DNF or Did Not Finish was and it still is until some degree a big no-no for me. I don’t know where the idea that I must finish reading every book came from, but I seem to hang on to it like a stubborn dog to its favorite bone. I have recently given it some thought and I decided not to stress myself anymore about it.
What is the point? First of all, an unfinished book will just clutter my already cluttered bedside table. I leave it out in hopes of MAYBE picking it up at a later point. Then, because of guilt I pick it up, trudge through a couple of pages and close it again… Next day, repeat… In the meantime, days pass, weeks and maybe a whole month and I realize I have barely read anything. It’s like an evil circle and I want no more of it.
Plus, life is short! Hanging onto these books is pointless, especially because it takes away the already scarce reading time. I definitely don’t have all day to do as I please. Work takes up most of my time, so what little I have left I want to spend it more wisely. And if that means DNFing books, so be it! There are so many other great books out there.
It is ok to experiment with different genres and types of books. It is something I try to do and highly recommend it. If I give a type of book a go several times and I still can’t get into it, I take it as a sign that this is not for me. I don’t completely give up on it, it just means that at this point of my life this particular genre or writing style is not for me. Ten years ago I did not like fantasy, at all. I was more into reading romance novels (:cringe:) and historical fiction. Now I am more into the fantasy genre. I still like historical fiction, and contemporary novels but I prefer fantasy. What I want to say is that my tastes evolved over time, and they are still evolving. And that means that I am not giving up on these books. I just admit that this is not the right time for them.
Here are two books I have recently DNFd. The first I will not finish, ever, the second I will pick up at a later point.
One of the recent books I DNFd was Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff. I was listening to in on my phone and right from the start, I could not really immerse myself into it. I did not relate to the characters, more so I disliked them. And this is a popular book. Should I suffer through it because others loved it? Definitely NO!
Another book I DNFd was Out of Africa by Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen). This one was a bit of a disappointment because of my expectations. I saw the movie some years ago and loved it. Meryl Streep and Robert Redford are awesome in it. The book is very different from the movie in many ways. For example, the movie has a linear timeline whereas the book feels like a memoir where time and events overlap. I kept wanting Robert Redford to appear but I was nearing page 100 and he was nowhere to be seen. So naturally, I was disappointed. On top of that, previously I have read an action packed fantasy series (Throne of Glass), so reading a slow, description focused classic was not the best decision.
Don’t get me wrong, I love classics. I love their slow pace, thorough description of places and characters. They are like going back in time and experiencing history as it is made. Out of Africa definitely felt like it. I got transplanted to Karen Blixen’s farm, I got to know it in minuscule details. And it is beautifully written.
Here's a book I DNFed! I had such high expectations for it! Everyone seems to love it on Goodreads and I just couldn't believe how hard to read it was, for me anyway. I was expecting a linear narrative but the book is a collection of short stories with no particular order… But if I am going to be completely honest I expected Robert Redford and he was nowhere to be seen, in the first 100 pages anyway. This is because I was expecting the book to be like the movie, or better. Isn't the book always better than the movie? -rambling over- • Have you seen Out of Africa? #outofafrica #karenblixen
‘Upon the grass of the great plains the crooked bare old thorn-trees were scattered, and the grass was spiced like thyme and bog-myrtles; in some places the scent was so strong that it smarted the nostrils. All the flowers that you found on the plains, or upon the creepers and liana in the native forest, were diminutive like flowers or the downs – only just on the beginning of the long rains a number of big, massive heavy-scented lilies sprang out of the plains. The views were immensely wide. Everything that you saw made for greatness and freedom, and unequalled nobility.’
How can you not love this? Could you smell the grass and flowers? See the wideness of the plains? I could and that makes me want to read it. Now I know what to expect of it. This was just not the right time to read it.
You can check out my DNF shelf on Goodreads.
Do you DNF books? Which is the last one you DNFd and why?