Why I Sometimes DNF (Do Not Finish) Books

What does DNF mean?

It is a popular term in the book community, sometimes also called DNFing, it simply means ‘did not finish.’ People do not finish books for a few reasons. But in my experience, I find that I DNF a book when the writing style isn’t for me…or I’m not in the right head space to read heavier content/topics.

When I am curious about a book, whether it be due to the premise or interesting title, I sometimes look at reviews. Reviews are able to help me see what other readers think of the writing style, characters, and plot. When people are excited about a book and give positive reviews, it makes me want to read the book myself and experience the same type of excitement.

Sometimes I read a book and end up disliking it. I have to remind myself sometimes that books are subjective.

I think the subjectivity of books, in addition to the differences in what people may or may not prefer, makes the community more interesting. Yet, I do admit to feel a bit pressured to finish a book at times for the sake of completion. I dislike leaving books unfinished. But at the same time, when a book does have content which may be a bit shocking or unexpected, it can be very difficult for me to read. I mostly read YA Literature, which can cover some topics such as bereavement and mental health,  finding one’s identity, and making difficult decisions in the face of uncertainty.

During one of my recent reads, the death of an animal was described in a bit too much gory details– one violent scene occurred after another.  Between the previously mentioned scene with the animal, a car accident and the death of a parent, the book was a bit too much for me to read and digest at that time.

Sometimes it can be important to think about why certain content gives us a  reaction. We can think about its purpose in a work. Is it to help the characters grow? Or perhaps its purpose is to advance the plot? Or, is it to encourage conversation of real-life topics? It is important to acknowledge that books include hard topics. Yet,  at the same time, it is important to take a break from the heavier content and remember that reading is not only for us to gain knowledge and learn lessons: in most cases, reading is ultimately a hobby.

I recently did not finish the book I mentioned above. I was looking forward to reading it, as it seemed like a cheerful read, but it wasn’t what I was looking for at this time. When I do not finish I book, I remind myself:

  • I may DNF a book, but I  could always pick it up again and re-read it when I am ready.
  • People have different tastes in books–I may dislike a book, and that is okay! On the same token, people’s preferences in books/genres may change overtime.
  • And last but not least, reading should be enjoyable!

I might re-read the book someday, but for now, I’m going to take a break with some relaxing reads. I am currently reading the Eternal Editions of the Sailor Moon manga. What are you reading?

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