June 22, 2015


by Kiersten Hallie Krum

Everyone has it, that book that they DNFd—Did Not Finish. The story that was so bad, so aggravating, so unbearable, they could make it through to the end.

Much like a movie, or TV show, the number of books I’ve DNFd in all my many years of reading have been few and far between. It’s a stubborn thing, I guess. I have to finish it, even if I don’t like it. I have to know how it ends. Even if it sucks. Even if I want to throw it against the wall for all it’s grievances against the written word, I’ll still finish it.

I read a book this month that I simply could not finish. I set it down and went off and read three or four other books in the same time that it took me to finish this one. I was disappointed–I liked this author long ago–but that happens. And I was determined to finish the damn thing no matter what if only to have one the battle, so to speak

No one sets out to write a DNF-level book. But it happens, sometimes even by the most accomplished writers in a genre.

Have you even had a book you DNFd? What made you throw it against the wall, proverbially or literally? Would you press on reading a book you wanted to DNF? Why?

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  • Post authornypinta

    Lately I’ve had enough trouble finishing books I like that a book I didn’t has zero of shot of being read to the end. But the book that springs to mind is the Bourne Identity. I loved the movie & thought I’d see how the book was, because the book is usually better. More internal insight & more background, etc.
    Well… No. The book version was James Bond 2.0 where the main character who has no idea who he is still manages to get a tuxedo & fancy car within hours of coming ashore & finds the only non European woman on the continent to rescue from a rapist & she just so happens to work for some bank that’s a part of the whole conspiracy of the story. By the middle he was dragging her around while squaring off against some international bad guy even though he still didn’t know who he was. And it was booooooorrring. I left them on some bridge in Paris & never looked back. The movie made so much more sense.

    Reply to nypinta
    • Post authorMadeline Iva

      Life’s too short is my policy. Good for you!

      Reply to Madeline Iva
    • Post authorKiersten Hallie Krum

      Oh man, the book is SO different from the movie. They deliberately changed the movie to be more modern because the original was written in the 80s and boy, does it show. There’s a TV miniseries that closely follows the original story and stars Richard Chamberlin and Jaclyn Smith. I watched it again back when the first Matt Damon movie was being released and the abuse of the Smith character is truly awful. I like the Carlos storyline though and I wish the Treadstone storyline had come through in the new movies a bit more than it did but yeah, ultimately, a DNF book to be sure

      Reply to Kiersten Hallie Krum
  • Post authorCara Bristol

    I DNF quite a few books. There are SO many books I want to read, and books that don’t grab me take longer to read. I probably DNF 1 book for every 2 that I finish. I’m an author I want to support my fellow authors. The time I spend reading a book I don’t like is time that I’m not spending reading something enjoyable or that will support a colleague. Reading should be fun. If you’re doing something for fun, and it’s not, why do it?

    Reply to Cara Bristol
  • Post authorCoco

    In the past, I’d never DNF a book; I’d just push through to the end no matter what. I’ve changed my viewpoint. Why should I continue reading something that isn’t working for me? There’s just too much on my TBR list for that. For me, it’s not always about a book being bad, maybe I’m just not in the mood for that subject matter at the time. Those books are put in a DNF purgatory of sorts, I’ll *probably* go back to them one day. I’ve DNF’d 4 books this year (thus far) that were just so bad, I couldn’t subject myself to them any longer.

    Reply to Coco
  • Post authorBetty Johnson

    I would finish it sometimes it gets better and others just a relief to finish. I don’t like to give up on authors they spend so much time writing.

    Reply to Betty Johnson
  • Post authorTiffany N. York

    I just can’t get through Fifty Shades of Grey. I made it to page 80, but couldn’t go on because the writing is atrocious. Who enjoys reading a story while they’re cringing the whole time?

    Reply to Tiffany N. York
  • Post authorElizabeth Shore

    I DNF books very rarely because I have this insane hope that it’s going to get better and I want to see that happen. Sometimes it actually does. Sadly, though, the reality is that a book that doesn’t draw you in within the first, say, 50 pages generally just isn’t going to do it for you. So I’ll definitely DNF them from time to time. There are so many other ones yelling at me from the TBR pile.

    Reply to Elizabeth Shore
  • Post authorSassy

    When I first got in to reading heavily, I never DNF’d, it felt like it was against the rules.
    But I’ve changed my policy. If the book isn’t making me happy, I’ll DNF. For me it’s things like I don’t enjoy where the story line is going, or I’m 2/3 through and the plot has not progressed, or just something so implausible that I can’t handle the OTT ness of the story. Although the biggest reason for me to DNF the story is if I’m not feeling the relationship/sexual tension between h/h.

    Reply to Sassy
  • Post authorReelGoddess (@ReelGoddess)

    I was about 2/3 of the way thru Stephen King’s IT, when I saw the made for TV movie. The ending of the film was so abysmal, I had zero interest in finishing the book. I never went back to it and have no desire to pick it up again. I also DNF’d Cloud Atlas. I just couldn’t get into the book at all. I liked the film…but the book bored me to pieces sadly.

    Reply to ReelGoddess (@ReelGoddess)
  • Post authorSandy Raven

    I agree with Lady Madeline. Life is too short to read books that are a struggle to finish. Reading should be pleasurable. 🙂

    Reply to Sandy Raven

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