Top 5 Reasons Why I DNF

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.

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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).

How do you decide whether or not to DNF? What was the last book you put on your DNF list? Have you ever regretted a DNF decision?
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13 thoughts on “Top 5 Reasons Why I DNF

    1. Haha I’ll be waiting for my secret editor’s society invitation now that I’ve posted about it. But seriously, all of the books I read by that publisher were such trash so I finally learned my lesson and stopped requesting them.

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  1. I agree with all your reasons but my mind still trips me up on the well, maybe it will get better? (How long should you wait for that?) Maybe the ending will nail it? I should definitely be harder on this it would save me so much time!

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    1. I’m with you on that. I’m always trying to figure out if a book is trying to get better or not. I’ve been more ruthless lately just because I have a lot less time. I think usually about 25% is when I decide a book’s not going to get better.

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