Friday, January 20, 2017

My DNF Policy

my DNF policy

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.

Thanks for reading!
I'd love to hear your thoughts about DNFing in the comments below!


  1. I tend to 'put a book down for now' rather than DNF, but even that very rarely happens! Last year I had to put down David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas about a third of the way through - there were just other things I wanted to be reading, but it's still on my shelf and I still want to finish it. I think I am pretty good at picking up books that I think I'm going to like!

    1. That's wonderful! I think part of the problem for me is that I rely too much on other peoples recommendations. So even if I'm not really interested in a book's description, I will still give it a try if I've heard a friend raving about it.

  2. I also don't review books that I don't finish! I feel as if it isn't fair to give a review if I haven't even read the entire book. This is a great policy though, I especially relate to the 3rd one. I recently looked at the books I've reviewed on NetGalley and saw a book I never finished because I stopped at 32%. I've picked it up again and I'm at 35% now, and I think I'll stick with it this time. Great post!

    1. Thank you! Glad to hear you're giving the book another try! I hope you like it.

  3. 2017: the year both of us realize that DNFing books is not a bad thing! It's so liberating knowing that we don't HAVE to keep going if we don't want to. It almost felt like homework at times.

    1. Ha! Right?! Pushing through is so not worth it!