UBC Day 13: The Art of the DNF

Recently, I posted on Facebook and requested that people leave questions in the comments so that I could do an ‘Ask me anything’ style blog post. I thought that it would be fun to answer people’s questions and shape an enjoyable blog reading experience. One of the comments asked me about how I felt concerning completing books, and what causes me to DNF or ‘Do not finish’ my reading.

When I was a child, the scarcity of books for me meant that I would finish them no matter what. Whether they be a literary classic that I didn’t enjoy or a boring piece that I was required to finish for class, I felt compelled to read them until the very end. Having Braille felt more like a privilege than a right, so I wanted to be certain to always finish what I started.

Over the years, my tastes and what I am willing to put up with have drastically changed. With the continued availability of eBooks and other accessible mediums, I no longer feel compelled to stick with a story in hopes that I will have different feelings about it. If it doesn’t grab me right away or if I find myself struggling to make it through, I don’t make myself suffer.

What makes me not finish a book? Sometimes, it is just the mood that I am in. Maybe I bought a book because it had tropes that I was interested in reading, but once I started it I didn’t feel invested. Sometimes, I just don’t feel like reading the book right then because the fictional stakes are just too high and it turns out that I need something lighter and easier on my brain.

I read romance primarily, so if the hero is being a horrible individual to the heroine, I will drop that book like a hot potato. I once DNF’d a book because a character called Seattle a city full of pretentious people. I checked the author’s bio to see where she was from and it was not Seattle, so I felt no guilt in refusing to finish. Heck, I quit a book at the eighty percent mark because I didn’t care about the characters and thought that they were all awful. I’ve quit reading a book because there was a blatant amount of sexism and it got me annoyed.

Life is too short to continue to read books that you just are not enjoying. I realized that my guilt was misplaced, so I really am okay with not finishing it. I had so much assigned reading during high school and parts of college that I have no desire to read something that I am not enjoying simply because others find it prudent to keep going.

As I like to say, hook me or lose me! If you’re struggling to finish a book that you just can’t seem to fully enjoy, let it go and move on to something better. Nobody’s got time to slog!

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