Reasons I DNF (did not finish) a Book

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I’m going to be honest. I have DNF’d like 6 books lately. For those who see these acronyms and wonder what in the heck i’m talking about, DNF means did not finish.

Those of us in book land like to turn an acronym into a verb… Which is totally normal right?

I rarely used to DNF, but lately I have been of the opinion that this is MY time i’m investing and it’s a bad investment of my time to read something that I don’t love. As a result, my review ratings have gone up a little and i’m okay with that. It means I’m spending energy on the books I love.

As for those in the DNF pile, I set them there for a handful of reasons.

It’s not a NOW book. It’s a Later book.

I find this a lot with new releases. I hate reading books right when they come out because of over-hype. I also tend to read books I otherwise wouldn’t have due to hype. I save these for when i’m in the mood for them and usually have higher satisfaction. Sometimes it’s not the book, it’s the timing.

It’s boring.

Some books bore me. It’s a fact. Whether the pacing is off, the characters are bland or the plot has been done before, some books just aren’t for you. And that’s OKAY.

It offends me.

This is rare. Not because I don’t find things offensive, but i’m careful to watch others’ reviews and I don’t pick up books that have been marked as highly offensive. When I do find one, I don’t finish it and I don’t give it publicity.

It’s poorly written.

I can overlook this on ARCs, but when a published book is riddled with typos, I may not finish. Obvious errors and poor grammar can take me out of the story, which means I’m not enjoying my reading experience.

I would like to note that I hate DNFing an advanced copy. When I accept an ARC, I feel like I have made a commitment to read that book and I am not a person who shirks their commitments. BUT, I also value my mental health and general happiness over reading a book that I don’t like. If I do DNF an ARC, I usually set it to the side for a week and give it another go. If I DNF again, then we just aren’t meant to be.


What reasons do you DNF a book? Let me know in the comments!


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21 thoughts on “Reasons I DNF (did not finish) a Book

  1. YES to all of this! I used to hate to DNF books, but honestly… there are so many books and I only have so many hours in this life. I have a ‘not now’ shelf for books to go when it is a timing & mood issue, which happens a lot. Like, I can tell I would like the story under the right mood, so it’s better to wait.

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  2. These are all really great and true reasons when it comes to DNF a book. I REALLY need to start to DNF things a bit more frequently–time is valuable, why waste it on something you don’t enjoy, you know?–and I love that you included a “not now” type of thing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started a book, or thought to start a book, but it just wasn’t my time for it yet. (I feel like this applies to a lot of fields in life: literature, music, relationships, etc.)

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  3. My main reason for dnf’ing books is because I’m bored! But I would definitely also stop reading a book because it is poorly written or offensive!


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  4. I have no problem not finishing a book, though I seem to be doing that a lot more lately. Maybe I’m just in a mood! A lot of your reasons are similar to mine, but my biggest is if a book’s boring. If I can’t click with it and nothing is holding my attention, I’ll probably give it another chance at some point, but I’m definitely putting it aside.

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  5. So… I never DNF books. I wish I could and maybe that’s a ‘reading goal’ that I can work towards because like you said, it’s your time you’re investing and why read something that doesn’t interest you or make you happy? But I also feel guilty when I don’t DNF (so it’s a more personal reason). I guess the closest I get to “DNFing” a book is putting it down for a later date coz sometimes it really isn’t the book but the timing! Great post 😍

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    1. Don’t let the guilt get you!! Reading should be fun so as long as you are enjoying it then keep going. I had a lot of guilt DNFing some ARCs… I had to just let go of that guilt because I would rather move on to something more interesting and possibly come back to that book later.


  6. It’s a later book, and it bores me are two of the main reasons why I DNF too. I also DNF when I come across a trope I hate and the story goes in a direction I don’t like.

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  7. Great post! I like the fact that you DNF at all. It´s become such a terrible thing to do in the book blog community when it should be the easiest/guilt-free thing ever. The reasons you mentioned are spot on. Personally, I think it´s enough to not like a book. Not feeling it? That´s it. T´was lovely but it´s time to move on. I´m not sure if any book ever offended me enough to DNF it. It depends on what you feel is offensive, I guess. Poorly written- YES! That there will give me a headache after a while. I´m not a grammar nazi or the typo police but when I spot one too many errors then I´m out.
    Hyped books will never be a NOW or LATER book for me. I tend to lose all interest when a book is hyped. Especially before it´s published.

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  8. I am SUPER bad at DNF’ing – I actually can’t remember the last time I did. I think it’s because I want to review pretty much every book I read, and I don’t feel like I can do that fairly if I haven’t finished it. Plus, I’m just a dirty completionist at heart, and a bit competitive – DNF’ing feels like letting the book “win” somehow? Hahaha. I think I’d be more willing to DNF if I wasn’t blogging about books or just reading for recreation – you’re so right, life’s too short, a reader’s mental health and happiness should come first 😉❤️

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