For years I laboriously trudged my way through books that did not interest me in the slightest all because I thought I had to finish a book once I’d started it.
This is a lie.
It’s okay to DNF (did not finish) a book. Here’s why.
Why It’s Okay to DNF a Book
Reason 1: Books are personal.
You will not connect with every book, because books are about personal journeys. The characters inside the stories are living through things you may have lived through, you may anticipate living through, or connect with in some way.
This will not be true for every book you read, and that’s okay.
The point is to find books you do connect with.
Reason 2: There are too many books to slog through one with which you don’t connect.
There are so many books out there. I’m seeing several sources, including Bowker, that report a 40% increase in self-published titles in 2018 with over 1.6 million published.
That’s a lot of books. Why would you spend time on a book with which you didn’t connect?
Reason 3: Books are about personal growth.
Books are about personal growth in some format. Perhaps you’re reading nonfiction, and it’s literal personal growth. You might pick up a funny romance for escape. In that case, you’re taking a step back from stress and taking care of yourself. Maybe you learn something you didn’t know in a new mystery thriller you read.
Why waste your time on a book that is not adding to your personal growth?
Remember: your personal growth will be different than others’ growth. Books are not one size fits all.
Why I Will DNF a Book
I do not take the DNF of a book lightly. It’s actually something that pains me greatly.
I’m using The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah as an example.
Fellow readers, I’ve tried for YEARS to read this book. Twice in print, twice on audio. I CANNOT GET INTO THIS BOOK.
Here’s the plot twist: I plan to try every one of Ms. Hannah’s books regardless of my lack of connection to The Nightingale. Why? Because books are not one size fits all.
I think the reason I’m not connecting with this WWII historical fiction novel is for that very reason. I am so tired of WWII novels.
Let’s Board the Truth Train
Let’s get on the truth train here, readers: I have not read a book in MONTHS.
As you can tell from this blog, I read a lot. Due to the current state of the world, I find the thought of picking up a book makes me want to puke. That’s the God’s honest truth. You will see a lot of posts like this on the blog for now until I find myself able to read again.
So if at this time I cannot read at all, why wouldn’t it make sense that I can’t read another WWII historical fiction novel because I’ve just read so many of them?
Reading is a Fickle Thing
Reading is emotional. Writers actually work to tug at all of your emotions all at once, because that’s when readers enjoy the story the most. Somewhere in that rainbow of emotions you’ll begin to connect with the story, and that’s where the writer has you.
I’m a writer. I write historical romance. I just started working on the third book I’ll write this year, and I find all of my anxious energy is best depleted in crafting stories right now rather than reading them.
However, the point here is this: I’ve written nearly fifteen novels, and my mother still says she wishes I had written children’s books.
Not every book is going to be to your liking, and as an author, I’m totally okay with that. I don’t expect everyone to say, hey, I really love historical romance about dashing dukes and headstrong ladies. I’m glad we all have different reading tastes because that just fuels the creation of more wonderful stories.
Final Thoughts on To DNF a Book
Give yourself permission to DNF a book. Books are personal. Find the one that speaks to your story.