Home / Books / Let’s Discuss: When Do You Call It Quits/DNF a Book?

Let’s Discuss: When Do You Call It Quits/DNF a Book?

There are many schools of thought on how and why we stop reading books. Some people are like IN IT when they start a book and refuse to quit and some people have a set page number they read till before they call it quits.

So…let’s discuss!

Let’s Discuss: When Do You Call It Quits/DNF a Book?

When this happens…

when do you dnf or quit books

…how do you respond?

It’s my general observation that people fall into two main categories: “In it For the Long Haul” OR “Ready to Move On.”

I think there are several factors that go into deciding to keep reading or peacing out instead. Thoughts like “Ugh I paid $12 for this, I guess I better give it a shot,” or “Life is too short to read this terrbile book.”

I typically fall into the first category – I’m a Long-Hauler. It’s really only for one reason, which is this: “What if it suddenly gets better?” and/or “I have to know how it ends at least.”

So, I’ll either read halfway and skim till the end or just trudge through. There are only two books I’ve DNF’d and written about here: The Dark Kiss and Seeker.

Do you have a page number (or percent for eReaders) that you try to reach if you’re not feeling a book? Or do you feel like you can quit anytime?

I’m 100 percent a mood reader, so sometimes I’ll start a book gung-ho, and if things slow down, my interest is completely sapped. It’s honestly terrible because I want to finish but feel sluggish and bored.

As a book reviewer, I’m sure you can see how this is a PROBLEM. But, I try to communicate that in my reviews – whether I knew it was a personal thing or not.

So, you HAVE to tell me! Do you DNF books? Why, when and how??

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • Ashley W

    I recently started a blog based around this whole idea. I work full time and do a lot of freelance on the side so when I get a chance to read I want to actually enjoy the book. If its bad I skim ahead and decide to either finish or call it quits. I generally try to make it 30-40% of the way on my ereader and sometimes less then that with a regular book. If it’s an ARC I force myself to finish but that’s generally the only time I’ll stick with it.

  • Kori

    Hmmm. This doesn’t happen to me very often, but did recently. Embarrassingly, I wasn’t able to finish The Book Thief. I found the first chapter really hard to get through. Mentally, I find skimming or half reading to be cheating. So after three attempts, I finally just threw in the towel.

  • Anne from Pintesting

    So sad to say that the only book that I couldn’t make myself read was the first in the Lord of the Rings series. *gasp* I KNOW! I never made it through the introduction. It was like running through mud that turned into quicksand. I’ve heard that the intro is way worse than the book itself. Maybe someday I’ll give it a go again. Maybe.

  • Brittany Welsh

    It depends on if it’s something I bought vs if it’s from the library (and if I bought it, it depends on how much I paid for it). I usually start skimming until it looks interesting again and if it doesn’t I skim to the end. If it was free or cheap and it really stinks I give up pretty early to save precious time. I am equally cheap with time and money. There have probably been 2 books I suffered through for many chapters and turned out loving. It’s a rarity that it makes that big of a swing for me, but not impossible.

  • Breana M.

    I do DNF books. Usually I give it the first 100 pages to grab my attention, but if I’m really not enjoying it then I’ll look ahead. And even after that if its nothing of interest to me, then I usually let the book go.

  • I am in the “Life is too short to read a terrible book.” camp. Also, my TBR list is way too long to waste my time with bad books. I usually give a book 50 pages or three chapters, whichever comes first. If I would rather do anything than read my current book, that is usually a good sign I need to DNF it.

  • It does not happen very often that I DNF books. Though I am stuck since quite a while in the middle of OPAL by JL Armentrout. I did like the first to books to that series but now there seems nothing new and all is going round in circles … so I quit. There are soooo many books I want to read that I have to say “no” at some point if I just do not connect to the content. But there is no page number or anything. I just keep going till it feels more like a time waste 😉

    By the way .. Happy Easter Holidays from Germany!

    • Ashley W

      I also struggled with Opal but so far it was worth it since Origin is actually holding my attention pretty well. (I haven’t finished it yet since I’m behind on my reviews and that take priority.) I don’t blame you for giving up though! I was so frustrated the last half of the book.

  • Jane McGarry

    I try very hard to never DNF but once in a while it happens. In general, my time for reading is very scant. Usually, I cannot wait to get back to whatever it is I am reading. But if I realize that I am actually dreading picking the book up again, then I know it is time to call it quits.

  • I DO DNF books, but honestly, it depends on the book. I’ve had some where I DNFed 20-30 pages in. Others where I DNFed three-quarters of the way through. I’ve got no rule on when I do it, but generally I just *know* when it’s time.

  • Beth

    I really, really, really try not to DNF books. I give it my best shot, but if I’m 50% into the book and still hating it, I figure I’ve given it my best shot and I have self-permission to quit. But if I DNF it, I give as complete and detailed an accounting of why….just in case it’s a case of stress in my life tweaking my perspective.

  • I posted a discussion about this recently! I am horrible at DNFing. I usually keep on reading because I’m determined to see how things end or see if they get any better. I’m trying to DNF more, to be honest, so I’m not stuck reading books I don’t like. Usually my main thing is that if I genuinely don’t care AT ALL about how it ends or what happens, I’ll quit. Most of the time, even if the book is bad, I still want to know the ending and see how it gets there.