Let’s Talk Bookish: DNFing books

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme created by Rukky @ Eternity Books and hosted by Aria @ Book Nook Bits where we discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each others’ posts. Today is a choose your own adventure day, so the topic I’ve picked from previous prompts is: What are your thoughts regarding reading challenges?


DNF is an acronym that stands for did not finish. What makes you DNF a book? How often do you DNF books?

DNF’ing books is something I find very hard to do because I feel like if I’ve started a book, I should do my best to finish it, if only to find out how the story ends (I’m much the same with series, but that’s a different story entirely). In a way, it’s a sense of commitment, which I know is not the best way to read because it results in a lot of reads that were merely ok or worse. It’s also one of the easiest ways to get into a reading slump.

When I do DNF books however, a few reasons I do so are:

  1. The presence of a trope that I severely dislike and that is also poorly executed
  2. If the book is not drawing me in and I find myself taking constant breaks with little motivation to return to the book. The halfway mark is usually my limit for this
  3. Poor writing or dialogue
  4. If a book is holding up my reading – while I can read multiple books at a time, they need to be of different genres, and being stuck on one book of a genre is going to increase my backlog and prevent me from reaching my yearly goals
  5. If I feel a reading slump coming on – I don’t go through many a year, but when I do, they tend to be quite bad, and often last weeks on end, so I do my best to avoid getting into one

I DNF books extremely rarely. Going back through my shelves, there are only 3 books I’ve DNF’d in the past 10 years or so. The main reason for that is that I take a lot of time to build my TBR each year to make sure each book will be something I find interesting enough to atleast finish, even if I don’t necessarily like it, and it mostly works. Also, when a book isn’t really drawing me in and I don’t have the motivation to finish it, I usually set it aside for a few weeks or even months before giving it another try, and I don’t DNF until I’ve tried to finish it atleast 2 or 3 times. I’m generally a mood reader, so this has actually worked multiple times for me when I just wasn’t in the right headspace for a book when I first tried to read it.

What’s the silliest or pettiest reason why you DNF’d a book?

The silliest reason I’ve DNF’d a book is actually when a book was way too hyped up and it really didn’t live up to it. It was that along with the fact that nearly 45% in, I was still trying to figure out what was going on and I felt zero connection to the plot or characters. This is what happened to me with Rosemarked by Livia Blackburne.

Do you review books that you DNF?

No, I never review books I DNF. Though I don’t typically DNF a book until atleast close to the 50% mark, if I haven’t finished a book, it means I don’t have the full picture of the plot and characters and I can’t really write an honest review of it. I might include a brief note with the reasons of why I didn’t finish it but I usually just move it to my DNF shelf on Goodreads and don’t include it in my yearly count, statistics or any blog posts.


Do you DNF books? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


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9 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Bookish: DNFing books

  1. Jaya Avendel October 7, 2022 / 9:37 pm

    I think it is fair to not review DNF books, as it is hard to be critical about a book that one did not like. I too rarely do not finish a book, but I relate to many of the reasons you share for putting a book down unfinished, especially when it comes to tropes or choppy writing.

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  2. Anoushka October 8, 2022 / 3:23 am

    ahhh i relate so so much to everything you said!! i hardly ever dnf books and usually just keep them aside to finish later because i feel kind of guilty creating opinions on books that i havent read till the end even if i might already be sure i’d hate them, does that make sense?? also ranting can be fun sometimes AND I LIKE THAT. love this post!!

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  3. radiosarahc October 8, 2022 / 5:36 am

    I can’t remember the last book I DNF’d
    There’s a few I should have given up on perhaps but I love in hope they’ll get better 😂😅😅

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  4. Fadima Mooneira October 8, 2022 / 9:39 am

    I had a lot of DNF books when I was younger. Some of my reasons are too busy to read, the story is boring, and the story has too many disturbing moments. Now I always try my best to finish all books I read.

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  5. bournemouthgirl October 8, 2022 / 10:18 am

    I currently don’t have any did not finish books. But I definitely have books I need to start. As I am looking forward to trying reading as more of self-care instead of scrolling my phone. Thank you for sharing.
    Lauren x

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  6. fourtickets October 8, 2022 / 4:54 pm

    I very really DNF, but when I do is mainly because the story is just TOO unrealistic or impossible. Also, terrible writing style makes me want to close the book.

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  7. Fransic verso October 8, 2022 / 9:13 pm

    That’s an interesting topic, I don’t think it’s worth reviewing books not finished. I had some of the DNF books too.

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  8. I'm All Booked Up YA October 8, 2022 / 9:57 pm

    We hardly DNF too, but there are a few instances we do. Usually if we find a book to be problematic or painfully boring.

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