Bibliophile Commentary

How I decide when a book is a DNF

As a book lover it really pains me to discuss this topic without feeling extremely guilty. I mean I always feel that all books have potential and I am always trying desperately to finish a book when I start it. However, as I grow older and realize my reading time has been cut short through social interactions and adult boring things, I only want to read books that I enjoy. So I’ve made a few rules for myself that dictates when I stop reading. There are too many books in the world I want to read so why waste my time on a book I don’t like. Here are my rules on when to DNF a book and I hope these can help you with your struggles. 

Rule #1: If I’m bored after 100 pages. 

I actually adopted this idea from a person from an old book club and it has definitely helped me in the past. If I can’t get into the story or I don’t feel any connections to the characters after 100 pages, I will stop reading and move on to a different book. Some people give a book until they are finished at the halfway point, but I sometimes read really long books so that is a little too far for me. 

Rule #2: If the main character is whiny.

OH MY GOSH. If the main character whines throughout the entire 100 pages, I just can’t do it. For example, I could not finish Wuthering Heights, they were just constantly pining for each other and whining about not being together. I just could NOT do it. I have no problems reading a book where the 

Rule #3: Too many grammatical errors.

Unfortunately, I am one of those people that constantly corrects other people’s grammar so when a book has grammar errors I can’t get over it. 

Rule #4: If a book has too many characters.

This isn’t always a rule breaker and there is a way for an author to do this and not have their reader get too overwhelmed. However, sometimes there are just too many characters that my brain wants to explode. This happened to me when I read the Game of Thrones series. The first book was great, but by the second book I was just so confused and didn’t have the patience for it. 

Rule #5: There is too much description and not enough dialogue. 

Descriptions are a tricky thing to pull off. If you don’t have enough description, then the reader can’t picture anything, but if you have too much, the reader will be bored. However, if the author goes for more than two pages without any dialogue to break it up, my eyes start to glaze over. I encountered this a lot when I read the classics in college, there are only so many descriptions of mountains that I can take. 

Rule #6: Self-Help Books 

I have tried so hard to get into this genre and I just can’t do it. Maybe I just have a problem with people telling me what to do. Also, there is the fact that most self-help books just seem to all say the same thing, but use different phrases and keywords. It all feels like a cult to me at this point. 

Rule #7: A fantasy where the world is not explained well enough

So with fantasies, usually the author will have a character that is entering the fantasy book world for the first time in order to explain the world to the reader. There is a reason to do this. It’s so that the reader won’t pull their hair out in confusion or frustration. Authors who skip this step should do it at their own risk. 

Books are an amazing and beautiful part of my life, but I don’t have time to read books I don’t like. What are your rules? Comment below your thoughts on this subject! I would love to hear from you. 

Thanks for reading book nerds! 

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