Confession: I sometimes DNF good books


I was looking at my “currently reading” list on Goodreads when I added yet another book to it (it was Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – I’ve just seen the first part of the series and I’m *hooked*, seriously, I haven’t been this excited about a series since I’ve started watching Elementary, I think!) and I saw that I’ve had one book on there for three months. And then I turned to my bookshelf (it’s right behind my back so I swiveled around in my fancy Ikea chair on wheels) and started counting all the books I’ve started but not finished in the recent years.

This photo above shows only a part of these – and I’m not even counting the random e-books I’ve downloaded (freebies, discounted books) and library books, of course. I mean good books – not the ones that make you want to pry your eyes out and make you angry at yourself for trying to read them in the first place. These are just the ones that stood out because they have bookmarks poking out of them and are easily spotted. I’m not even going to start listing all the series I’ve started but not finished… because I’d probably get a headache.

So here are some of the titles:

Yeah… This might not seem like a lot of books to some of you bookish people, but it is to me. I like finishing what I’ve started. But WHY? WHY don’t I finish these great, lovely, exciting books?

I think it’s usually the case of something more exciting – fresher, easier to read – coming along and distracting me. I’d get a new YA fantasy, a delicious historical romance, a sequel to a series I’m dying to read, review copies, translation material… And I stop reading these.

But then it’s so hard to get back into something I’ve started but not finished! In particular, it’s excruciating for me to get back into these epic fantasy series like A Song of Ice and Fire and The Wheel of Time – I feel like I have to read back for a hundred pages before I remember where all the characters are at the moment, who’s doing what, who’s dead and who’s alive, who betrayed whom and what their motives are. It’s just exhausting and I sometimes wonder if it’s worth the trouble. But then I do get back on track, read 300 pages in a single sitting and curse myself for not doing it earlier.

So I’m definitely planning on continuing with Martin’s series (I can’t have HBO spoiling the story for me in Season 5 if I’ve come this far with the books), Jordan’s as well, Hobb is always a favourite, so I’ll be reading her, too, and I’ve got plans for Murakami. The others, though… I just don’t know. Is it worth pursuing a book that never captured my interest enough to make me finish it in the first place?

I don’t have a definite answer to this. I might try some of the others as well, but I think my resolution will last only up until the moment when I get new books in the mail and my eyes go all shiny at the sight of FRESH, NEW BOOKS and I’ll be putting down whatever I’m reading at the moment and forgetting all about it for a couple of days/weeks/months.

* * *

So. Do you always finish your good books? Or do you read whatever holds your interest?

I’d love to hear from you! 



  • I don’t DNF books often. Generally it’s because the book just didn’t do it for me. But sometimes something else will come up and pull my attention away. The Golem and the Jinni, something had come up and it’s now been so long that I doubt I’ll bother picking it back up. Figure I only read around 20 – 30 books a year. No time to go backwards to something that didn’t work for me the first time with all the new stuff coming out.

    But on your list… I finished The Magicians. For some reason I just didn’t care for that the way a lot of other people seem to. I’m all for my protagonist not being a nice guy (sign me up for all of Mark Lawrence’s books), but Quentin was just annoying.

    • Kaja

      Hi, thanks for the comment :)
      I thinkt The Magicians is one of those I won’t be returning to, yeah. I got stuck somewhere in the middle (I think they were living in the human world again or something?) and I found I didn’t like the characters that much anymore. And if I don’t care about what happens to the characters, there really isn’t any point in my reading the book, is there? :)
      I’ve got Lawrence on my TBR – though my husband read The Prince of Thorns and didn’t particularly like it! I’ll get to it someday!

  • I have plenty of these – I don’t consider them DNF but “on hold” or “paused” since I plan to come back to them. I won’t be going back to a DNF ever, no matter what. Some “paused” books right now for me – Voyager (3rd Outlander book), The Fault in Our Stars, and Written in Red. I forget the reason for each of them, but something came up and I had to pause them, even though I really liked them and then I just haven’t gotten back to them. :/ Great post!

    • Kaja

      Hm, “paused” books sounds much better, less final! I like the expression :) Yeah, I usually forget the reason for pausing a book as well, but then it takes sooo long for me to get back into things. I’m currently in the middle of Outlander 1 and I’m liking it very much :)

      • “Paused” or “on hold” is a great way to think about these. I’ve certainly got some books I didn’t finish for one reason or another, but fully intend to. Usually I had to stop reading because other books had to be read for a tour or what have you. . . and then there were more books on the TBR shelf that needed reading, and before I knew it, months had gone by and I hadn’t finished the book.

        • Kaja

          Yes, but what if you MEAN to get back to a book but never do? :) I know I’m always filled with good intentions, but somehow I never quite manage to sweep up all the old debts in a timely fashion.

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  • I almost never DNF because I don’t pick out books that I don’t think I will enjoy and have sadly stopped accepting self-pub books because they’re a wild card to reviewers. I do, however, have some popular, well-liked books by well-liked authors that for some reason or another I can’t seem to go back to…right now. I say “on hold, not DNF” but I like “paused” better. It’s because I am an eclectic mood reader, and what caught my eye at the time of purchase might not be the mood I’m in today. Hope you can understand my thoughts :)

    • Kaja

      Yeah, this “paused” books expression is something Berls from Fantasy is More Fun mentioned in a comment below and I really like it! So it’ll be my go-to expression from now on :) I understand you completely – I also read books according to my mood. Sometimes I can handle dark and serious (and crave it, in fact), but sometimes I just want fluff and happiness!
      Thanks so much for stopping by :)

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