In Defense of DNF: Why you should allow yourself to quit a book?

I am a completionist. If you do not know what that means, well, then, let me explain – the term is mainly used in the gaming world. Somebody who is a completionist would give as much time and energy to the side missions as they would to the main quest. A person who is not, on the other hand, would just focus on the main quest and set to win the game.

Being a completionist can be a hard thing. It can get exhausting many times, especially if you do not enjoy the work you are doing. If I apply the world in the general sense, then I am definitely one. And for the last two years, I have been trying to deal with this and rationalise certain situations where just leaving something midway is a better way to conserve my time and energy.

One of them being reading.

Have you ever experienced the feeling where you want to DNF a book but end up feeling uneasy about it? In the end, you complete the book anyway but it did not bring any kind of joy to you?

I sure have.

And I am here to tell you (and also remind myself) that if you do not enjoy a book, it is okay to abandon it.


✍🏽 Why should you read?

✍🏽 How to get out of a reading slump?


Here are some reasons why you should DNF (in case you don’t know, DNF = did/do not finish) books if you feel like it:

Reading is supposed to be fun

If reading is your hobby, it means that the action brings you joy and happiness. You love to spend time reading. Therefore, it is a fun thing to do for you. There is no reason to suck the fun and merriment out of something you enjoy. If you do not like your current read, then it is the opposite of fun for you. Why even go through that? It does not matter if the book is an obscure read or a popular one, recognised by a lot of people. The point is, you are an individual and your choices might not match someone else’s. Yes, give the book a chance if you want. Read 50 to 100 pages, or a few chapters. If it still does not resonate with you, DNF it and treat yourself to another book that’s more up your alley!

Your reading time is limited

You have so little time compared to the number of books out there that might actually interest you! Time is precious. Time is money. There is absolutely no reason to go on reading something that you might end up hating. In the end, you are only forcing yourself unwillingly, which takes up more of your energy and effort. Instead, reading something of your interest is a better use of your time. DNF-ing a book that you might not enjoy opens you up to explore other books.


✍🏽 Is reading fiction a waste of time?

✍🏽 Why don’t I participate in reading challenges anymore?


You should opt for the books that bring you value

I believe in embracing the things and practices that bring you a certain amount of value. Make sure that you are intentional with your time and energy. If you continue reading a book that does not interest you, you would not get any value from it. You would not even be aware of the values. Therefore, it is better to stick to the ones that give you intention and value in the long run.

Remember that you are reading for yourself and not for others. Although you should consider seriously before DNF-ing a book, if it is something that does not resonate with you even after trying, then it is always better to move on to something better for your individual choice.

What are your views regarding this? Would love to hear your thoughts!



23 thoughts on “In Defense of DNF: Why you should allow yourself to quit a book?”

  1. I struggle a LOT to DNF a book. I guess I am a completionist too πŸ€”. I feel like if I’ve started something I need to get it done and this goes for reading as well. It’s not that I haven’t put a book on hold. I currently have three books on hold which I started last year but haven’t completed yet…but here’s the thing there’s definitely one I won’t be getting to but still, I choose to hold on to it rather than just DNF-ing πŸ˜…. I give a book two tries and if it just don’t make me want to pick it up again, I put it back on hold. I really need to learn to DNF a book πŸ€”. I so, so agree that our reading time being so limited yet we have too many awesome books to get to πŸ₯Ί. Well done discussion post! πŸ’–πŸ’•

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I so get you! I used to have this issue but with limited reading time now, I just want to jump books if a book isn’t making me happy. I still do force myself to finish some books, especially if I have finished more than half the book. But what’s the point when you just feel nothing after finishing a book. I’d rather spend my time reading a book that makes me feel sad that it got over. 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, I agree. I complete a book too if it is like 100 pages left. But if something doesn’t resonate with me by the first half of the book, I try to move on. I am still struggling but it is an ongoing process! πŸ˜›
      Thanks for stopping by! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That is so true. I am plagued by my habit of finishing all the books I started. The result is that I have to finish books I dislike grudgingly, ending up wasting my time. I could have utilize the time to do other things.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Same! I am still dealing with this at times! If I feel like quitting a book, there is a constant itch in my mind that I have left it incomplete. I hope we would be able to deal with it better down the line πŸ™‚
      Thanks for stopping by! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I used to hate DNF-ing. I feel like I have to complete something that I start. But I’ve since realised that there are too many books and too little time, and that even if I DNF-ed 90% of the books I read, I still won’t be able to get through the rest of the 10% in my lifetime, so now I don’t feel guilty about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have started coming around with the whole process of DNF-ing books. It is still a struggle but in recent years, I have made a conscious decision to be intentional with my life and time so reading something I enjoy is definitely a must for me.
      Thanks for stopping by! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I read a lot of books. I will give a book my best shot, but Sometimes I DNF. There are not many books that I have not completed, but if it’s not for me… I put it down. However, if I do see spelling errors in a book, I will private message the author, hoping to prevent negative reviews.

    I just found your site through the interview you did.
    https://lifesfinewhine.ca/2021/02/12/blogger-interview-with-esha/
    Great post. I look forward to visiting again. Wishing you all the best.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I do not believe in DNF-ing without trying, of course so I get what you mean. We should definitely give it our best shot before taking the final decision to quit (if nothing can help it).
      Messaging the author about any mistake is such a great idea. I would definitely take this advice if I happen to be in a similar situation.
      Thank you for reading my interview. I enjoyed it so much.
      Thanks for stopping by! πŸ™‚ I hope you enjoyed both my interview and my posts. Wish you all the best, too:)

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I love your perspective on this– we should read books from which we can derive value, not just for the sake of checking a box. While I have seldom put down a fiction book, I have had to DNF some technical/business related books when I realized how redundant they were and how little I was actually learning. With limited time, we have to be judicious about which books we commit to, and if a particular book is just repeating things you’ve already learned, then it might not be the best use of your time!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To be frank, most non-fiction books can be explained in few pages but they go on for longer with surveys and examples and whatnot. Not saying they are bad but the gist is really small compared to the actual length of the book.
      But yes, we have to determine what we do with our limited time.

      Liked by 1 person

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