I’ve only quit before finishing three books in my adult life.
The first was Gulliver’s Travels. I realized about halfway through that not only was I not enjoying it, I had no idea what was going on. It’s a satire, and I didn’t have a historical context for it, so I was lost. Tossed it aside and didn’t look back.
The second was A Tale of Two Cities. It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of Dickens, but this book sounded so intriguing that I picked it up anyway. Again, I got halfway through and realized I didn’t have a clue what I was going on, or even who the characters were. This was after like, a month, by the way. I put it down intending to finish it later, but never came back to it. Maybe in my retirement or something.
The last was Anna Karenina. After reading 50 pages of Russian agriculture and never even meeting Anna yet, I decided 800 pages was not worth it. I watched the movie instead.
And that’s it. Only three. I almost never give up on a book. I’ll read it to the end even if I’m not really enjoying it very much. Why?
I’m a completionist.
I just like to FINISH things. Thinking about not finishing a book gives me the same icky feeling as thinking about quitting a Pokemon game with only three evolutions to go to complete my Pokedex. *shudders*
And, honestly, I have to consider my goodreads goal. Not completing that is … unthinkable. I’m not going to think about it. Not meeting goals makes me a little physically sick, to be honest. So if I’ve already invested a week or more into a book, I don’t want to dnf it and risk not making my goodreads goal.
I feel like I owe it to the author.
Like, what if I met John Green one day. Like, I was just walking down the street and there he was. I don’t know. Anyway, what if he asked me how I liked a book of his, and I had to answer, “I don’t know, I didn’t finish it.” EEK!
Authors put their heart and souls into a book. They spend years writing and re-writing, biting their nails worried about whether anyone will like it or even read it, agonizing over making it perfect. The least I can do is finish it, you know?
You never know how a book might end.
And this, right here, is the real reason I almost always finish a book. So many times I’ve started out not really enjoying a book, but by the end been enthralled. Most recently this happened with Wolf Hall. The writing style was so, so strange, and for the first 100 pages I felt like I had no idea what was going on. I was contemplating giving the book only 2-stars. But then suddenly I got used to the writing, realized the book was funny, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s hands down one of my favorite historical fictions ever. I loved it! I loved it so much that I went out and bought the sequel, which I hope to start soon.
So often I’ve found that if you’re willing to invest the time in a book, to give it a chance all the way to the end, it’s worth it. I love when a book grows on you like that. And if I dnf-ed them, I’d never get that experience!
Now, I realize this list isn’t for everyone. I titled this post “Why I Almost Never DNF a Book,” not “Why No One Should Ever DNF a Book.” A lot of people (most people, probably) won’t agree. And that’s fine. But with all the posts out there about what causes a blogger to dnf a book, I thought I would just throw my rebuttal out there. Because I know I AM in the minority, I thought y’all might like to hear from a different point of view. You’re welcome.
Geez, that’s going to be one of those times when someone doesn’t recognize the joking tone and thinks I’m full of myself and then immediately decides they don’t like me. Oh well.
So what about you? Do you stick with a book until you just can’t take it anymore, or quit at the first sign of eye-rolling? What kinds of things would cause you to DNF or keep reading?