Shop Talk: The Dreaded DNF

Did I mention that my TBR pile has gotten totally out of hand? I mean, ridiculously so. And my reading time has regrettably dwindled. I want to move books along to readers, but also want to have an opinion about them so…

Drive-By Reviews, which will debut Friday and will appear once or twice a week on the Preternatura site. I’ll read the first fifty pages of a book and do a quickie “review” or impressions of what I like and didn’t like in these opening pages. I won’t assign starred reviews–that’s too subjective, really, since what I like you might abhor, and vice-versa, plus I can’t really assign a rating to a book I haven’t finished.

Instead, my “verdicts” will be
A = I really, really wish I could keep reading this book and resent life for interfering with my reading.
B = I’d keep reading; it’s lured me in enough that I’d give it another fifty pages before making a judgment call.
C = I’d keep reading, but with some reservations. Which might be things that don’t bother you at all or that you like in a book. That’s the great thing about books.

Then I’ll give the book to a commenter. What do you think?

Which brings me to the DNF, the dreaded “Did Not Finish.” Man, do authors hate seeing reviewers give a DNF to their work. I have too much respect for the work that goes into writing a novel to run a DNF review. That doesn’t mean I don’t read books that I can’t finish.

When I was younger, I absolutely refused to not finish a book. If I started it, by all that is holy, I was going to finish it even if it killed me. As I got older, I decided life was too short to read books I wasn’t enjoying, so I instituted the “hundred-page” rule. If a book hadn’t sucked me in by page 100, I would walk away. Then I got even older, decided life was REALLY too short to read books I wasn’t enjoying, so my “hundred-page rule” got changed to the current “fifty-page rule.” (I figure by the time I retire I might be down to the “first-paragraph rule,” but I hope not–LOL. By then, maybe I’ll have more time on my hands and I can increase my page count.)

So you won’t see a DNF here. I won’t say I never read DNF reviews, because sometimes morbid curiosity lures me in. And some of them are done very courteously, with explanations about what it was the reader found objectionable. I got a DNF review on Royal Street because the reader felt Hurricane Katrina should not have been written about in a fantasy novel. I wish she’d given it a shot and found how respectfully it was treated, and that I felt I could write about it because I’d lived through it, but that was her prerogative and I respect that. So DNF reviews can be done where they’re not so negative. Others are author-slaughters, of course.

So, what about you? How long do you give a book before you give up and declare it a DNF? Or are you like my younger self, staunchly determined to finish every book you start?

I’ll pick a commenter from today’s Shop Talk for a $10 GC to Amazon, B-and-N or, if international, an equivalently-priced book from the Book Depository.

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About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban and paranormal fantasy and romantic suspense, currently living in Auburn, Alabama. Author of the Sentinels of New Orleans series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate's Alley, and Belle Chasse (Nov 2016). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the upcoming Wilds of the Bayou series (Book 1, Wild Man's Curse) releases April 2016).

85 thoughts on “Shop Talk: The Dreaded DNF

  1. I used to be like your younger self – I hated not finishing a book (although I never did finish Moby Dick – surprise!). Now I have less time, so if a book doesn’t grab my attention within the first, say, 100 pages, I’ll give up on it. Although I will admit that I gave up on 50 Shades of Grey within 4 chapters, mainly because I could not stand the female protagonist. Usually I won’t leave a review if it’s a DNF, though. It would have to be really offensive for me to that, I think.

    • LOL. I never finished Moby Dick, either. I haven’t tried reading 50 Shades because I’d read a few excerpts and thought it would a) have a negative influence on my writing–it’s always a tricky thing when I’m actively working on a manuscript because a writer can unconsciously pick up habits, including bad ones. And b) I found the passages I’d read annoying. Curiosity might propel me to try it eventually…but probably not.

  2. Yup, I totally finished all the books I got when I was younger and until late 2011 actually (at that point I wasn’t reading many books so that helped).

    I still try my best to finish a book but I’m with you giving it about 50 pages at least. Or hopefully 30% if it’s an ebook. I’m also a ‘mood’ reader so sometimes the book just isn’t right at the moment so I’ll drop it and come back eventually.

    • Really good point about the moods. One of my favorite series–Kim Harrison’s Hollows–took me three tries to read the first book, Dead Witch Walking. I apparently wasn’t in the right frame of mind for it, although people kept urging me to read it because my writing reminded them of that series. Third time was the charm. I finally read enough to get to that “mink scene” and I was hooked.

    • Kim Harrison’s Hollows and KMM’s Fever series are ones that I will hopefully come back to someday. The first books didn’t really hook me in but people tell me it gets better. πŸ˜€

  3. Gah…I think my pile might rival yours…and I keep adding to it. What’s up with that?

    I love the Drive-By review idea. Good for you for having the courage to put a book down without finishing it!

    I read DNF reviews, and sometimes I actually buy the book…because the reason for the DNF is a) the subject just isn’t the reviewers cuppa and it sounds like mine, b) the book sounds so bad that I HAVE to read it, or c) I feel bad for the author (clearly, this wouldn’t apply to an EXPENSIVE DNF).

    But as a writer, I try to stay away from reviewing anything publicly that I don’t love.

    • Yes, as a writer, writing negative reviews is a slippery slope I want to avoid.

      And LOL on the “train-wreck books.” There was a book that came in for review when I was living in New Orleans about ten years ago and working at a magazine. I’m sorry to say it was a self-published book back before self-pubbed books had earned their self-respect. But it was so over-the-top-horrible that it cheered me up to read it. It was just funny. So I’d read it when I needed a chuckle. Not very nice. Poor guy.

  4. Ugh, I hate having to abandon a read. Sometimes I find that I’m putting more effort into forcing my way through than is worth it though. In those cases, I do occasionally give up but I don’t review them, which then feels like a massive waste of time. I’ve gotten slightly better about giving up on reads I don’t like but I still very often push through (which is also not good because by then I’m guaranteed NOT to like the book most of the time). It’s a double edged sword. I feel guilty either way.

    With regards to other DNF reviews, I don’t mind reading them but I want to know why the reader didn’t finish.

    I love the idea of the Drive-By reviews!

    • I know about the guilty feeling–what’s up with that? I do the same thing. But when I find myself looking at the page number and wondering how long it’s going to take me to hit fifty pages…I know that’s a book I need to set aside and move away from. πŸ™‚

      I just finished my first Drive-By Review and, fortunately, it was an A. In fact, I read to page 58 to finish a chapter because I couldn’t stand to put it down. It’s one I won’t mind sharing on Friday!

    • How on earth can you stop reading something you really enjoy and never pick it up again? That is totally beyond me. I lose sleep quite regularly because I just have to finish a book right now.

  5. I read all the books I buy. I think I do enough research first, so I avoid buying books I won’t like. In the last three or four years I have had only one DNF. I usually do not read reviews that are DNF, unless it’s something from my “maybe” list.

    • Good point, Roger. The books I buy for myself are usually things I have researched or are in series I’m already invested in. I do get a lot of ARCs and books for review that aren’t necessarily things I know about. Sometimes they turn out to be great finds.

  6. I give a book between 50 and 60 pages. If Ifell that the reason I can’t get into a book is that it just doesn’t fit my mood at the time I’ll put it in a try again pile. I’ve read and enjoyed several of those when I’ve gone back to them and some I still didn’t care for.

    I will sometimes put a short review of a DNF on Goodreads if I feel that the reason I didn’t finish a book was something that might be of concern to others readers such as graphic violence. But I don’t believe in writing a nasty review just because I didn’t like a book.

    • I like the idea of the “try again pile.” Because you’re right, sometimes it’s not a specific thing I don’t like about the book other than I’m just not in the mood for it. Hm. I might have to try that.

  7. Oh, that’s a great idea! What a way to get through your TBR. Looking forward to reading your 50 pg reviews.

    I have a hard time not finishing a book. Usually I read a sample before I buy so if those first few paragraphs don’t hook me, I don’t purchase and therefore don’t have to read the rest. My problem lately has been that books are starting off awesomely, but somewhere between pages 50-100, the books get REALLY awful. It’s so hard to give up on books once I’ve made that time investment. I need to give up on my current book, but I keep hoping it’ll go back to bei g as good as it was in the beginning.

    • I think that’s a really terrific thing these days–being able to download a sample on Amazon–usually the first ten or twenty pages. It at least gives the reader (or should) a hint at the author’s writing style and the direction the book might be taking. Authors work hard to make those important first chapters strong work for that very reason. Of course then sometimes you get a book, as you say, that starts out really strong and kind of fizzles. I’ve read a few of those myself and it’s always really disappointing.

  8. Looking forward to your reviews! My path to DNF is much like yours. For a long time, I had to finish. Now I’m down to first chapter. But I do try again. Sometimes that’s the key. Sometimes not. Last weekend, I was cleaning, and put Water for Elephants (50% read) in the thrift store bag. Yeah, I know, everybody LOVED it. I loved the old guy in the nursing home. Couldn’t get past the circus parts of the story. Also, I’m reading Anna Karenina (discussed by my book club in January) at about five pages at a time. I think I’m almost to page 40. AK is another great book that’s full of humor and domestic intrigue and simply not, for me, compelling.

    • Funny you should mention Water for Elephants, Chris–that’s one someone gave me because it was so wonderful and I just had to read it, she said. It’s still in my TBR pile but I haven’t cracked it open because I just don’t like circus stories. And it’s probably a brilliant book but….I don’t like circus stories! I don’t know why, but there it is. So my reaction to it would probably be much like yours.

  9. I’m in the transition phase from I MUST FINISH to My TBR pile is eating my house alive. I try valiantly, but if I get to the point where all I can think about is the next book…I put it aside. I may put it back in my TBR pile for a later time, because sometimes I’m just not in the right mood for it.

    • LOL. That’s exactly where my TBR pile is at now…eating my house alive! There are like eight shelves, plus six piles on the floor that come almost up to my waist, and now a new towering pile thrown on my day bed because the stacks were collapsing. Something has to give…so I can get more books. It’s a sickness, I think.

  10. I very rarely DNF. And I would not give the book a rating if I don’t finish it. The only book I can recall doing this to in the last year or two is a book by an author I like. I just decided that the new book was too young for me and not in a genre I really wanted to read.

    I mostly read books that I think I will like. I read a lot of series. And I read a lot of books from authors I already know I will like. And usually I look up the book before I start it. I think that is why i finish and enjoy most of the books I read.

    Oh and my TBR pile is huge too. It makes me crazy when I see avid readers who don’t have a clue what their next reads are going to be. There are probably 100 books I would like to be reading now.

    • Same here about not knowing what to read. That’s crazy to me. In fact, I had so many books staring back at me to start my Drive-By Reviews, I finally closed my eyes and pulled one at random from the stack. Turned out to be a really good one and a bit of a surprise, so stay tuned…

    • Lol Jennifer, it is also a luxury problem deciding what to read next. I just got 11 books in the mail today, of which 7 I wanted to read straight away. But I did have to choose one of them.

  11. So far i’ve read all the books i’ve started^^;; but i do try to pick the books depending on my mood and if i’m not feeling well sometimes i prefer to avoid reading or to pick one i really love already so it doesn’t affect how i feeel about teh book.

    thouh at the moment i really need to start reading what i want when i want… if i only read what i have too i’m starting to loose the passion… seeing a book i want to read and having to put back on the shelves because it doesn’ t enter the challenge or because something must be read first that’s discouraging so for a moment at least it will be only pleasure reads

    • That’s happened with me too, Miki. I think when you run a book site there are books you feel obligated to read, and sometimes those have to come before the ones you really WANT to be reading. It’s how I’ve fallen behind with a couple of my favorite series (sorry, Dresden and Mercy and Black Dagger Bros). Really frustrating.

  12. I read at least 25% of a book before I decide to DNF it. That way the book gets a fair chance to wow me.
    And I do write DNF reviews, but I tell clearly I didn’t finish the book and why I didn’t finish it.

    • I think 25% sounds like a good system. That does give it a fair shot. I think DNF reviews are fair when the author says why it’s a DNF. I’ve seen a few reviewers who don’t assign a “star” system with a DNF, which I think is fair also. Usually DNF means there was something specific that the reader didn’t like.

  13. Once I start a book I have to finish it. I have never had a DNF. I am reading a book now I am skimming here and there but although I’m struggling through it I have to know what happens.
    I always think what if it got better and I missed out. So I just trudge through it. (It usually doesn’t get better)
    I wish I could stop reading the duds because I have so many books in my TBR pile. Its insane.

  14. I am VERY much like your younger self. I have to finish what I start. I’m fairly picky about what I start, I think, but it must be finished! The possible exception is giving up on a series between volumes. I always think back to a book I gave up on when I was about 18. I picked it up again a year or two later and LOVED it! I simply wasn’t matured enough to appreciate what it was doing. Now I try very hard to understand and appreciate whatever I choose toread.

    • I think being picky about what you start is key, as someone said earlier about researching a book. I think what finally turned me into a brutal non-finisher was just time restraints. I have an hour a day maximum to read, so even though I’m a fast reader…I’m not that fast!

  15. I try to give each book a couple of chapters or the first 100 ish pages. There isn’t really a definite limit to what I give books, I have read some that within the first few pages I KNEW it wasn’t for me. I do try to keep reading after I have decided I don’t like the book, just to see if it gets better.

    • You’re right, there are some books that I know in the first page or two that I’m not going to finish. Usually if I react negatively that early, it’s because it’s been poorly edited. A grammatical error in the first paragraph will make me hyper-aware of any errors to follow. It’s hard to turn off my inner editor!

  16. I don’t find books I can’t finish very often but if , as in one case with a book that was getting rave reviews everywhere I was so uninterested in the characters I got sidetracked doing a shopping list in my head it was useless to try and carry on.
    I try to get to about half way with a book to see if it gets better, but it does tend to put me off reading for a while when I get an uninteresting book , that I thought would be good.
    Irene

    • I’ve found that the more hype a book gets, the more suspicious I get. I found the Twilight books annoying but did read all of them. I haven’t read Hunger Games, although I do hear those books are really good. I haven’t read 50 Shades.

  17. I agree, Suzanne. My reading time is too precious and short to make myself stick with something I don’t enjoy. I no longer feel guilty if I don’t finish a book! I am a big fantasy fan, and I remember two books/series that were DNF for me: The Gormenghast series and The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. I know, I know, the Covenant series is sacrosanct, but I couldn’t stand Thomas, so I didn’t want to read about him!

    • I have a pretty short tolerance for epic fantasy, I have to admit, so I haven’t tried either of those (although I know the Thomas Covenant books are popular). I do want to break my fantasy aversion to read George RR Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire, though…someday. I know you loved that!

  18. I still try to finish every book I have read. Luckily they are usually books I enjoy. Some books I can’t really get through but I’ll try to finish it. There are some books that either I’m just not feeling, or perhaps that I am enjoying but at the moment can’t focus on it, I will start and leave and get back to later. Sometimes I never do get back to the book and I guess that is a DNF for me. I just move on. If it’s a library book I feel less guilty about returning it and for bought books I save them or give them away and figure there are simply so many books out there! I don’t track the DNF books on any site though.

    • I guess that’s the key–doing your homework ahead of time minimizes the likelihood of picking up a book you won’t like. In books I buy for my own reading pleasure, I usually do this and rarely don’t finish one…it’s getting started that’s the problem!

  19. I feel ya… DNF make “me” feel guilty sometimes and I don’t even review! But… as you’ve said, my TBR pile is waaay too big and life too short to read a book that I don’t like. Sometimes, I know it’s mood, so it might go back into the TBR pile to be tried again later. If something hit my hot buttons, I”ll give up about 50- 100 pages in. No more forcing myself to finish, only to be disgusted at myself for wasting the time πŸ™‚

    • That’s it, exactly. I don’t like finishing a book only to say, “Well, I’ll never get those hours back.” I just won’t do it anymore unless I’ve already committed myself to reviewing it for another website and I know they’re counting on it.

  20. I too, was very much like your younger self. I have plenty of time to read (unfortunately), but if I come across a book that doesn’t grab me by the first 50 – 100 pages, then no, I won’t finish it. I can honestly say that I have only come across a few books like that.

    I haven’t read 50 Shades. Just not my cup of tea. I love my paranormal reads to much. I will read contemporary, but they are usually suspense/Intrigue or something along those lines.

    Deb
    mammy4423 AT yahoo DOT com

    • I tend to stick with speculative fiction too (paranormal or UF or sci-fi/dystopian). I occasionally will foray into a literary fiction work if there’s something about it that has enticed me. And I read a good bit of nonfiction for research purposes.

  21. I usually give it about 100 pages before I put it in the DNF pile unless it is just totally not my
    cup of tea. Even then I’ll go back and read reviews to see if I’m just totally missing it or if there were others that felt the way I did.

    • Which brings up an interesting point. I have done that. I’ll get to the point where I know I am not going to slog through the rest of the book, and I will skip ahead and read the last chapter. Don’t do it very often, but occasionally.

  22. It usually takes me a while to give up on a book. I have in my “currently reading” list that has been there for over a month. I want to go back to it and finish it, it’s just not a priority at this point. Funny that I only have about a hundred pages left and really should just finish it!

    My TBR pile is SO out of hand! Unfortunately that doesn’t stop me from adding to it. Ugh. I think I like looking for books and adding them to my TBR list almost as much as reading. I have over 200 books on my Kindle right now that need to be read… and that doesn’t include the ones I currently need to read and review.

    I like your Drive-By Reviews idea πŸ™‚

    Toni @ My Book Addiction

    • LOL. I know–my Kindle is sort of my “invisible” TBR pile that I don’t even count because of the towering mounds of physical books that I am convinced will one day collapse the second floor of my house. Sometimes I also think I like “having” books as much as “reading” books!

  23. Just like you I respect the author’s work too much to give up easily and early. I usually try to persevere but I don’t have a specific DNF limit. I stopped reading a book at around 67-70% because until then I was hoping the writing/characters would get better, but at 70% I didn’t think it would happen. Then another time I stopped at 30% because the author’s writing frustrated me too much and I knew I would be unable to enjoy the story.

    • That really makes more sense than setting a page limit. I always go into a book hoping it’s going to kick in and grab me by the throat and not let me stop. And a lot of times for me it also is the writing style. Something that might not bother others but drives me crazy.

  24. I have too many books I want to read, to keep on reading one that is boring or irritating me for some reason. I don’t write DNF reviews though, with one exception so far.
    I know it is sometimes my mood when I don’t like a book, so in that case I will try again in a few months (or years). I am very happy I gave Dark Prince by Christine Feehan a second try. Still have to do that with a stand alone story I though too scary/gothic by her.

    But I don’t have a particular page count, or something. At some point I just think, no, I am not going to finish it. And I have to admit, most often it are books totally hyped and loved by everyone that fall totally flat for me.

    • Funny you mention Dark Prince by CF. When that was re-released as an “anniversary edition” a year or so ago I finally read it. And really struggled because of the head-hopping. Shifting point of view without a chapter or at least line break is like my #1 pet peeve. I made myself keep reading it, and ended up liking the story a lot. But I haven’t read any others in that long-running series because of the head-hopping thing. Which I’ll admit has also kept me away from all but the first of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series. Just a personal quirk.

    • I can’t even remember the head hopping, and I did read the original version. Concerning books, I am totally a hoarder, can almost never part with one of them, even a DNF.

    • See, that’s what I mean. The head-hopping is just a pet peeve of mine, and for a lot of readers (maybe most readers), it’s a non-issue. I used to be a hoarder–I’ve lived in five states, hauling box upon box upon box of books with me on every move. But seems like I’m drowning in books the last couple of years. (Partly it’s because, like most authors, I have boxes of my own books sitting around and tripping me at every turn!)

  25. I’m always trying to read my whole book, and it’s really rare when I have a dnf book. I can count them on my hand but it happens. I had one not a long time ago but I’m trying to read the big part but if at the end I realize that I don’t care I give up. It always makes me sad but well it happens. Though I won’t review it, I think I need the whole story to do it…

    • Yes I agree, in order to really review a book, you need to have read the whole thing. Which is why my “drive-by reviews” probably should be called “drive-by observations” instead…except that doesn’t sound as catchy!

  26. Like your younger self, I used to be fiercely determined to finish a book whether I was enjoying it or not. Shortly after graduating high school I came across a book I was CONVINCED I’d love: it dealt with Edgar Allan Poe and sounded like it’d be right up my alley. Unfortunately it was a disaster (for me, at least. That book as well as the author’s other works have all received some pretty high praise), and in my refusal to move on, I continued reading in the hopes that it would get better. It didn’t and eventually I walked away a year later and only 100 pages in.

    These days I’m not nearly as willing to spend time with a book I’m just not feeling. As a blogger I have way too many books I need to get through and now I feel okay dropping a book if it’s not working out. I’ll still give it a decent amount of time, but if it’s clear things aren’t picking up, that’s it.

    • That’s how I am now as well, Leah–as a blogger I have a lot of books I need to take a look at and yet I know my schedule’s not going to allow it. Thus the drive-by idea. LOL. I can’t imagine struggling with a book on and off for a year!

  27. I was the same as you at first. I finished everything I read, but I have too many books now on my tbr list to do that. If I can’t get into a book in the first few chapters, I just delete it off my kindle. I don’t leave a review, because I HATE DNF reviews. It pisses me off. How can you leave a review of something you didn’t finish. I even noticed a did not read review. The reviewer admitted she didn’t read the book at all. She had issues with her kindle and couldn’t download the book, she gave it 1 star. Seriously? I reported that and commented that she was full of sh!t.

    • Oh, a Did Not Read review? That’s horrible! I know there are some reviewers on Amazon who downloaded a serial and then gave it one-star reviews…because it was a serial and they liked it so much they were angry at having to wait for the next episode. Poor authors….

  28. I usually try to read the book all the way through, but if it comes to a point where I don’t feel right reading it, then I DNF. Some of the content in books nowadays borders on disturbing, and I’m not afraid to DNF if I have to.

  29. I used to force myself to finish every book I started until I saw a musical that I loved and found out it was based on a book. I read the thick book and when I closed the back cover, I said, “That is hours of my life that I can’t get back.” I don’t care for stories without happy endings. Now, if I find myself putting a book down to vacuum, it’s probably not gonna make it. I typically don’t review books I don’t like. Mama told me, “if you don’t have something nice to say, keep your mouth shut.” I look forward to your drive-by reviews, like my TBR pile needs to get any bigger.

    • Funny, but sometimes when I see a movie before I read the book it’s taken from, I will often not like the book as well. I guess because I’ve gotten the story in my head the way the movie handled it. Conversely, I VERY rarely like film adaptations of books I really like. Peter Jackson’s LOTR trilogy was an exception, and for the most part I thought the Harry Potter books were turned successfully into movies.

  30. Some subjects are auto DNF, so I try to pick carefully based mostly on reviews from people whose reading tastes seem similar to mine. I’ll usually stick with it if plotting is plodding, unless the characters are unsympathetic. I will DNF pretty quickly if the writing is awkward and error-filled. If the writer didn’t want to spend more time with the story, then neither do I.

    • I don’t really have any taboo subjects…well, I have for the most part avoided the zombie craze except for one of my current reads, APOCALYPSE COW, which I’ll be reviewing closer to its release date in May. Good point about reviewers. There are some whose opinions can sway me toward a book I’m on the fence about.

  31. I still like to finish all the books I start. I did notice in the last few years that I’m a lot more selective about the books I read, so maybe that helps.

    There are less than a handful of books that I haven’t finished.

    • It probably does help to be more selective. I’m also pretty obsessive about reading series in order, so when I get review copies for books in series I haven’t read, I don’t quite know what to do with them.

  32. Drive by reviews sounds like a great idea. I rarely flat out stop reading a book. Instead, if I don’t like it, I end up just skimming. I’m driven by terminal curiosity, so even if I don’t like the book, I still want to see what happens in the story. My only exception to that is if I really don’t like the author’s writing style or am offended by something in the plot, but I try to choose my books very carefully, so that rarely happens. I do think that I should be quicker to move on if the book is only marginally enjoyable, but so far, I still try to finish everything.

  33. Love the Drive By Reviews idea. I pretty much finish any book I read, but I will admit to putting a book away for a second attempt it it doesn’t engage me quickly. I stick with the genres I enjoy. My husband loves to read about physics. I would never put one of his books in my TBR pile. I look at my TBR pile(both physical and digital) as my psychotherapy. Choose a book based on your mood. Feeling down, grab a favorite author. Looking for fun and adventure, read a new author. It like having your secret stash of chocolate for comfort.

  34. I am pretty determined to finish a book good or bad. I’ve started it so I might as well get it over with. But that is now when I have time for reading. I’m quite sure as and how work starts piling up on me I will DNF more books and only read the good ones.

  35. I honestly try my best to finish a book even if I don’t like it. I tried that with Imaginary Girls- it wasn’t my taste, and the whole surreal-fantasy thing weirded me out- but I finished it. Through I tried reading Embrace and stopped around 1/5 through the book. I just couldn’t take any more of it! But Drive-By Reviews sounds like a really great idea! Both your readers and you and benefit from it, I think. πŸ˜‰

  36. I don’t have a specific page # rule where I decide to abandon a book. If I find that I’m really forcing myself to plow thru it with no enjoyment. I think it’s a age thing too. There are so many great books out there & only that much time to read.

  37. I tend to follow the 100 page rule myself and I usually try to choose books that I know I will enjoy. I’ve come across a few books that were quite enjoyable for the first 100 pages, then they went downhill afterwards.
    I love the idea of drive by reviews.

  38. My guidelines for DNF vary by book. If it starts out terrible, with poor grammar and typos and CLEARLY a lack of editing, I generally don’t even finish the first paragraph (this generally only applies to free kindle or indie author books). I have gotten halfway through a book before stopping, because it was really well-reviewed and critically acclaimed and the subject matter is fascinating, but the execution was just too dry and boring. I had it for a month from the library and still only got halfway through? Yeah, I’m not interested enough to finish it. Others should technically be considered a DNF, but I skim to the end because I want to see if it ever gets better (and it usually doesn’t). I don’t have a hard and fast rule, unfortunately. I just read until I’m too frustrated to continue, and then move on to one of the many books in my to-read pile. My philosophy is, I don’t have enough time to waste on a book I don’t enjoy. If I review it, I DO clearly state that I am only basing my review on the parts that I’ve read.

    • I DO think that sometimes DNF reviews are helpful, if the reviewer clearly states what it was about the book that made them put it down without finishing. If it’s a squicky subject matter, I want to know, especially if I might have the same reaction as the reviewer who put it down! Or if it’s terribly executed (grammar, editing, etc), I want to know too, so I’m not wasting my time <-- this is mostly in relation to free kindle books. I think ANY review that clearly states what they liked and didn't like, even with a DNF, is helpful to the people reading the review - it allows them to decide whether they'll agree with the review, or if they'll think differently.

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