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  • Writer's pictureMolly McTernan

Why I DNF Books (And Why You Should Too)

Photo credit to Gulfer ERGIN on Unsplash.


 

One or two summers ago, an intern at my church said something that has really stuck with me. "Time is the one thing we can't get back." And it's true - you can make money back, you can chose a new career, you can even regain reputation after a while. But time? As each second passes, it's gone forever.


If you don't already know, the acronym 'DNF' stands for 'did not finish'. Some of you may be nodding along, already thinking of some titles that you set aside, while others might be gasping - how could someone stand to not finish a book they started!?


The answer is... that it's okay to stop a novel. It's okay to return it to the library, put it back on your shelf, or pass it along. Why? Because time is precious, time is passing quickly, and it's not worth it to spend the irreplicable on books that leave us with nothing.


I'm not saying that you should stop any book just because you get to a part that's a little boring; there is great benefit to pushing through harder work like classics. But I am saying that there are very legitmate reasons to DNF, and I want to share some of mine below.


Content

Right off the bat, if a book has content in it that I am not comfortable with, I will snap the cover shut. As a Christian, there are certain things that I won't read, but I have personal sensitives as well (such as ghosts - for whatever reason, this element has always bothered me).


I mostly pick up books that I either know a trusted friend has enjoyed, or that I am already aware of the content for. Content limitations are different for everyone, but it's super important that we are being careful with what we allow into our minds. Use discernment!


Quality


I know that there are so many good books out there, so why waste my time on something shallow? There have been multiple books I've stopped reading simply because they were preachy and fluffy. This isn't to say that you can't sometimes read for solely enjoyment's sake, but I want my books have some depth and truth woven in.


Captivation


Though this is least common, I will also DNF if I feel like I am completely sludging through a novel. Maybe the worldbuilding is too much. Maybe I don't relate to the characters. Maybe the writing style is distracting. For whatever reason, if I'm really struggling, I'll DNF.


And sometimes, I'll come back to these titles! Just because I didn't love the story at one point doesn't mean I still won't a year later. People change and different aspects will appeal at different stages of life.


 

I hope you've enjoyed this post! Have you ever DNFd a book before? What made you do so?


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12 Comments


belegthebrave
Jul 07

I've DNFd plenty of books. 😂 There are so many good books out there, so if I feel like I'm not learning anything, or if I'm not being entertained, or if the book is negatively impacting me, I'll DNF, because there are plenty of other books that deserve my time more.

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Molly McTernan
Molly McTernan
Jul 08
Replying to

Yes! It’s true that there are so many good books out there - why waste the time you could have been reading one of those?

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tc
Jul 06

I love this, I've mostly DNFd books that I just don't feel like finishing because they don't interest me.

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Molly McTernan
Molly McTernan
Jul 06
Replying to

Thank you so much! Yes, sometimes they are just like that.

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sara noelle
sara noelle
Jul 06

I love this, Molly! 😊 Ooh, yes, I definitely DNF. I've done it a lot more lately (unfortunately 😑), and almost every time it's either because of content, or just because I'm not entertained or benefiting. So, yeah, pretty much the same as you! 😉

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Molly McTernan
Molly McTernan
Jul 06
Replying to

I’m so glad, Sara! And it’s good to know we’re on the same page.

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Bella Raine
Bella Raine
Jul 06

Love this, Molly!! I will definitely DNF a book, though most often it's for content (I'm a picky reader, ha!). But I might need to DNF books more often for other reasons... I have so many books I've started and are sitting on my currently reading shelf (both in real life and on Goodreads, haha!). 😆

Thanks for this post, friend!! ❤️

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Molly McTernan
Molly McTernan
Jul 06
Replying to

Thanks, Bella! Hey, the way I view it, being a picky reader is a good thing, though it can be annoying at times.

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emmathebard
Jul 06

Cheers! Great post. I couldn't agree more, and your points were fantastic.

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Molly McTernan
Molly McTernan
Jul 06
Replying to

Ahh, thank you so much, Emma!

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