Wednesday, May 19, 2010

DNF's - Do You Finish Every Book, or Are Some DNF's?

I admit it; I've never read a book I didn't finish. No matter how bad, how horribly written or plotted, I've finished every single book I've ever cracked open. Whether it's the hope that it WILL eventually get better, or that I just have to know how it ends even if I hate it, I feel this intense need to see the story to the end.

Once, just once, there was a book that almost became a DNF for me. It wasn't a romance at all. It was Without Remorse by Tom Clancy. A really awesome story - bogged down in tons of technical jargon that had me going back pages to see if I could remember what weapon did what and who was on the good side. I put that book down many times over a year - but always came back to it. Again, the central plot and characters are fantastic; I just couldn't keep track of all the details. I eventually finished that book - and have kept a copy on my shelf ever since almost like a trophy of the accomplishment.

Why am I bringing this up? Because I just might have my very first DNF. Although it's an audio book and not print, I don't think I would be interested in the story anymore. It's literally the worst audio book I've ever heard. The voices are horrible imitations of Hillbilly cartoons. The Hero's voice is by far the worst and he even says Ga-Ron-Tea (guarantee) in a voice straight from Yosemite Sam at one point.

This audio book is so bad I literally cringed driving down the road when the hero speaks or a new character with some insane fake southern accent is introduced. The author is a very well know one, and I've heard people love the books - but I do not think I could read these in print without having those voices playing in my head.

I won't go into details about the book here since I might still plan on reviewing the audio book. I can't stand thinking there might be a book out there I didn't give enough of a chance. There's a part of me that would feel guilty for not reading on when an author put so much into this. Why do a feel this way, and an even better question is do you ever feel this way?

Do you finish all the books you pick up, or do you have no problem putting down a book you aren't enjoying? Has one certain book let you down, or are you a frequent DNF'er?

I want to know - am I the only one who finishes them all? Should I stick it out on this audio book so at least I can honestly say if the story was good or not?


  1. Oh, I just can't finish all of them. I give it my best but some just don't do it for me. Take Emma by Jane Austen for example. I should love it but for some reason it bores me to pieces - after the second time I choose to watch tv over reading I know i just need to move on...

  2. I have to finish every book that I read. If I don't, it drives me insane. I've had some horrible books that I've wanted to throw across the room several times while reading ... but, I always somehow manage to finish them. Audio books? I haven't had many experiences but I can tell you there was one that I absolutely could NOT finish because of the horrible voices and accents, so I ended up getting the book from the library and finishing it that way. =)

  3. Life is too short. If I'm not hooked by 50-100 pages, down it goes. I probably try harder to finish books i own than those I get from the library. I have some books that are good that I haven't finished b/c they weren't what I was in the mood for at the time. But I plan to finish them.

  4. I used to be like you. I finished every book I ever picked up. I always thought to myself, well it might get better.

    One day, I was reading one of these books, and I happened to glance at my TBR mountain.

    That's when I decided I decided to put DNF books down. I read for pleasure. If I don't enjoy the book, I put it down.

    There are enough books out there that I do enjoy, so why waste my precious reading time on something I'm not enjoying.

  5. I agree with the life is too short. With a big TBR pile, work, kids, hubby . . . if a book can't keep my attention with all that's going on in my life, I set it down and pick up another one.

  6. I am like you I can count on one hand the books I have not finished in my lifetime I try to find something redeeming in them.

  7. I'm a chronic DNF'er. I'd say I DNF nearly half the books I start. I do have the occasional book I lose interest in and later I go "huh, why didn't I finish that one?", but most of my DNF's have a concrete "I will not be finishing this" moment. The reasons are usually... 1. I morally object to something about the story, ie. too stupid to live heroine, reinforcing bad stereotypes about women or races, author doesn't seem down with the idea no means no and forced sex with hero means rape, author throws around serious subjects like disability, illness, molestation, rape like plot candy. or 2. it goes into something I don't find morally objectionable, but do know is a plotline I'm not personally interested in and makes me uncomfortable, like some BDSM or brought together by the accidental pregnancy or 3. I roll my eyes and go "okay, that was SO BAD, I can't deal with this".

    You can probably guess I read a lot of erotic romance from the online presses. ;)

  8. My 4th grade teacher told me to give a book 100 pages or four chapters. That has been my rule ever since. I definitely agree with those said that life's too short for bad books.
    With audio books, I'm even less forgiving... if there's something annoying about it, I'll stop listening. If it's just the narrator, I will try to read the book.

  9. I'd say 99.9% of the time I have to finish a book, even if it means putting it aside and finishing it later. The only book I DNF was called LOVE SLAVE. I decided after three chapters that I loathe sheik/harem stories.

  10. I finsh almost all even if I don't like it. I did not finish one because the sequel was nothing like the first and way far out there, when were talking sea people and land people. lol and I just stopped one 3 pages in, I think it's in First person and I just hate how it reads and I was really looking forward to that book too.

  11. I've got about three books in the DNF pile. Like you, I feel this intense need to finish each book I crack open. Sometimes, however, it's simply impossible to do.

    I go by a 50-100 page rule, but usually, even if the book annoys me or I'm extremely tempted to give up, I'll persevere and finish the book. I've come to the realization, however, that life is indeed too short. I shouldn't force myself to read a book I'm clearly not interested in.

  12. I used to finish every book, but then I realized I don't have time in my life to read books I'm not enjoying. I have two degrees in English, so I served my time as far as required reading goes. :-)

    A lot of times, there are mainstream books that have gotten a lot of press about being books "everyone SHOULD read" I will pick up. Every now and then, like The DaVinci Code, I'll say, "You gotta be kidding," and wonder what the fuss was all about. I have no compunction about sending those to my local library unfinished.

    If I'm bored by the story, I'll give it 100 pages before I DNF it to see if it gets better; or if I object on moral grounds to a plot development or character trait (like forced seduction/rape or violence/revenge against women disguised as seduction), I will DNF it.

    I usually don't have to agree with the author's politics to enjoy his/her work. I just read a very good spy novel whose politics I disagreed with very much, but the writer was so good, I bought another book. But if the author continues to offend or use stereotypes about particular groups (for example, many authors have a real lack of understanding about some religious groups and portray them all as either evil, narrowminded, or cardboard cutouts), I may pass because of the author's lazy writing--if they don't have time to do proper research and flesh their characters out, I don't have time to read their book.


  13. I'd say I finish 95% of the books I start. Probably even higher since I started to blog.



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