Sunday, March 8, 2015

Discussion: How long do you try to read it before you DNF?

So I'm trying to do more discussion posts this year because the whole point of my blog I've always felt, isn't just to tell people what I think about things, how I liked or didn't like a book, or which books I happened to acquire that week.  I want the following:

  • To hear what other bloggers think about the books they read
  • To hear about other bloggers' struggles and habits and reading/reviewing techniques, and
  • To make friends with other people who share this interest of mine

I was already planning to start doing discussion posts, but then I ran into a couple blogs that do a discussion post link-up feature, and I thought... great timing!  So I'm linking back to Feed Your Fiction Addiction, and to It Starts At Midnight who host the 2015 Discussion Post challenge.

This Week's Discussion Topic - DNF:

So what's been on my mind lately is DNF, or what we bloggers know means Did Not Finish.  Once upon a time, back when I first started blogging, I read absolutely every single book I acquired, bought, borrowed, received for review, etc...  I struggled through all of them, including books that didn't grab me soon enough, and those I thought I'd like but once I began reading I discovered weren't for me.  Then there were those few that were just bad.

It was really difficult because, let's face it, we're not always going to like every book we get, right? Much less be able to review them all.  If your TBR pile is anything like mine, you have hundreds on your shelf, and after mine had reached its current proportions, I started to get more choosy, not only with whether I finished a book, but whether I even acquired it at all.

Since I've set the goal for myself to review every ARC or eGalley I receive, those always get top priority, and I'll review them whether I like them or not.  I figure a negative review is better than none at all if a publisher/author has entrusted me with a free copy of an author's work.  It's just respectful and professional to me.  But I got a lot more selective on which ones I requested to review myself.  I wanted to make darn sure I would probably like it, or at least have something good to say about it, before I asked for it.

With bought or borrowed, I got a lot more selective as well, but again, let's face it... no matter how choosy you might be, some book covers and summaries will hook you and then later fail to live up to your expectations.  I have way too many books on my pile to waste time on ones I don't like.  So at what point do you struggle through a book and finally decide to DNF?  There are a couple signs for me that I may not make it through a book:

  • If I can't make it past 100 pages, I set it aside for the moment and read something else.  Maybe I'm just not in the mood that day for that current story type.  I'll come back another day and try again.  There have been many times that this worked for me.  But if it still doesn't, I generally DNF at that point.
  • If I start to skim more than I'm reading.  I usually read every word of a book I'm enjoying.  It's very rare for me to skim.  If I start skimming, it's a bad sign.  If I'm skimming more of the book than I'm reading, I may end up DNF'ing.
  • If I don't like the characters.  A lot of stuff can be overlooked if a book has good characters that I like and sympathize with.  I've read many a story that didn't have a super-original plot, but it had wonderful, well-craft characters that saved it all for me.  But if I don't like the characters, that's another story.  A great story with unlikeable or unsympathetic characters usually doesn't hold my attention.

Those are just a few of my possible DNF criteria.  Luckily, this doesn't happen to me a lot... which may be due to having become more choosy as I mentioned above.  What are your thoughts on DNF?

Let's discuss....

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