Now that I have a baby, I feel like my reading time is much more valuable. It’s hard to come by and I want to make sure that I’m always reading things that are enjoyable. This means I have much less patience for books that I don’t like and I’ve had to make tough decisions regarding which books I put on my DNF list.
1) The book doesn’t make me care
I need to care about the characters and what they’re doing. If I can put a book down and not feel the urge to get back to it for a week or two, then something’s wrong. I have so little spare time and so many hobbies/relaxing things to fill it with (reading, TV, cross-stitching, podcasts, Fortnite, etc.) so if a book isn’t pulling me back in, I’m more likely to use my free time doing something else.
2) Poor writing/editing
I wouldn’t classify myself as a writing snob–I can still enjoy some mediocre stuff–but I’ve come across some books where the writing is just. so. bad. Honestly, I’m not trained as an editor AT ALL, but I feel like I could do a better job than the actual editor did! I have no patience for bad writing, poor descriptions, and changing details. Don’t tell me the love interest’s eyes are blue, then change it to green after a couple chapters, and then end the book with them being brown. (True story, this actually happened in a book I read. It was an ARC, but still…)
3) Annoying main characters
I can deal with unlikable characters to a point. That being said, sometimes we’ll get a main character who is SPECTACULARLY whiny and we’re supposed to sympathize with them. Meanwhile, they experience absolutely no character development throughout the whole book. I don’t have time to be aggravated by my main character.
4) Unoriginal story line
I’ve noticed that once a book in a specific genre gets big (let’s say…The Hunger Games) then there are TONS of other books in that same genre (let’s say…Dystopians with strong female leads/possible love triangles) that come out of the woodwork. I like them for a while, but after I’ve read a few it feels like so much of the same. I’ve found this especially to be a problem when I’m trying to read backlist titles sometimes.
5) The plot is ???
On the complete opposite end of having an unoriginal story line is having a plot that is either non-existent or completely incomprehensible to me. There are some books that maybe I’m just not intellectually ready for, I guess? I don’t really think that’s true, but how else can I explain why an author would write such an abstract plot? I’m not opposed to trying when it comes to books, but if I have to try too hard, then I’d rather read something else.
There are my top 5 reasons why I choose to put a book on my DNF list. I totally recognize that some books just aren’t for me, so usually I judge a book based on the above criteria.
Here’s a link to my Goodreads DNF shelf for anyone curious (not all-inclusive, but indicative all the same, I think).