Sunday, 13 May 2012

Blogger's Corner: The Dreaded DNF


This segment is a bit of a spinoff of my Writer's Corner segment and it's something I've been pondering for quite some time. The Did Not Finish pile is a topic that's very near though not necessarily dear to my heart.
       We all have those books that we can't finish reading for one reason or another. They don't even have to be books that we find incredibly difficult to read. It may just be because the story doesn't grip us or it wasn't what we were expecting at all.
        Whatever the reason, these books tend to be cast aside into the gaping hole that is DNF and the likelihood of us picking them up again is marginal. Once upon a time, I would force myself to read every book all the way through regardless of how many times I fell asleep reading it. Since I started blogging, I have so many books on my TBR that I am now relentless when it comes to culling the DNF.
       Having said that, as a book reviewer I feel like I'm only reading 2 out of every 5 books that I pick up. This doesn't seem productive somehow. So I'm wondering if I should add a DNF component to my reviews. On the one hand, it will explain the lack of review material on my blog. READ: I am not as much of a slacker as I appear. On the other hand, I don't want to relegate a book into obscurity simply because I personally didn't feel inclined to finish it.
      I know everyone makes up their own minds essentially about what to read, but I feel like putting a book on a DNF list (especially an indie book) might have a detrimental affect on it (not that I think my reviews matter much to people!).
      Am I over thinking the issue? How do you guys feel about DNF?

24 comments:

  1. Lan, I'm sure you'll make up your mind on this soon enough, but here's what I do. I don't always leave a book unfinished because I didn't like it. Sometimes it's because I was reading six books at once and lost track. Sometimes I slowed down because it was the last of a series I adored and I didn't want to rush it because there would be no more. I recently did finish a book I didn't care for, but won't be reviewing it.I'm sure there are plenty more people to review it. If you feel guilty about lack of reviews, why not review something from your collection or borrow from the library?

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    1. I did that with Mockingjay and am doing it with Muse by Rebecca Lim. But I'm guaranteed to review those when I'm done. I'm talking more about books I didn't like at all and couldn't finish but still got them for review. Not sure what to do in that instance.

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  2. Instead of tossing a book aside and not finishing, I start to skim through it. Mostly because I'm super curious and it would drive me nuts not to know how it ends even if I'm not enjoying it. I've seen other people review DNF books, and they'll state that clearly at the beginning or end. So I don't see why not! It's actually a more powerful warning for the book if you couldn't finish it. ;)

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    1. I have to admit I do skim read quite a bit these days. It's really hard not to when you're not enjoying a book. I'm a bit worried about my ability to be objective about a book I haven't been able to finish. Although that's really my own fault!

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  3. I've done DNF reviews before, but make it clear why I decided not to finish it. Right now, I have a few in my DNF pile that I plan to go back to later as they were interesting books, but just not holding my attention for some reason. I only review books as a DNF after I make the decision to never go back.

    I actually like DNF reviews, as I get an honest opinion of why someone didn't like a book instead of the usual glowing rainbows and unicorns reviews. *L*

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    1. I do feel that there are way too many glowing reviews out there. I always read the bad reviews of a book before I decide to buy it. But that's just the kind of cynical person that I am. I might try one DNF review and see how I go.

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  4. Since starting my blog, I've only had to DNF one book. There have been several that I came close to giving up on, but I pushed through. The one DNF was a novella, so I didn't review it. I think if I do run across one that I have to mark as DNF I'll do a mini-review with WHY I couldn't continue reading it. I say do what you want to do with a DNF, Lan! I hate doing that to a book but if it's THAT bad or makes me really uncomfortable, I will.

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    1. Wow Molli. Only one book? I DNF all the time. I hardly finish a book I start reading anymore. I feel guilty about accepting a review and then not being able to finish it but you're right, I need to just do what I can.

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  5. Oh my gosh, Lan, YOU TOO? I used to never, ever, EVER not finish a book if I started it, but ever since I began to blog my heart out, my list of DNF books has grown so much! :( It drives me crazy because I always feel like it could get better and I should give it a better shot, but sometimes I just have too much to read that I can't force myself to finish a hard-to-get-through one.

    But even though I don't finish a lot of books now, I can never make myself comfortable with creating a Goodreads DNF shelf for the same reason I can't make a shelf for my 1-star reads either: I don't want people to make a list of books to avoid just because I didn't like them! If they're looking at a book and happen to stumble upon my low rating/review -- okay, that's what it's there for! :) But I don't want to group them together like that, you know? I don't mind when other people do, but it's just something that I personally don't do.

    But to that other thing: Your reviews DEFINITELY matter, Lan! :) Positive or negative, I always go through a ton of reviews from my friends before I make the decision to buy a book. And since you're a blogger I trust, your GR reviews are usually ones that I look at!

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  6. Heh, when I first saw "DNF" I figured you were going to talk about unfinished manuscripts . . . I know I've certainly got a pile of those!

    I used to finish all books, no matter what. Not anymore -- life is too short to slog through a book I don't like. I think it's okay to talk about DNFs on your blog. If anything, we can all learn about what doesn't work in a book. It's valuable advice, I think. :)

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  7. Ah, I never feel comfortable to make a DNF list, because I know that it would be so long! There are books I don't enjoy so I put it aside - but I don't want to discourage people to try reading it! Because of the same reason, I'm always stressed out when I have to write negative review. I don't want people to put off reading it because of me! (Though I doubt my reviews have that much influence :P)

    I skim a lot on books that bore me. Sometimes it helps me to get intrigued enough to resume reading it again LOL. Great discussion post, Lan! :)

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  8. I have a DNF shelf on Goodreads, but I typically don't blog about them. I'll chat over other social media outlets about them, but if I haven't completed it, I don't review it. I do, however, read some of my favorite blogger's reviews of books they DNF, because it helps me get an idea if it's something I would be interested in. Like you, I also very rarely will pick a book back up once I've put it down. I used to HAVE to finish a book once I started, but now there are just too many great books out there I don't want to waste my time on anything I can't even get through.

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  9. I think you know that I really do make a huge effort to finish everything I read. However, I did just put a book aside so we all do it, even psychos like me. ;) I like when people review books they didn't finish. Several at once usually, and just tell us why they didn't finish it. You could do that, or not. It's up to you. I'd enjoy reading those posts, though.

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  10. I never review a book I didn't finish, if anything because I don't want people telling me I have no right to form an opinion on a book that I didn't read all the way through. I think I CAN, but try telling that to Twilight fans who think that just because the first book was so boring, I dropped it halfway through, I not allowed to have an opinion of it. I do have one, one that says that the book sucked so much I couldn't finish it!

    Anyway, review whatever you do finish. It's not like you have to write reviews on this blog, anyway. Or write a special "writer's view" review that explain why the book was too fail for you to finish, coming from someone who is a writer. Like what Camille does. Maybe that will help?

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  11. I'm like you if I start a book I really want to finish it even if it sucks, but now I kind of see where you're coming from I'm to the point where if I can't get into it I'll probably give up on it. I may or may not go back to it at some later point.

    Miss seeing you around girlie.

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  12. DNF and me- I am only on page 50? Dear god, why is this taking so long?... Ugh I don't want to read this... I don't care... alright I give up. So now what? I heard you were great book, what happened between us? I don't want to break up, but I just can't do it. So-and-so said you were good, maybe its not you, maybe its me. That's how we will end at the 100 page mark. When asked I will say- it wasn't you it was me.

    That's my experience with DNF anyway, lol. Glad you are posting again!!

    Beth ^_^
    http://sweetbooksnstuff.blogspot.com/

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  13. I think DNF is cool, as long as you check other reviews and see that others actually liked it and explain exactly why you didnt finish. Was it the slow start? The stupid heroine? Perhaps linking to thee good reviews in your post may help. That way you dont destroy the reputation of a book, but also show it wasnt for you The only people that probably wont read them are your stalkers, like me. Its important though to say that a DNF is just your personal opinion, not the opinion of the majority. Just as I did that book I gave 1 star (which really deserved 0 stars if you ask me but i was being nice....as I said in the review).

    Its funny. It's just like guys. Awww he looks so nice. Hmmm he seems so interesting. I'll ask our mutual friend about him...they said he's nice too! I'll go talk to him. Midway through the first date, you reaize he's so boring you're practically snoring while awake, and dear goodness when will 10:00 roll around. Shesh I've only been here 30 minutes? How on earth am I going to get through this. I got it!!! "Excuse me one moment. Waiter? Where's the restroom?" If only I can hurry I have about 5 minutes before he begons to worry. I can hail a cab outside and he'll never know what hit him. Then, as your sliding into the cab, you realize you left your phone on the table and your best friend will want updates...tonight!. Crap! Then you just leave the phone.

    And that's what you've been doing. Sneaking out of your date and just leaving your phone on the table because you dont want to go back in and tell him he's not ur type. What you should do is go back in and actually tell him look. You're a great guy and everything and everyone seems to love you. You've got everything going for you but, you're just not my type. Sorry.

    Just do it. Every book is not right for every person. that doesnt mean you have to slander their name, but dont fear saying how you feel in a nice manner.

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  14. I don't review DNF books because I'm always afraid that if I had just kept reading, I would've ended up liking it, and I don't want to mislead anyone. Plus, since I didn't finish the book, I usually feel like I don't have enough stuff to fill a review. But I don't mind reading other peoples DNF reviews as long as they give the reasons why they didn't finish and don't just trash the book.

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  15. Yeah, I'm not sure how I feel about this. I'm not reviewing books for publishers, so I don't have this conundrum. I don't feel the pressure to review books, so I don't review DNF book. Also, my DNF books tend to be books I really didn't like, and you already know where I stand about negative reviews. I don't mind when others review DNF books, but as others have stated above, I think it's common courtesy to state in your review that you didn't finish it and why. Also, I do think life is WAY too short to force yourself to finish books you don't want to. Just my two cents. :)

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  16. I don't review DNF books, but to be honest, I'm not sure that's fair to say... I don't remember NOT finishing a book since I started blogging. I used to be hardline 'if I start, I MUST MUST MUST finish', but I've kind of abandoned that stream of thought. It's stressful, and useless. I think you have to do what's right by you, and I mean, if you're fair, and if you make it obvious it's a DNF review, then I can't see the harm :)

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  17. Personally, I like DNF reviews under certain circumstances. I think you need to have gotten through a significant portion of the book--let's say 50% or more. You need to be very clear about how much of the book you read and why you chose to stop. Sometimes what bored or annoyed you might really interest others, so just make sure you're being very honest and specific.

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  18. Great post I feel the same way. I like to read a story that grips me from the very beginning. If it takes too long, I find I lose interest in it. I am also stopping thru to let ya know that I am sharing the blogging love of a blog award to you. Stop by http://1dayiwll.blogspot.com/ to collect. :)

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  19. I can't ever not finish a book. Even if it's pure crap I still push through to the end. But, sometimes it just takes longer. I don't know why I do that, because there are definitely books that will never see the light of day after I finish them. Maybe I should have a DNF pile.

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  20. It must be very difficult for book bloggers to persevere with a book they'd rather toss aside. I couldn't do it, myself. Generally speaking if a book stalls part way through, or the author does something outrageous I can't stand, I'll put it aside and won't go back. Particularly with books on the bestsellers list, because I know they've already put bread on the table and there's no point in me wasting my time on a book that doesn't need my help.

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