2020 is already turning out to be a different kind of reading year for me. We haven’t reached the end of January and my DNF (stands for: did not finish) tally is at SIX and I’m not mad about it. I don’t know who this new me is, but I like her.
Honestly, I think a more accurate title of this post would read: why I’m being even more generous with DNFs this year. Because I’ve never been one to shy away from putting a book down if I’m not enjoying it. No matter if I’m 25%, 50% or 75% through a book.
Here’s a rough breakdown of my DNFs for the month of January:
- The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling – 75%
- Voyeur by Fiona Cole – 40%
- Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan –
- Royal Playboy by Nana Malone – 5%
- Cruel Prince by A. Jade – 5%
- Whatever it Takes by Krista and Becca Ritchie – 25%
…there’s really no method to this madness. I just listen to my intuition.
I will say that putting down six books in one month, unfinished, might be a new record even for me. When I realised I had put down that amount of books, I surprised even myself. And was kind of impressed at my own ruthlessness.
Throughout the years I’ve been on various bookish platforms, I’ve always been interested in other readers thoughts towards DNFing. My interest in it definitely stemmed from learning about the stern beliefs that some people hold about it – like the need to finish everything they start, otherwise they feel like a quitter.
I can’t say I’ve ever resonated with that. In a literal sense, yes I am quitting a book and so therefore I’m a quitter in a sense. But I don’t resonate with the negative connotation that word has. Because I personally achieve so much more when I put down books I’m not enjoying.
I’m a very much a mood reader. I create my tbr every month based on my mood. I then pick things up on a whim and ignore some things on my tbr because of my mood. But mostly importantly, my enjoyment of books is based on my mood. I like it when I get a stomach ache from a good slow burn romance, or when I can’t sleep at night the same after a good thriller.
But when a book fails to make me feel anything other than tired, it’s agonizing to want to pick that book up. Consequently it takes me longer to read that book than I would normally read a book I was enjoying. I think I had the realisation this month that when I don’t put down books I’m not enjoying, I actually end up reading less books that month than I could. Because despite putting down 6 books this month, I’ve read 16 other books so far (a combination of graphic novels, audiobooks and standard reading.)
I probably also lack the need to finish every book I read, because in most cases I don’t own that book. (The beauty of libraries and kindle unlimited, am I right?) Which definitely makes me sympathetic to readers who feel the need to finish a book they start. Especially when they own that book, as it would be somewhat of an economic loss if that book was never finished.
But I’m also a hypocrite, because I have shelves upon shelves (goodreads shelves, that is) of books rated 1 and 2 stars. I guess every book isn’t unfinishable to me. I’m partial to hate reading something every now and again as weird as that sounds, but I think it’s the truth. Their can be some enjoyment in books that are 1 or 2 stars that keep even me hanging on until the last page.