I know some people are dead set against DNFing a book, and I also know that some people are totally for it. Ultimately, it’s the reader’s choice, and as for me, I support DNFing. No apologies here, and I’ll explain my reason why below.
I try not to DNF – I truly put my nose to the grindstone and force myself to get to a certain point in a book, no matter how awful it is. Lately, I’ve set the bar at about 40%. If it’s a long book, maybe 30%. There has been only one book (which I won’t name) where I put it down after reading maybe ten pages (yes, it was that bad). With any book, I try to give it that 40% chance, just out of respect for the author and (in the case of a NetGalley ebook) the people who gave it to me. But sometimes, no matter how hard I try, I just can’t push past that 40% mark. At that point, I’ve read enough to get a good sense of if I like where the book is going – if I don’t like it, or can’t stand it, I won’t put myself through the rest. If I’ve learned one thing since starting my blog, it’s that there are too many good books out there to get caught up in one that just doesn’t work for me.
But in my DNF reviews, I have noticed a pattern. And here’s the brutal truth: I am far more likely to DNF a NetGalley book than one I actually purchased.
I think there’s two reasons for this:
- NetGalley is free, while everything else is from my bank account. There’s definitely that financial urge to read a book, no matter what, when I’ve paid for it myself. Essentially: “Dammit I spent good money on this and I’ll at least finish it once so I can properly rant about how pissed I am that I shelled over seventeen bucks for this haphazard pile of words.” With NetGalley, it’s free. There’s no personal investment for me. So there’s less of a psychological guilt trip when I give up on one that I received. I know I’m a horrible blogger – but I’m supposed to be honest here, right? Please don’t hang me by my toes.
- Books from NetGalley aren’t always the best. Let’s be honest: a lot of NetGalley books (at least the ones I’ve read), are indie or self-published, and they’re not the most refined or well-edited. Most of them are from brand new authors, so I just have to go by faith that I’ll like their writing style. Sometimes this works in my favorite (Hello, Backward Glass by David Lomax or Sia by Josh Grayson), but many times it just doesn’t.
This isn’t to say that I don’t DNF a book I bought: Dear John is still a black hole in my memory *war flashbacks*. But ultimately, what I read is my choice. I rule the roost around here, and if I don’t want to read the book, I won’t.
Although I do still feel bad about my NetGalley books. Poor babies. I promise to be better to you!
So what about you? Have you seen any patterns in the books you DNF?