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Lucy Turns Pages: Do you DNF? Opinions on the movement of not finishing books

Do you DNF? Opinions on the movement of not finishing books

DNFing appears to be a relatively new term to describe when someone does not finish reading a particular book. It seems to have become more popular in the recent present. I wanted to look at the arguments for and against DNFing, so I asked people on Twitter for their views. Here is what they said:

S. M. Wilson, author of The Extinction Trials series: 'Spent years reading every single book to the end - even if I hated it. I wouldn’t let any book get the better of me. Last year I stopped and became queen of the DNF. It’s liberating!'

I really associate with this. I used to try to finish every book I read, even if I didn't like it, and I felt bad if I didn't finish. I have found that DNFing has allowed me to read faster as I am not getting stuck in a slump from reading books I don't really like. DNFing means that I move to books that I really enjoy and have more fun reading.

Claire McFall, author of the Ferryman series, Bombmaker and Black Cairn Point: 'As an author, if you want to DNF my book, go ahead. Reading should be enjoyable, not a chore! If 1 or 2 ppl DNF me, it just wasn't for them. If it happens repeatedly, then it's my bad. I DNF, life's too short!'

I have to admit, in a way I was kind of surprised at this statement. When I first started thinking of the arguments against DNFing, I thought that it would be seen as a negative for authors as it may mean that partial opinions could sway other readers. However, I of course forgot that writers are readers too! We share the same experiences and I really love what Claire said.

Jen, book blogger and writer: ,If I don't like a book I won't read it. Sometimes I might sort of like it and push through, especially if I've already read so much of it. But if I've just started it, there's too many great books out there to read ones I don't enjoy.'

I totally get Jen's point, I also see DNFing as a way of not wasting time on things you don't really enjoy and spending more time on books you do.

Andrew Hall, book blogger: 'I know some people don't like to DNF. I use to when I started blogging, but life is too short to read books that I don't get along with, don't like or that (for one reason or other) don't click with.' 'For example, last year, I DNF a book (even though I enjoy it) because there was a moment that made me upset and uncomfortable due to how they handle a sensitive subject. It really depends person to person.'

I share Andrew's thoughts, sometimes I will start reading a book, not knowing that a sensitive topic is mentioned. If a book is upsetting to you, you do not need to keep reading. This is why I try to add trigger warnings to all of my reviews. 

I also find that some writing styles I do not click with and I will find this off-putting which keeps my attention zoning out and prevents me from becoming fully immersed in the story.

In conclusion, I found these replies very interesting. Thank you to everyone who gave their opinions! You can check out the Twitter thread here. What do you think of DNFing?


  1. There are some books I just can't get through, so I'll go back and try to read them another time, but if a book makes me uncomfortable- I put it's butt down.

    1. Hi Noel! I used to try to go back to books but they would very likely stay on my shelves for years. Now I am being more careful with my reading. If I'm not getting on with a book I will read some reviews, both positive and negative, and that helps me to decide whether to give the book another chance.