Let’s Talk Bookish: What Makes You DNF a Book

It has been an entire month since I last posted a Let’s Talk Bookish, but I am excited for this since I have a lot to say about this topic!

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly discussion post created by Rukky @ Eternity Books and is hosted by Rukky and Dani @ A Literary Lion! This week’s topic is: What makes you DNF a book? (suggested by Rafaela @ The Portuguese Bibliophile)

What does it mean to DNF a book?

DNF stands for did not finish, and in the book world, when someone says that they DNF’d a book, it means that they started reading a book, but didn’t finish it. There are lots of reasons why someone might DNF a book, and I’m going to list some of those reasons, and talk about what exactly makes me DNF a book!

Reasons someone might DNF a book.

1. They don’t like it.

I feel like this is probably the most common reason to DNF a book. Sometimes, you will pick up a book that you just really don’t like, or a book that just bores you.

2. There is problematic content, or the author has done problematic things.

Some books have problematic content, and sometimes authors will do problematic things. If they come across problematic content in a book, that might make them not want to continue reading. In that case, readers might not want to continue a book, and/or support the author. I do think that cancel culture is an issue, however if an author has had chances to apologize for what they did and continues to say and do the same things, then it’s important not to support and book that could hurt people for what is in it, and an author who is saying harmful things.

3. They might be in a reading slump

Sometimes, unfortunately, you might be in a reading slump. I have been in and out of one since September. And often, when you’re in a reading slump it’s hard to stick with a book, if you’re not really really enjoying it.

I have found that rereading a favorite can make you feel better, and that reading a book that isn’t necessarily fun and easy can make you feel worse.

What makes me DNF a book, and what do I think about before DNFing a book?

In general, I actually try to DNF as few books as possible. But occasionally, there are books that I just can’t finish. And, before I every DNF a book, I try to think about if I really want to DNF a book.

Before I decide to put a book down, I usually think about these things: Do I really want to know what happens next in the book? Am I enjoying reading this book? If I’m not having a lot of fun, is there any reason that I should be reading the book?

For example, if I am mildly curious about what happens next, but am only kind of enjoying myself I’ll think about why I’m reading the book. Did I randomly pull it out of a little free library? Did a friend lend it to me? Am I reading it for a blog tour?

If I randomly pulled it out of a little free library, then I’m much less likely to push myself to finish a book I’m not liking it.

If I’m reading it for a blog tour, then I’ve made the commitment to reading it, and I won’t just DNF it if I’m only sort of not liking it.

Do I review books I DNF, and do I mark them as read?

I never review books that I DNF, even if I read most of it. This is because I don’t think that it’s a fair, to the author, and to the people reading the review to asses the book after only reading part of it.

I also won’t ever mark a book I DNF as read, because I don’t count that as fully reading the book. On my Goodreads, I’ve made a separate fourth shelf, apart from read, to-read, and currently reading for books I’ve DNF’d.


I try not to DNF many books, but occasionally I do. I really try to think about why I’m DNFing the book, if I really want to, and whether or not it’s worth it for me to read the rest of the book.

I also won’t review books I’ve DNF’d because I don’t think it would be fair, and I don’t mark books I DNF as read, because I’m not actually reading all of them.

Do you often DNF books? What makes you DNF a book? Chat with me in the comments below!

and I’m reusing this poll because it didn’t work last time 🙂

11 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Bookish: What Makes You DNF a Book

  1. I am not a big DNF’er but when I do, I can be quite petty haha. One time I DNF’d a book because it kept repeating a word, I think it was “parentals” and another time I DNF’d because the author kept using “gotten” and it just really irked me. Luckily I don’t come across too many of these, and I think it can come down to whether I am in a bad mood while reading hahaha. I love this post, so many good points!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If I’m in a bad mood while reading, I’m probably going to dnf the book unless it’s really really good! Thank you so much for your comment, and I’m so glad you loved this post!


  2. I almost never DNF books; it takes a lot for me to do that. When I read The Night Circus, I was so bored and wanted to stop, but it took me a tremendous amount of effort to finish it. But I did. I am a conqueror 🤨🙌 Anyways, this was so interesting, and I really enjoyed reading this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I DNF books if I don’t feel motivated to read it or if there’s too many stuff in the book that irks me to no end. I do try to reread the ones that fall in the former category, though. Great post 👍

    Liked by 1 person

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