I understand the desire to finish every book you start. I was one of those people for so long. I felt a sense of failure when I put down a book without finishing it, even when I disliked every moment of reading it. Sometimes, too, I would start reading a book that everybody else seemed to love, and I would push myself through it, trying to give it the benefit of the doubt, even when it was absolutely clear that it wasn’t a book for me.
My reading life became so much better and stress-free when I started DNF-ing books. I stopped holding myself to the unrealistic standard of finishing every book I started -because it is unrealistic. There are so many reasons a book might not be right for you, from writing style, to disliking the main character, or just simply not being in the mood for it.
When you add a book to your did-not-finish pile, it doesn’t always mean it’s a bad book. A lot of the time when I DNF a book, it’s for two reasons: first, I’m not meshing with the style or story; second, I’m not in the mood for it right now, although I might come back to it later.
There are millions of books to read. Here’s a hard truth: you will never finish all the books you want to read. It pains me to say such a thing, but we all know it’s true. Due to that fact, though, you should embrace the option to stop reading a book that isn’t bringing you some sort of pleasure.
Signs That You Should DNF Your Book
- Anytime you sit down to read it, you’re already daydreaming or planning your next book to read.
- You love to read, but every time you think about reading this particular book, you find you’d rather watch TV or play video games. You’re basically avoiding the story.
- You can’t focus on the book. You’ve read the same page five times and still forget what you’re reading about.
- You chose a mystery novel, but you’re really in the mood for fantasy.
There are many reasons you might DNF a book, but don’t feel shame over it! Embrace it! Life is short, so why not make time for the books that actually matter to you?