14 September 2011

Discussion: DNF - not finishing books


Whenever I buy a book I hope that I will love it and enjoy every page of it. And often that's exactly what happens once I started reading it. But sometimes exactly the opposite happens and I don't enjoy a book. And when I don't enjoy a book I often do not finish reading it. Of course not finishing a book is frustrating and doesn't make me happy, but I don't believe in reading a book I don't enjoy.

Sometimes I don't enjoy a book because of something the main characters did, for example I recently read a book in which the heroine thought that cheating was sort of romantic, as soon as I read this I stopped reading the book. But often it's not something the main characters did, often the reason why I do not finish a book is the author's writing style. There has to be a certain connection and chemistry between the writing style and me, if this special connection is missing I usually don't enjoy a book. Of course that doesn't mean that the book is bad, it just means that it isn't for me. I'm a person who likes to be able to explain things and I'm often frustrated when an author's writing style doesn't work for me because more often than not I can't explain and pinpoint what exactly bothered me. 

My sister is someone who finishes nearly every book she started reading, it's like a challenge for her. She even managed to finish a book by Friedrich Nietzsche even though she hated every single page of it. We recently talked about our different approaches to finishing a book and we can both understand the other's reasons but also know that every reader has to decide what works best for her. 

Today I want to know if you DNF - did not finish books? What are your reasons for not finishing a book and how often does it happen to you?

21 comments:

  1. I don't think I've not finished a book recently. That's only because once I start, I want to know how it ends and the journey to get there. I've started books that I haven't liked and then halfway through something amazing happens and suddenly I quite like it just if only it had been that way all the way through. I'd have missed out on a lot of books if I didn't just plough through and hope.
    One book I couldn't get past the first page because the writing had no feeling behind it and the story fell flat.. on the first page no less.

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  2. I've had a couple of books recently where I've not finished them and it's ALWAYS because of the writing style. I've found there's a few books that try to be literary fiction by being very descriptive but not having either a good plot or strong characters, fail on all accounts there.
    I'm also more likely to abandon a book now as a but of a get out of jail free card, if I don't finish a book I don't review it and if it's a really bad book that I've not enjoyed I don't want to review it and tell an author how much their book sucks as I know they'll have put a lot of effort in.
    The only time I veer away from this is if an author has been sneaky and blatantly posted a lot of reviews themselves (or got family/friends to), you know the ones where all the reviewers names are similar, they all give the bok 5 stars and then they gang up on the one person who speaks out. If I've fallen for their 5 star reviews then I want to stop other people from making the same mistake!
    Louise
    www.book-bliss.com

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  3. How very timely because I had my very first DNF in a very long time yesterday. I try to finish every book I start, not because of some challenge but I like to know what happens. However this one I could stand either lead and while that might have changed down the line, I just wasn't willing to give it any more time (30% was plenty)!

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  4. I usually try to persevere, either out of a sense of obligation or investment, but there are some books that I just lose interest in. I never quite relegate them to the DNF pile . . . it's more they become abandoned, sitting on a shelf somewhere, collecting dust, in the hope that one day I'll be desperate enough to return to the page.

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  5. Wow, I'm impressed that you all really read nearly all of the books you start, makes me feel like a slacker. :) Not really, but still I think it's great that you finish the books you start. My sis will be very happy to know that she and her reading style is what the majority of readers seems agree with.

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  6. I used to always finish the book, even if I hated it. But that was when I had all the time in the world to read. Now, when my time is limited, I feel like it's a waste of time to read a book I don't like. And though it's frustrating, like you, I pull some DNFs. I read because I love it and I'm not interested in reading books I don't like.
    I do however skip to the end if I REALLY have to know how it ends ;)

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  7. I usually try to finish the book. Mostly because even if I don't like it I want to know how it ends. I DNF when I'm not interested in the slightest anymore.

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  8. Can't stand it when most of it is written in third person. He did this, he did that, yuck!

    Also if there is too much violence, that scares me off.

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  9. As soon as I don't like a book, I stop reading. This can be because of various reasons.

    Most of the time, it is the writing. I like my books fast and funny. Steamy, but it has to be believable, not just sex. A lot of authors do not handle the sex very well, IMO.

    And then, I am very focused on the hero. I like alpha males, very very male. Physical and in behaviour. Heroes with long hair do not work for me. It makes me put a book down. Totally ruined the Eve Dallas series for me *g*. Additionally to that, all that cheating and not treating the heroine politically correct makes me DNF.

    Uhm, I guess that's it.

    Great question!

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  10. @ Daisy: That's exactly what I do, I also skip to the end before I DNF a book.

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  11. I am definitely not afraid to NOT finish a book. If it's just not doing it for me, I'll stop. There's a process though -- either I just straight up canNOT finish it for some reason, and it's put down without a second thought. If it's a book I'm just having a hard time getting into, I'll start skipping ahead - reading bits and pieces, and finally the end, to see if I'm just in a "blah" spot or if it's really not going anywhere. And then I just don't finish if I don't want to. Life's too short to force myself to read things that aren't happenin' :o)

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  12. Life is too short. If I don't like a book - and I mean REALLY hate it - I'll stop.

    There were only two books in two years which have had that honor. Both of them were best sellers and one an award winner.

    http://www.ManOfLaBook.com

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  13. I used to read them, but then I used to give up as easily as I do now too. Now more so since I have TOO many books and I am not gonna read those that I groan when I read cos I can't make it

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  14. I rarely DNF, but there are plenty of books that I've ended up skimming large sections. Even if I don't like a book, I usually always want to know how it ends. However, if I'm finding the book offensive or if it pushes the wrong buttons, I will stop reading it. I agree that it's usually the writing style that will put me off faster than anything else. I can think of several books offhand that numerous bloggers just raved about, but where the writing style didn't "click" with me.

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  15. I almost always finish every book I start. Sometimes I don't know why I do it when I have such a large reading pile, but like your sister, I see it as some kind of challenge. I wish I could just drop a book if I'm not enjoying it because life's too short to read bad books. That said, even though I'm sometimes disappointed with books it's rare that I get stuck into reading a book that I really detest!

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  16. If I just can't get into a book, or hate the characters, I sometimes give it another chance. But most go on the bottom shelf, to gather dust. There are so many great books out there, wanting to be read, I don't like wasting my time. But I also don't blacken them, as some one else might love them, and the author did make an effort to write it.

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  17. I finish every book I start also. I guess I'm hoping that it will get better by the end. You just don't know what is on that next page.

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  18. I used to finish every book I started, and then I started blogging. And time became more of an issue. So, if I have plenty of time, I'll finish what I start. But, if I'm running out of time and I have lots of other things I'm trying to get to (books and other things in life), I give up and move on. In most cases, I plan to revisit the book when I have more time. But, I do write a short review with what I didn't particularly like about it, and encourage readers to find other reviews.

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  19. I have to admit I have a few DNF's with so many books I have to review I can't spend two weeks or more trying to make myself read something I do not like. I also don't mind telling the author that I can't review their book because I would not be able to give a good opinion on it, someone else might like it but I did not. Some books sound great, their covers look great, but the content on the inside stales, it happens.

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  20. I rarely don't finish a book, but if I can't it's normally because of the characters or the writer did something I didn't like. For example, LITTLE WOMEN. I hated that Amy ended up with Laurie, he could have married a rock and it would have been better than Amy. I threw the book across the room and have never picked it up again. I've only actually reviewed one DNF because I thought my problems with the book were well founded and I was able to support every complaint with an example.

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  21. So, I'm definitely in the minority with more or less regularly not finishing books. I think it's great that most of you finish all the books you start, but for me it wouldn't work.

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