Very rarely do I come across a book that’s downright bad. Most of the time they’re average, where the writing’s okay, the characters are fine, and the plot is interesting enough to hold my attention. (And of course, there’s the occasional five-star read which passes all the checkmarks).
However, this clean streak can only last so long. Especially if you’re an active book-buyer such as myself, it’s inevitable that one of your many purchases will turn out to be a total bust. For me, this means a novel being an absolute trainwreck. The writing is unbearable, I don’t feel any connection to its characters, and the storyline is boring. There’s just nothing saving the book, not even a cute cover!
So while other readers persevere through the pain of a bad book, I personally decide to DNF (Do Not Finish) it right away. Here’s a few reasons why I’m not afraid to do so, and hopefully you can do the same if––though I wish this upon no one––you come across an unpleasant read.
I’ll be wasting my own time if I continue
With the exception of buddy reads, the only person who truly experiences the story in your hands is yourself. You’re the one reading line after line, flipping the pages, and grasping onto the action that’s going on. It’s literally your time being devoted to this one book that you don’t even like. So, I don’t care how popular or widely praised it might be in the book community, I will not waste my time if I’m not having fun. Why would you put yourself through that?
I can just donate or return the book
If I bought the book in new condition, from places like Barnes & Noble or Target, I can typically return it within a large period of time. If I go the used book route, I can do the same except with local bookstores or online shops. It’s pretty simple, I just keep the receipt as a bookmark and get my money back if I’m unhappy. If the return policy no longer applies, then I can just donate it to my local library. Granted, I technically won’t get the money back, but it’s just one book and someone else can enjoy it.
I’ll get into a reading slump if I don’t stop
If you know, you know. Reading slumps are the worst because as much as your heart wants to read, your mind is just not having it. Most of the time, these are caused by books that leave a sour taste in the mouth. And I know myself pretty well, if I force myself through some F tier writing then I’m not going to read anything for a long time. I mean weeks, maybe even months, of pure unmotivation.
I’m okay with not being in the majority
As much as I try to find something likable in a book that’s loved by everyone, I’m comfortable with the idea that it’s just not meant to be. Just like we have unique ways of reading, we also have different ideas on what makes a good or bad book. And I’m okay with not being a part of the majority audience. As awkward as it is, I will proudly be that one person who says, “I didn’t like it.” Sorry, book. It’s not you, it’s me.
Because I can
Probably the most important reason on this list. Plain and simple, if I want to DNF a book, then I can and will do just that. No one needs to argue or stop me from doing so. Who will, anyways? Okay, maybe if it’s an assigned reading for a class, then the teacher can. But aside from that situation, you’re the one in charge, just like I am. I get to decide what I read, how I read it, and if I want to finish it or not. Isn’t that great?
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