Before we dive in, I need to say that even though I call this my DNF “policy,” I really don’t take it seriously at all. It’s really more of a personal guideline that I am hoping will help me stop pushing myself to read books that I don't like.
Up until June of 2016, I had never DNFed a book. Like seriously, I was that kid in school that would read more than just the assigned chapters of a textbook just because I wanted to read the whole thing... How insane?!
I have always pushed myself to keep reading without really having a reason for it. After creating a shelf on Goodreads titled, "Books I Should Have DNFed," and seeing how many books I had added that I was mad at myself for pushing through, I decided something really needed to change.
One of my reading goals for 2017 is to stop being so stubborn about DNFing. To help with that, I created this policy.
My DNF Policy
1) Try to make it 25% through before calling it.
This “policy” is a very loose one because with some books, I have DNFed after only reading the first few pages. If I feel very strongly that a particular book is not for me, I will not push myself to the 25%. However, if I am debating whether or not to DNF, I will make the call at this mark so I can say that I gave the book a fair chance. However, if I am still not sure after reaching this 25% mark, I will move on to #2.
2) Check reviews when I’m debating DNFing.
There have been numerous books that I was really not enjoying. I decided to go onto a site like Goodreads and saw a bunch of people recommending that readers stick to it, that the book will pick up. And sure enough, when I stuck to it, I ended up really enjoying the book!
However, there have also been times when I went to Goodreads and saw rants from people that pushed through, only to end up hating the book. So in those cases, I will put the book down.
3) Remember that I can always come back to it later.
Sometimes I'm just not in the right mood or mindset for a particular book that I am reading. I need to remember that this can happen! And rather than pushing through, I need to DNF. Perhaps I will add the book to a shelf on Goodreads to keep track of the books I think I would like to come back to at a later time.
A great example here is when I tried to read You by Caroline Kepnes. This was the first book that I ever DNFed. I only made it to page 83 before I had to bail. At the time, there were just so many sad and negative news stories going around that just could not handle the negativity of the book. But I may want to pick this book up at a later date to see if I feel differently about it. We'll see!
4) Do not push through a book just because I like the cover/already took a photo of it.
I am a bit obsessed with taking photos of the books I am reading. Sometimes, I take photos before I even start the books. I recently found myself pushing through to finish The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman, simply because I had already taken a photo that I loved. This book was just not holding my interest at all. So when I finally realized I was being stubborn about DNFing it because of the photo, I added this to my DNF policy.
5) Do not rate books that I didn’t finish.
I used to give books that I didn’t finish DNF a one-star rating. But today, I find myself going back and forth about this...
Part of me thinks that I should rate a book with that one star because after all, I did try it and I determined that it just wasn’t worth my time. But then on the other hand, I feel that I can’t really justify rating a book that I haven’t read cover to cover.
So for now, I will stick to not rating books I DNF. Instead, I will add them to my DNF shelf and add notes to the review to remind myself why I stopped reading that particular book.