Why it is okay to DNF a book.
In the book world, readers love words and letters (alphabets) and sentences.
But there's one word or an abbreviation to be fair, that can frighten any reader, even if they're a Stephen King fanatic.
*Dunn Dunn Dunnnnnn*
DNF stands for "did not finish". So basically when readers don't finish a book and put it aside to start a new book *GASPS*, they've DNF'd it. (Grammatically, it's a bit dodgy but yeah).
There can be many reasons why a book won't work for you.
You might not be a fan of the genre, you might not be able to resonate with the characters, or the book is simply problematic.
Now, as readers, we're quite aggressive with the way we read, it might change from person to person, but generally speaking, we like to read as much we can and from as many genres as we can. And when we stumble upon a book that's not working for us, we still try to push and torment ourselves because what if it gets better? And when we finally give up on that book and DNF it, we feel terrible and it takes us a while to start another book because now we have trust issues.
Now I'm no expert in "DNFing" books but I'm trying to make myself comfortable doing it and making myself understand that it's okay to DNF a book because, well, I'll let you know in the points below.
So if you've no problem DNFing books, kudos to you. But if you do judge yourself and doubt yourself after every DNF, like I do, I hope this article helps you.
1. Not every book is written with you in mind as its reader.
And it's not your fault. In fact it's no one's fault. It's just written for a different audience.
Some people will enjoy it and some won't and that's okay. That's the beauty of books anyway. The diversity of its audience, ratings and opinions.
2. You can always get back to your DNF'd books whenever/if you want to.
Now if you fear missing out on great books and really wanna read them at least once in your life, you can always get back to them when you feel ready.
Now we're always evolving as readers, whether we realize it or not. We might not like a particular type of book at this moment, but maybe if we give it some time, give ourselves some time, to grow, maybe we'll grow into liking it and it's not like we've signed a pact stating we cannot read a book which we've once DNF'd, right?
3. Some books are just terribly written.
Now, I haven't come across any such book yet but I am aware that there are some books out there which are racist, homophobic or sexist.
If you see these elements problematically portrayed in a book and don't feel comfortable reading it, it's absolutely okay to put it down. And in this case, it's okay to never get back to it.
4. Lastly, brilliant books are waiting to be read.
This one's an obvious one but, every time you try to push yourself to read a book that isn't for you, you're missing out on books that you could've been enjoying.
Yes, we read because we gain value from books and the reasons may vary from reader to reader. But what's common for all the readers is that reading makes us happy. It's our safe place. It brings us joy. And if a book is making us anxious and unhappy, then the whole point of reading is contradicted.
So, I hope I've convinced you that it's okay to DNF a book. And that you don't need to be hard on yourself for doing that.
Now if you don't know when to DNF a book, I would say, give it a 50 or 100 pages (depending on the book's length and your capacity) and if it's still not working for you, just put it aside, tell it you'll see it later (or not) and enjoy your freedom.
After that you can either take the day off or you can get started on the next book on your TBR. (to be read) shelf.
If it was introduced to you by a friend or a book club, just be honest and tell them it didn't work for you at the moment, and that maybe you'll give it a shot some other time.
I hope this article helped you sort some things out and if it did, be sure to read books that you love and DNF the ones that you don't, guilt-free. It's okay. It's not the end of the world. It's a great decision. And it's your decision.
Happy reading! ❤