The past few weeks of my life have been hectic, to say the least. Not bad-hectic, just full and busy. I have been trying very hard to handle transitioning to a full-time job in the healthiest manner possible, including eight hours of sleep per night and plenty of protein-filled snacks during the day, but apparently my sinuses did not get the memo! I finally gave in and went to a clinic last Saturday. Hopefully, I’ll be able to hear fully out of both of my ears again soon!
Amidst the chaos of life, I have just managed to scrape by with posting reviews and other occasional posts here. Part of that is due to the rearranging of my schedule, but there is another factor involved. Recently, I have found myself DNF (Did Not Finish)-ing books left and right. With fewer books finished, there are obviously fewer that I can review! If I had written (or even said to myself) those sentences a few years ago, possibly even a few months ago, it would have irritated me. It used to be extremely rare for me to not finish a book I started. Looking back, I admire my perseverance, but I also have to wonder what books I might have missed out on really enjoying if I had let myself stop reading a book I wasn’t enjoying and pick up another. Of course, I am glad that I pushed through the books I was assigned to read while getting my degree. Although many of them were initially not to my liking, each had a point in the class it was assigned from and ultimately I learned a lot from each. Pleasure/independent reading, on the other hand, is a different story. So, today I’m giving three reasons you should DNF the book you’re reading.
There is definitely a trend that, as you get older, it seems like there is less time. Time no longer stretches like it did when you were little and playing in the backyard or dusting the house. For some reason, you start to understand those country songs about not blinking. Frankly, at this point in my life I am confident in my ability to recognize a good book when I read it, and I don’t have time for ones that are not up to my standards. There are so many other things that I could be doing, and so many other books that I could be reading. To me, it even seems unfair to spend excessive time on a book that is not good. As a reviewer, I am not only wasting my own time, I’m wasting the author’s time. If I know by the end of the first third of a book that I am not going to be able to give it a good review but I don’t let the author know until I have read the entire book, then they spent the time that it took me to read the whole book expecting something nonexistent. Yes, all honest reviews are helpful, but people look to book blogs for recommendations of what to read, not to hear about the books I don’t enjoy. Sometimes a negative review is necessary; this is a gray area which depends on the situation. Ultimately, if there are more productive or more enjoyable ways that you could be using your time, then the book is probably not worth finishing.
2. Personal Attitude
When I read a book that I do not like, it puts me in a bad mood. Reading bad grammar, poor editing, or a lifeless story just irritates me. Finishing a book just for the sake of finishing it is not worth this. If what you are reading upsets you (and not in a social justice way), then it is not worth finishing. Give it enough of a chance to see whether the problems might be limited to a single section, but if not, DNF it.
3. Other Options
There are currently over 500 books on my Goodreads to-read list. What’s more, I work in a library for goodness’ sake! I am literally surrounded by
hundreds thousands of other books that I could be reading, so why settle for one that is a chore? There are plenty of books which can (and rightfully should) take the place of one that you are not engaging with. Personally, when I finally finish a book that I have not been enjoying, it makes me not want to read anything else, which is a total bummer and rather annoying! At that point, not only have I spent my time on something I did not enjoy, I am also not able to quickly move on and start something else which I might enjoy.
There are definitely more reasons for not finishing a book than these. I haven’t dealt with some of the more basic ones, like if it is more graphic than advertised. Today I just wanted to focus on some of the reasons that I have been telling myself make it okay to DNF recently. Prioritizing my own time (as well as the authors), protecting my mind and my mood, and giving other books a chance are all strong reasons for not finishing a book.
There is definitely a piece of my pride that I had to let go of when I realized I had begun DNFing on a regular basis, but it is worth it. It is worth not forcing myself to slog through something I would ultimately call a waste of time or come away from with a sense of disappointment. There is a time to push through something unpleasant, and a time to lay it aside so that something else may come and have a positive effect.
Until the next chapter,