How I Handle DNFs


Hi everyone. I’m Rincey and this is Rincey Reads. So I thought I would talk a little bit about why I don’t talk about books that I DNF on this channel, at least not very often. I sometimes mentioned it quickly in passing. But, in general, I don’t talk about my DNFs. And this is definitely just like a personal preference sort of thing but i thought i would mention it because I feel like other channels talk about the books that they DNF. And obviously they’re allowed to. This again is not a judgment on other people by thought I would just explain a little bit about how I read books, also, and just how I pick books. And I feel like I should provide a little bit of background especially because I feel like there are a lot of new people here and they might not necessarily know the way that I read. So I am generally like a mood reader. I don’t make TBRs but I do have like a general idea of the sort of books that I want to try or I might be like, “oh, I really want to read this book sooner rather than later,” that sort of thing. But I don’t make TBRs because as soon as I make TBRs it feels like work or it feels like homework and then I don’t read those books. Another thing that I do is I pick up and put down books all the time. So the reason why this is sort of at like the top of my mind is because in the past week before I started reading Panchinko, I picked up and put down like three or four different books over the course of like a week. I would pick one up, read like anywhere from like 20 to 50 pages, and be like holy cow this is not working for me. And then I would just put it down. And a lot of times these are library books. The great thing about having access to a great library is the fact that I feel no regrets whatsoever about DNF-ing books. DNF stands for “did not finish” by the way. So when I DNF a book, it means that I’m not going to finish it. I’m just going to put it down and put it away. And usually when I DNF a book, like 90% of the time it means that I’m just going to get rid of that book. I’m not particularly a fan of like keeping books around that don’t interest me. And so once I’ve given a book a try, I almost always know that I’m probably not going to give it another chance later. There are so many books out there. It’s really hard for me to keep books around that I’m not interested in or to keep trying with books that I’m not interested in. And I’m very much aware of the fact that when I’m in certain moods or certain situations, I crave certain books. So sometimes it’s worth it to keep books around. But I’ve made sort of like this stack in my room which is where all of my DNFs go. And then when the pile gets big enough, I take it to like a used bookstore to sell or get rid of. And so it takes a couple of months for that to happen and so I do have time to think about whether or not I want to try those books again. But more often than not, I just get rid of those books. And so the reason why I don’t talk about my DNF books on here is because one, it happens so often that it feels like a waste of time. Two is it’s because the reason why I DNF books aren’t really like substantial. Like it’s all very much feelings base and it’s very difficult to explain those feelings. Like it would always just come down to: eh, wasn’t feeling it. And then I would want to like move on from the situation. I don’t have like in-depth analysis into why I don’t finish books. The only time I think about books in terms of providing an in-depth analysis is once I’ve finished them because I feel like it’s hard to form opinions, it’s hard for me to form opinions on a book unless I have completed it. Obviously there are exceptions to this rule. Like I’ll sometimes get to the halfway point in a book and I’ll realize I’m not feeling it and then DNF it and then maybe I can have more of an opinion. But in general I usually put down a book before I even get to the 100 page mark. And it feels like my own opinion on books at that point are just way too incomplete. Obviously there are exceptions to that rule. One of the books that I tried to read this week was Memoirs of a Polar Bear, which is a translated book that I was really excited about because it was getting a lot of like rave reviews. It was on a lot of like best translated books of 2016 lists. And when I read it I knew it wasn’t gonna work for me because it’s a piece of like surrealist writing and that just doesn’t jive with me ever. So I knew right away that it wasn’t gonna work for me. So I just stopped reading it. But there are other ones, where I was reading like City of Saints and Thieves and it’s not that it’s a bad book. But it’s like I’ve been reading way too much YA and way too much like plot based stories. And I want more things that are character-based. So that might be a book that I pick up later on. But yeah, I feel like talking about DNFs is sort of the futile experience for me. I feel like I’m not providing you guys as watchers like very much value. More often than not, the books that i want to talk about are the book that I finished because for me to get through a book it has some value to it or there’s something in it that pulled me in. And two, I always am more excited to talk about books that I love that book that I hated. I know there are plenty of people out there that like to talk about books that they didn’t enjoy, and that there’s also a great merit to that as well. But just personally I feel like more and more, the books that I want to spend time talking about and the books that I want to give my energy towards are for the books that I am really enjoying. And that’s also why DNF books, too. It’s because there’s very little time to read in general and there’s so many books that I want to read. When it comes down to it, I don’t want to waste my time reading something that I’m not enjoying, for the most part. That’s also the reason why I don’t really get books 1 stars because if like there’s a one-star books out there I probably won’t finish it anymore. If I give a book two stars, there’s obviously still some merit to it because I was able to finish the book. But I just didn’t enjoy it for whatever reason. Like I gave Patron Saint of Liars two stars recently I believe. So yeah hopefully that was slightly coherent and helpful for people. So let me know down in the comments below what you guys think of this. Do you guys, one DNF books. I know there are so many people out there who are 100% completionists. I applause you, but I do not have time for that. Two if you DNF books do you like rate, I don’t even like rate them on the Goodreads. So do you like put it on Goodreads? The only time I put DNF books on Goodreads is because– if I have marked it as currently reading and I get substantially through it. Like I recently marked Zadie Smith’s Swing Time as DNF and explain why I DNF’d it in there. And the reason why that sort of like the exception is because I spent so much time with that book and I had a really good reason for DNF-ing it. 99% of the time I don’t put a book on Goodreads until I know that it’s a book that I’m enjoying. so usually wait a day or two before I put a book on Goodreads and I make sure that it’s a book that I’m most likely going to finish just because i think it’s a pain in the butt to add books to Goodreads and then a day later to remove them because I know people are checking out my feed. And so I feel like it’s just a waste of energy to have to go in and add books and remove books all the time especially when I’m in those moods when where I can’t really find what I want to read. So yeah leave a comment down below letting me know what you guys do, how you handle DNFs. So yeah, that’s all I have for now and thanks for watching.

44 thoughts on “How I Handle DNFs

  1. TBH i rarely dnf books anymore bc i usually am pretty selective about what i read…but recently i DNFed broken monsters which i realize is very popular! i SHOULD have DNFed lab girl because i ended up hating it, but i felt like bc it was so well loved that maybe i would grow to love it at the end. then i usually immediately donate the books to a thrift store, bc if theyre sitting around i will for some reason feel the need to try again which i don't need to waste my time doing!

  2. I almost never dnf books and will try to push myself through which feels like a waste of time if I didn't enjoy the book in the end. I also only read one book at a time so that contributes to my no dnf-ing.

    Rationally I know that I will never have the time to read all the great books that exist so reading something I don't enjoy is a total waste of my time but I can't help it 😩

  3. I feel you, I'm the same way. I can be extremely moody when reading, now I try to refrain for reading too many books at once. Towards the end of last year I had several books in various states of unfinished. So now no more than 3 books in circulation at once

  4. Last year was the first time I got almost 100 pages into two books and then decided I just couldn't read them anymore. I normally would power through and give a bad review but I just decided to not even spend time on it. So I'm getting better at just going with my gut. I'm the same way in that I don't really stress dnf on goodreads or instagram since I'm such a mood reader and just pick up what's been calling out to me and if it doesn't work then same as you in the donate pile it goes.

  5. I want to hear about the books that you enjoyed and can recommend.

    DNF—who cares? Not me. BTW, I've never been able to finish <b>Huckleberry Finn</b> and I enjoy Mark Twain. I've read most of his other stuff, but <b>HF</b> gives me DNF Hives.

  6. Life is to short to talk about books we don't enjoy. Although I just did that today, but the book annoyed me and I had to finish it… and then I complained… Not normally something I do, but I felt I was providing a public service… lol

  7. I have a DNF shelf on my Goodreads. I think there's one book, maybe two or three?, on it. The ONLY books that I DNF are ones that, either accidentally or intentionally, have sooo many spelling and/or grammar mistakes. Poorly edited books . . . I cannot tolerate them.

    All other books (and mostly I read books that interest me/in my preferred genre) I read through to the end. Some books I might skim to reach the end, but for books that I find slow or otherwise somehow objectionable, I read through to the end in hopes that somehow the author will redeem the book and turn things around.

    I recently read a book that took me far too long to read and I really just didn't enjoy it, but, for whatever reason, it never even occurred to me that I could DNF it.

    So unless a book is full of errors, I am just incapable of DNFing books. πŸ˜•

  8. I don't often DNF but when I do I mark my DNFs on goodreads but I have an "exclusive shelf" for DNFs so they don't end up on my "read" shelf because I only want stuff that I've finished on there

  9. I will DNF but somehow don't find myself doing it very often. I don't talk about the books I DNF because 1) If I DNF a book because it's badly written, I have no interest in spending any more time thinking about the book, and 2) Sometimes the ending of a book can totally change how I think about it, e.g. The Life of Pi, Gulliver's Travels, and Wuthering Heights. So on the off chance that I'm missing a big turn, I don't feel comfortable talking about books I don't finish. The only time I'm moved to talk about books I didn't enjoy is if the book helped me figure out something interesting, maybe because the writing was excellent.

  10. Your approach is really similar to mine, I'm a mood reader and I'm constantly picking up books and putting down others. The only thing is that I don't always know if I've actually DNF'ed a book at first, since I can go huge lengths of time with a book on "pause" while I read other things. And many of them I do go back to when I feel like it, whereas others can fall down the priority list and after a while I'll figure that I'm not interested enough to go back.

    I don't talk about DNFs for similar reasons, I feel like I need to finish a book to speak about it on my channel and give a thoughtful opinion on it. This is also why most of my goodreads scores are 3+ stars. If it's less than that, I doubt I'll have finished it, and I'm not going to stick with books I'm not enjoying just to prove myself a critical thinking reader, etc. haha! (I also do not have time for that!)

  11. Life is too short to finish books I don't enjoy! I know I will never read all the books I want to before I shuffle off this mortal coil so I am not wasting time with books I don't like. I usually give a book about 50 pages to decide. I don't add books to Goodreads until I finish them anyway, so I just don't list my DNFs.

  12. I dnf all the time. I don't mark them on goodreads, mainly because I usually dnf at 100 pages which depending on the book is only a fraction of the book.

  13. I definitely DNF- like you said, there just isnt time to read books you dont enjoy. I don't put them on goodreads unless i almost finished and really have clear reasons for not being able to finish.

  14. If I DNF I don't rate. I don't DNF a lot, but I'm usually unapologetic when I do. I will talk about my experience with DNFing a book if I think I have something more substantial to say than 'it just didn't work for me': I completely understand that if you DNF a lot, you wouldn't want to talk about that, because time! In my most recent Friday Reads I talk about a book I DNFed… I had to think long and hard about what I was going to say in that case, because I wanted to be explicit about my reasoning, and there are some things which it's just hard to find the language for. I appreciate you making this vid, btw, because I think it's great to see different ways of reading talked about on booktube. It's good for everyone to know that you don't have to do X, Y, & Z (like, make a TBR for example) in order to be a proper, booktube-approved reader. BTW, I like you hardly ever give 1 star reviews. If it's a 1 star read I almost certainly won't have finished it.

  15. How do you deal with DNFing a book that's well renowned? For example I just DNFed Beloved by Toni Morrison and i know how loved and applauded that book is, the writing style just wasn't for me. I can't help but feel guilty or like I'm missing something. What are other people's thoughts on this?

  16. When I was starting my reader's life, back in my late teens, I forced myself to finish all the books I started. The reason was that I was beginning to form myself as a reader and I haven't developed a taste yet, so it was important that I gave books a chance.

    But now, more than 10 years later, that's no longer the case and I can tell by just reading a few pages if a book is for me or not. There are a few exceptions to this, e.g. when I started to read "I am Legend" I was tempted to leave it because I thought it was a clichè story, but the end turned to be one of the best things I read. But in general, I think that when you read a certain amount during your life you know what you like and what you don't.

  17. Wow, I think those books would probably all fall under my "postcard books". I rarely DNF and then usually with a reason and then talk about it. However I more often put books aside because I am not feeling it with the option/intention of finishing them later – even if I don't I never call them DNFd really. But I totally get not talking about books that you didn't have a strong feeling about one way or the other.

  18. Unless a book is exceptionally unenjoyable to me, I give it about a hundred pages and if its still not doing it for me I dnf it. That said, I have read books where I've read past the halfway point before they start to go downhill. lol.. In that case, I usually read as far as I can and since I've committed so much time to it, I count it as 'read' on goodreads. If for no other reason than I feel I deserve a reward of some kind for sticking it out. lol

  19. I usually don't DNF books, I also like to talk about books I haven't enjoyed. πŸ˜€ But I totally get your point and I agree that it's nonsense to talk about books that one hasn't finished. πŸ™‚ Except there's a real reason, like a theme or something that is just bad.

  20. I usually try to not DNF books in case there's something near the end that changes my mind on the book. Sometimes this is the case, other times not so much. I always feel like I get something out of them even if I didn't enjoy reading them. My ratings tend to skew kind of high, weirdly.

  21. I DNF books too ……I don't know if i'm the only one who does this ……but before I DNF a book, I usually try to go back to Goodreads and go through other people's review just so I can find someone who feels the same way about the book. If I've exceeded 50% of the book and still can't find any more motivation to continue then I will just include it in my Goodreads record as DNF but If i hardly made it past the second chapter I will not include it in Goodreads record.
    I used to push myself to finish reading a book but 2 years ago I decided not to waste my time and just find something better ……….

  22. I DNF books when I can't seem to get into the story. I normally give the book 50-100 pages before calling it quits. I made a discussion video about this a few weeks ago if you want to check it out 😊

  23. i only mention DNFs if the book has made me angry in the pages that i did read. and i'm the same as you, i only rate it if i can give a solid reason on why it deserves that rating. I have a shelf on goodreads for my DNFs, but sometimes i either don't add the book to my goodreads at all, or i delete it completely from all shelves, depending on how far into the book i got.

  24. I have participated in a lot of goodreads challenges in the last few years, which motivates me to finish books that I might have put down. I have found that if I can push through that feeling of wanting to stop reading a book, I can finish a book, often very glad that I did.

  25. I definitely talk about DNFs only if I feel strongly about them. If I just "wasn't feeling it", then I don't talk about it. More and more I find myself not finishing books that I don't enjoy. I used to force myself to do it… but now I have this mindset of "life's too short". However, I still sort of experience that guilt of not having stuck with it. I don't know. Moving forward, I hope I can DNF everything I dislike. But I definitely do add everything to my GR, I like to keep tabs on everything that I get my hands on. Great video!

  26. Im glad there are people out there who do this too. I feel a strange guilt about not finishing something. Like "The Goldfinch". It's not bad I guess, but I hear all the raves …and it's just not there…it's amateur, ok writing, but the plot is too fantastic. If I had a dnf pile…that would be submission #1.

  27. I don't usually have moods where a few books aren't working for me. It's pretty easy for me to get into a book when I decide to read it, and I only DNF if I don't like it, the writing is bad, or it's boring. The only similar case I can think of is that I haven't picked up All The Single Ladies for a couple months, but I do still want to continue reading it. I was just too excited about all the other books I wanted to read! πŸ™‚

  28. If I've read enough of a book to have an opinion about it I'll put the DNF on GoodReads. Doesn't happen very often though πŸ™‚

  29. I liked this video. I still think you should share the books you have decided to dnf, with us anyway. It would be interesting. Even if your reason is that you weren't feeling it or if you just decided not to read it. You would be providing us value because it's your opinion. Perhaps before you take the pile of dnf books to the bookstore, you could share them with us. I read like you. I dnf books on a regular. I'm a mood reader as well.

  30. I would also much rather talk about books that I enjoy than books I didn't. I don't often DNF books so even if I'm not enjoying it, I'll keep reading if there is some merit to the book. I gave a book a 2 star rating recently but it was a short book so it didn't feel like such a waste of time, and also I was reading it for a specific reason.

  31. I used to have difficulty with dnfing books even the ones I hated but the more I read the easier it is for me to move on to books I actually might enjoy πŸ˜€ What worked for me on goodreads is creating a Dnfs bookshelf and making it one of my mine ones so it doesn't have to be marked as read ;).

  32. I do put dnf books on goodreads, because I have a special shelf for them! I also have a shelf for "will come back to someday" which are books I didn't finish but I expect to (i.e. I had to return to the library, etc) – though I should probably cull that soon. Re: ratings, it depends on the book. At the moment, I am about to dnf The Girl on the Train at ~40 pages in and I'm likely to give that one star, noting my reasons for not finishing it.

  33. I feel badly talking about DNFs because it can be misconstrued as a condemnation when sometimes books just aren't for me, and I have a limited amount of time to read, and would rather it feel good than feel like work. Sometimes I will finish a book just so I can talk about what I didn't enjoy about it.

  34. I think I have put one or two that I haven't finished on Goodreads. But only because I had a visceral reaction to them. Otherwise I have a folder called couldn't get through.

  35. This is EXACTLY how I feel about my DNFs. I was starting to feel a little guilty for dnf-ing so many recently (thanks to booktube hypes, LOL). But watching this reminded me that I read for pleasure and not just to finish a book. I keep track of my DNFs on GR only cause I don't want to run into a book forgetting that I tried to read it before. I also keep my reading update notes saved.

  36. Report your DNF's on Goodreads, the ratings skew too high anyway. Do you want people to waste time? The purpose of a book is to get you to finish reading it. If you can't finish, it has failed it's primary purpose and deserves an automatic one star. Great example of how being "nice" isn't always the best answer and often does a disservice to your community.

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