I HATE a book I don't care if I don't finish it, but if it's just because I lost interest or got bored I feel like I should force myself and if there was nothing else in the house to read I likely would but … Yeah, like that's gonna happen. 🙂

  11. Emilie says:

    One reason that happens to me is because of the amount of proofreading and editing I do. I'll see a plot or turn of phrase that I've seen ten times in the previous two weeks, and I just don't want to read further.

    But I think mainly what happens for me to lose interest is that the characters just didn't come to life for me. They didn't really have a distinct personality of their own, as far as I could tell.

    And then there are the books which have one of the protagonists being the boss from hell, or the heroine (or hero, for that matter) being really loud and aggressive and rude. Who would want to deal with people like that? If I don't like someone acting like that in real life, I certainly don't want it in my entertainment. I don't understand how the love interest could be captivated by being treated horribly.

  12. JenB says:

    I DNF books all the time. In fact I've been going through a miserable book slump for the past few weeks in which I DNF just about every book I pick up.

    I don't have a reader so there's nothing to delete. If I like the book and really have no good reason not to finish it, then I put it back on my TBR shelf. If I can tell it's just not my thing, I give it away.

    I do read e-books on my office PC and occasionally on my laptop at home, and I have a “Stinkers” file for my DNF books and the books I don't like. I never delete them though.

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