On Reading: Why I DNF Books

From time to time, every reader finds themselves disliking a book they’re currently reading. It might happen on page ten or page 500 but rest assured, it happens to every reader. The question remains, do you finish the book you dislike? Or do you stop reading it?

I am firmly of the latter group. The way I see it, life’s too short to read bad books! I do try to be reasonable, though. I read the first 50 pages of a book before deciding if I’ll continue reading. If a book can’t hook me in 50 pages, it’s not the book for me and lives on my DNF (that’s Did Not Finish) shelf on Goodreads. I’ve yet to revisit a book once placed on my DNF shelf, but I supposed there’s always a chance that could change under the right circumstances. That being said, I’ve stopped reading books before the 50 page mark and I’ve stopped reading books past the 300 page mark. It just depends on how bad the writing is and how bored I’ve become with the material.

Case in point: last week I tried to read Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks as my short story collection pick for December. Notice how I wrote “tried?” I only read about 20 pages before calling it quits. My disinterest likely stems from reading Roxane Gay’s concise negative review prior to reading this short story collection for myself, but the fact remains: this book was not for me. And because I didn’t read anywhere close to the majority of this book, I cannot write a full review post of it. As such, I will merely say that in the 20 or so pages that I read, I found the writing to be archaic, dull, and uninspired. This is one book that does not live up to its title.

Do you finish every book you start? Or are you a proud member of the DNF club?

Oh, in case you’re wondering, you can peruse my DNF Goodreads shelf here and purchase Uncommon Type here.

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