Why You Should Embrace DNF-ing Books


I understand the desire to finish every book you start. I was one of those people for so long. I felt a sense of failure when I put down a book without finishing it, even when I disliked every moment of reading it. Sometimes, too, I would start reading a book that everybody else seemed to love, and I would push myself through it, trying to give it the benefit of the doubt, even when it was absolutely clear that it wasn’t a book for me.

My reading life became so much better and stress-free when I started DNF-ing books. I stopped holding myself to the unrealistic standard of finishing every book I started -because it is unrealistic. There are so many reasons a book might not be right for you, from writing style, to disliking the main character, or just simply not being in the mood for it.

When you add a book to your did-not-finish pile, it doesn’t always mean it’s a bad book. A lot of the time when I DNF a book, it’s for two reasons: first, I’m not meshing with the style or story; second, I’m not in the mood for it right now, although I might come back to it later.

There are millions of books to read. Here’s a hard truth: you will never finish all the books you want to read. It pains me to say such a thing, but we all know it’s true. Due to that fact, though, you should embrace the option to stop reading a book that isn’t bringing you some sort of pleasure.

Signs That You Should DNF Your Book

  • Anytime you sit down to read it, you’re already daydreaming or planning your next book to read.
  • You love to read, but every time you think about reading this particular book, you find you’d rather watch TV or play video games. You’re basically avoiding the story.
  • You can’t focus on the book. You’ve read the same page five times and still forget what you’re reading about.
  • You chose a mystery novel, but you’re really in the mood for fantasy.

There are many reasons you might DNF a book, but don’t feel shame over it! Embrace it! Life is short, so why not make time for the books that actually matter to you?

What is your opinion on DNF-ing books? What was the last book you stopped reading?

8 thoughts on “Why You Should Embrace DNF-ing Books”

  1. I have been doing that lately. Either I am more picky or just rather read something else. I was reading this novel of 182 pages and I couldn’t… it was boring, slow, and didn’t make sense haha

    A sign for me to stop reading a book is because it doesn’t make me want to read until my eyes burn or because I just don’t get the point of the story haha

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I totally agree with this post! I used to just try to speed read through books I wasn’t enjoying (I read pretty fast), but now I just set them down. The last book I DNF’d was American Princess by I Forgot lol

    Great post!

    xoxo, tree

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh gosh I have certainly forced myself through some terrible books in my time to no satisfaction (apart from relief that it’s over!) Now that time is scarce I will definitely be more picky about what I read. This is a great post, thanks for sharing! 😊

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I needed this so much! I’m currently reading ‘The Age of Miracles’ by Karen Thompson Walker, but I think I’m going to DNF it. There’s just not really anything compelling or page-turny about it. I was feeling guilty about it, but this helps a lot – so thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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