5 reasons to DNF* a book

*DNF=Did Not Finish

My DNF shelf is pretty small.  I can usually get myself to finish a book just to leave a bad/funny review on Goodreads (hey, it got me through 50 Shades of Grey).  Last week, however, I decided to stop reading The Woman in the Window, and that made me think about the reasons to DNF a book.

1. This particular trope has been overdone.

I very nearly did a blog post about the trend that I found tiresome in The Woman in the Window, but wrote one about thrillers that feature remote locations instead.  The trope?  The gaslighting of drunk women.  This trope first came around in The Girl on the Train, and I also saw it in Ruth Ware’s In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10, Krysten Ritter’s Bonfire, Elizabeth Haynes’s Never Alone, and Cass Green’s In a Cottage in a Wood.  By the time The Woman in the Window came around, this trope was exhausted.  I had even thought of a name for it: Drunk Amateur Sleuth Syndrome.

If you’re tired of love triangles, kick-ass heroines, prologues that reveal the end of the story, instalove, the chosen one, or any other common tropes, DNF that book!

2. Halfway in and nothing has actually happened yet.

I don’t want to wait until the middle of the book for the thrilling murder to take place.  Hit me with the good stuff early on!  And by good stuff I mean murder.

Seriously, by halfway done, the story should have pulled you in.  Some readers will only give a book 50 pages for that to happen, others will give even less – the first sentence should hook you!

3. You keep reading the same page over and over.

It could be the author’s writing style, or it could be your current mood.  Either way, it’s safe to say that if you can’t read more than a couple of pages without anything pulling you in, it’s time to DNF that sucker.

This happened to me with Catch-22.  I just couldn’t finish the first couple of pages without forgetting what had happened and having to start over.  Luckily, this was an optional school assignment and I DNF’d without remorse.  Maybe someday I’ll be in the mood to read it again… probably not.

4. Other stuff holds more interest than reading.

I love to read, so when I find myself cleaning my house, playing Candy Crush, or in this case, listening to the radio instead of an audiobook, it means this book is not holding my attention (because technically, I can listen to an audiobook while I clean or play Candy Crush).  One disadvantage of audiobooks here is that you can’t skim the boring parts.


5. The book is due back to the library because there’s a long hold list.

At this point, I just returned the book and DNF’d.  I’m not going to pay fines on a book I don’t like, and I’m certainly not going to wait several weeks on the hold list to pick it back up, not after I had waited several MONTHS to get the book in the first place.

Being a librarian, and getting most of my books from the library, that last one is often a deal breaker, especially if I have more than one other reason to stop reading.

How often do you leave a book unfinished?  Tell me about it in the comments!


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