It’s time for Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme originally created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Every week there is a new topic or theme to base your top ten list on. You can find more details about it and see the list of topics here.
This week’s prompt is “Books I Decided to DNF (did not finish) too Quickly”. I couldn’t really think of any books that fell into that category; I don’t think I’ve ever regretted choosing to stop reading a book halfway through. If I ‘break up’ with a book, it’s a considered decision and I don’t beat myself up about it, I just accept that the book wasn’t for me. My free time is more precious than ever nowadays, so why spend it reading something I’m not enjoying?
So, I’ve decided to modify the topic to talk about the reasons why I do not finish certain books.
Top Ten Reasons I DNF
- Lack of editing-This might seem pernickety to some, but I find it really difficult to finish books that are littered with spelling and grammar mistakes or have contingency errors. I understand that typos happen (I make errors all the time!), but sometimes it’s glaringly obvious that the author has decided to forgo a professional editor. If I’m struggling to decode the punctuation, it pulls me out of the action and reading becomes a chore.
- Nothing is happening-The book doesn’t have to have intense action scenes from start to finish, but something pivotal has to happen fairly early on to hook me. I don’t want to read read pages and pages of description and backstory, with nothing of any interest happening to the characters.
- I don’t relate to the characters-I don’t have to like the characters to enjoy a book, but they have to be realistic and well-rounded enough that I can understand their motivations and the stakes involved. If I don’t care about the characters, I lose interest in their story arcs.
- I don’t like the writing style-Verbose writing, archaic language and complicated scientific jargon are things that I struggle with. I usually read to relax and don’t like to work my brain cells too hard! I don’t like reading books with too much telling versus showing or short, clipped sentences either.
- It’s too predictable-I like to be surprised with lots of different twists and turns and I enjoy books that put a unique spin on a popular trope. If I can see everything coming and the book is filled with tired clichés, I will probably be too bored to continue.
- The plot is too romance-heavy-I enjoy a little romance sometimes, but if it dominates the plot I will quickly lose interest, unless the writing is really something special. This is especially the case if it involves insta-love, love triangles or saccharine displays of affection. All of those have me reaching for the sick-bucket.
- Poor representation-I like reading diverse books with realistic representations of different races, genders, sexualities, disabilities, and so on. If a book lacks diversity I might finish it if the plot is strong. But if it perpetuates harmful stereotypes or has a biggoted message then it’s an instant DNF.
- I find the subject triggering-This doesn’t happen very often, but occasionally there is a sensitive topic or disturbing event in a book that makes me feel like I can’t continue. More often than not, it’s when a book involves violence towards children or animals.
- “It’s not you…it’s me”-Sometimes, I just don’t click with a book and I can’t find any enthusiasm to continue. It’s not that there’s anything particularly wrong with it, but perhaps I’m just not the target audience or I’m at the wrong stage in my life to appreciate it. Or maybe there are things going on in my life that cause me to get behind with my reading and I just lose interest.
- I didn’t want to read it in the first place-Nowadays this doesn’t happen as I only read for fun. But I remember having to study novels at school and university that I had no desire at all to read. I would usually read about half and then read a summary of the rest of the plot!
Before you go…
What are the main reasons that you DNF?