The idea of not finishing books causes different reactions in different people. There are those that are adamantly against it and finish every single book they pick up no matter what. Period. There is the type of reader that does accidental DNFing. Those are the folks that put down a book fully intending to pick it back up later and just don’t. Then, there are people like me. I toss books in the good ole’ DNF pile with surprising regularity and don’t feel a bit bad about it. But what causes me to DNF a book?
Too many POVs. This is one of my biggest pet peeves. I have a very difficult time retaining interest in a book that has too many POVs. Two I can handle, three if the story is really good, any more than that and I just (usually) get annoyed. I feel like if there are too many POVs you lose the depth of the story. You aren’t able to get to know the characters as well and that makes it feel a bit lost and shallow to me. There are, of course, the occasional exceptions to the rule but those are few and far between.
Hurting an innocent animal. You know, I don’t really mind books with murder and mayhem. It is fiction and entertaining for me in certain moods. What I absolutely cannot tolerate is hurting animals. I will put a book down and never pick it up again if an innocent animal is killed. For instance, I was recently reading a very popular adult fantasy book (I’ll let you see if you can guess what it was) that I was very excited about. I got to around page 30 and they brutally murdered a character’s pet cat. Without hesitation I put down that book and returned it to the library the next day. I don’t care how popular a book is, don’t you hurt that kitty.
Jumping between time frames. I think I am probably in the minority with this peeve but I have a real issue with books that jump continuously between different time frames. I don’t mean like in Invictus when they actively are traveling between these times. Let me give you an example. I was recently reading a book that promised a good Jekyll and Hyde vibe and I was thrilled to be starting it. What did I encounter? Every few paragraphs the past tense, 3rd party telling of the story was interrupted by present tense characters having a conversation in a more play like format. While the past tense story was gripping, every time I reached one of those present conversations it completely broke the flow and took me out of the story. I couldn’t stay engaged. Again, there is always an exception but I will most often put down a book that jumps between tenses and time frames.
I’m just bored. If I start a book and I am simply not entertained, I will put it down, no questions asked. When I do get this feeling I will read 25% of the book before deciding if I am going to put it down or not. I think this gives it a fair shot. With many fantasy/scifi books there is a good bit of world building that goes into it which can get a little heavy at the beginning so I always try to get past that part before I start eyeing that DNF pile. With an ARC I do try to get to at least the 50% mark if I’m considering not finishing it because I think that is fair. The book was given to me for free in exchange for my honest opinions so I like to try to give those the best shot I can. But, if I do end up tossing it, I don’t second guess it or feel guilty. Life is too short to read books that don’t give you entertainment or joy.
Here is a short list of books that I have tossed in the DNF pile recently and why
Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle #1) by Jay Kristoff – Her cat. Not the shadow one, the real one. You know what I mean if you’ve read it.
A God in the Shed by J-F Dubeau – It bored me, simple as that.
Midnight Riot (Peter Grant #1) by Ben Aaronovitch – The main character’s behavior was completely unbelievable.
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller – I was expecting the great fighting hero Achilles. That isn’t what I got.
Dangerous Dreams: A Story of the Lost Colony of Roanoke by Mike Rhynard – The amount of completely useless drivel in this story was overwhelming.
Are the any other reasons you would DNF a book? What books have you not finished recently?