Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Cocktail & Conversation - The big ol' DNF

Is it hard for you to put down books you aren't into? Do you have any sort of method to decide to put down a book? Do you often pick back up books you put down?



Jamie says:  I'm HORRIBLE when it comes to putting down books. I wrote a post about having a hard time putting down books and have made it my resolution this year to be a little more ruthless in putting them down. I'm just always SO afraid that I would have loved the book if I gave it a little more time. PLUS if I get really far I feel like I've already invested THAT much time so I should finish. But NOT in 2013...I will DNF like a boss if I'm not digging it.





Lori says:  I actually have the opposite problem!  I am really bad about setting aside a book that I really am enjoying because something else caught my eye or played into my mood.  This happens far too often.  I usually have a low finished book count because of this.  If I tracked pages, though, I'd have read a TON.  I want to be better at sticking with my books to the end.  I mean, I paid for the things.  Might as well read them.  There are some books that I have started and realized that I just don't enjoy them because I just cannot relate, so I quickly and easily put those down.  But when it's a classic, I feel guilty.  However, I recently decided that I may never finish Little Women and that is OK with me.  I don't have to like or even finish every classic in the world.

Jana says: I'm a combination of my two girls above! I used to be horrible at DNFing, to the point of extreme misery and loathing of my bookish hobby. Back then, I read fewer books each year because it took me weeks sometimes to finish a book. I have since taught myself to be ok with quitting a book I'm just not feeling. I give a book at least 50 pages, but if I'm not a fan by then I quit it. And you know what? It's liberating. I control all the books! They don't control me. :) 



Bridget says: I'm pretty bad at reading outside of my comfort zone, so I tend to start those books, say "meh," and then go read something by Stephen King, or read a book that I'd had my eye on for a while. For example, I started Hiding In Sunshine a few days ago, which I got from NetGalley, but then I decided Rebecca was calling my name, and then it was Gone Girl, and now I don't know if I'll go back to Hiding in Sunshine since it didn't capture my attention enough to keep me away from other things in the first place. But if there's a book that I REALLY want to try, even though I know it might take me a while (i.e. I just started The Eye of the World, even though it sounds like it'll totally go straight over my head), I feel a lot more guilty putting it down and picking something else up.

What about you all?? Are you able to put down books if you don't like them or must you press on even if it is worse than going to the dentist?


23 comments :

  1. I used to be someone who couldn't put down a book once I started this. Ultimately, this limited my reading. I did more rereading and reading in the same genre because I had to KNOW that I wasn't going to put it down (am I compulsive? You betcha ;)). As I've convinced myself that it's totally okay to read the first 5, 10, 50, 150 pages and put the book down, my reading choices have diversified. So it's been for the better than I've become a DNFer. I still read 2-3 new books a week, and probably reread 1-2 'old books' a week. I'm pushing myself to read more and more in different categories. I'm plowing through a book on epidemiology right now (relevant to my WIP, but also fascinating).

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  2. I'm like Jamie and have a hard time putting down books but LIFE IS TOO SHORT FOR BAD BOOKS! LOL. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. I feel ruthless when I do it, though.

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  3. I tend to be like Jamie and just cannot DNF a book. I can put it down temporarily, but apart from that, I always, always, ALWAYS have to finish a book, clinging to it till the bitter end!

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  4. Oh, I'm really bad about trying to push through books that aren't working for me. Sometimes I'm able to abandon them if I convince myself that it's just taking way too long and biting into other reading time. It's a struggle either way, though.

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  5. I used to HAVE to finish what I started, but ever since I gave myself permission to DNF, I'm a much happier reader. I think it's because I used to think, "By not finishing this book, I'm saying it's bad... and how can I say it's bad if I haven't read the whole thing?" But that's not it, not at all. I know plenty of my DNF's are probably great books. They're just not for me. And that's okay.

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  6. I'm probably most like Jamie where I just CANNOT put a bad/boring book down. I think I just harbour too much guilt and I like to try and give it the benefit of the doubt (especially if I purchased it) to the bitter end. I guess I just hold on to that one little shred of hope that it'll somehow redeem itself, and in a few select cases, it has!

    I also think I'm slightly OCD and that probably does a lot for my non-DNF tendencies. Sigh.

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  7. I am a mixture of Jamie and Brdiget's habits when it comes to this topic. I really don't like not finishing a book because I'm always convinced If I keep reading I will love it. I just have this need to finish every book I start reading...like I feel bad if I don't. On the other hand I am also bad at reading outside of my comfort zone. I usually stick to books I know I will like. I'm trying to get better at that and I have been, but I'm still not great. I hope to one day be able to be a DNFer if needed. My time will come I'm sure.

    Thanks for the great thought provoking post!

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  8. I like to stick through books, but I'd like to think I'm getting slightly better about putting books aside that don't interest me. I just DNF my first book in over a year. I was only 20 pages from the end, actually, and every instinct in me told me to keep going, but it was just so boring. I was viewing reading that book like a chore, and why would I want to turn something I love into a chore? I felt pretty proud about putting that book aside.

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  9. I'm with Jana on this one. I have wasted way too much time reading crummy books and early last year I had had more than enough so I established a rule that I will read up to 100 pages and then make a decision to keep reading or stop. It was hard at first but DNF gets easier with practice.

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  10. This was me yesterday...sort of. I have always struggled with the DNF, there aren't that many books I can just put down. Yesterday I started a book, got about 30% into it, it wasn't a genre I usually read and I wasn't getting into it at all. So I started another book and the whole time kept thinking, I wonder what happens to her. So after finishing the other one, I went back to the dumped book and finished it.

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  11. I used to have a hard time not finishing a book, but recently I've been known to let them languish for a long, long time. As Bridget said, I'm less likely to finish a book that's outside my comfort zone. For a while I was reading almost nothing but old favorites, whether older books or new books by authors I already knew and loved. Then, around the time I started blogging, I also started pushing myself to try new authors, read a little more nonfiction (outside my job, which entails reading nonfiction), and occasionally try things outside my comfort zone. As a result, I've found some new-to-me authors I really like, but I've also developed more tolerance for setting a book aside,either for a while or permanently, if it doesn't grab me.

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  12. Even though I choose all the books I read, it's still quite often where I meet a book that completely disappoints me. I, like Jamie, find it hard to put down a book when I'm already so invested in it. I feel like I have to continue and finish it. It's much easier to put down a book when I've only read the first three chapters. I'm definitely going to follow in Jamie's footsteps and start being a bit more "tough"! :)

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  13. I have put a lot of books on the DNF list (either literally or figuratively, before Goodreads...). I tend to be more ruthless with library books, since I didn't pay for them. With e-books and the ability to download samples -- I am finding that I am much more likely to finish, since I've had the chance to get a feel for the style and the story before I commit to the entire book.

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  14. I have a hard time putting them down. If I hate it in under 50 pages, then maybe I will DNF, but if I've read 100+ pages already, then I'm like Jamie, I feel I put too much time into the book to see it go to waste by giving up. So instead I waste more time by actually finishing it. Silly girl.

    ~ Lindie

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  16. Jamie, that's totally my goal this year too! I did manage to DNF one already, but I've also finished several I didn't like, so...baby steps.

    Part of my problem is that, like Jana, I DNF by fifty pages. However, I keep thinking...maybe it will get better. The ending might pull it up to a three. Invariably, it doesn't. And if I read more than fifty, I'm just like "might as well finish!"

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  17. I'm like Jamie as well. I just can't DNF - even if the book is horrible, there's a part of me that NEEDS to know what happens in the plot. Usually I can hit a point where I start skimming though the rest and catch the high points, such as they are. If I walk away, even from a really bad book, most of the time it will keep bothering me until I either go back, or Google the plot to satisfy my curiosity :)

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  18. I never "put down" a book, although sometimes I'll start one and if it doesn't catch me by page 150, I'll start other books and just read the one I'm not feeling a little bit every day. I hate the feeling of not finishing something, and also I occasionally like a book by the end that I hated in the beginning. Great post!

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  20. I've found a way of DNFing books that don't make me feel guilty. When I've decided not to read any further, I quietly put the book back on the shelf, change the status to 'Want to Read' on Goodreads, and pretend the whole thing never happened. Yep, I just deny all knowledge ;-)

    But unless I detest a book more than going to the dentist, I never rule it out forever - I've had books I put down the first time and eventually went back to and loved!

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  21. I'm way too picky of a reader. I can usually DNF without guilt, because by the time I DNF I'm often very cranky that I've wasted my time when other great books are waiting for me. However, sometimes I can tell that I'm just not in the right mood for a particular book, so I'll DNF it but then plan to go back to it later.

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  22. It was a commendable post to read! Thank you for sharing it with us! :)

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