DNF – or will I?

5 Jan

This post started back in July 2014 as a reply to KristieJ’s DNF review of Sarah Mayberry’s Her Kind of Trouble. As you can see, it’s pretty long for a reply, but the actual reason it ended up as a post in my own blog is that, before I was done rambling, my internet crashed and I lost the whole damn thing.

Ah well, c’est la vie, shit happens, etc., so I started blathering over here until I lost steam and ended up saving the draft instead.

Then, a week or so ago, the inimitable SuperLibrarian Wendy posted one of her DNF roundups, which made me think about the topic once again.

Once upon a time, I used to be unable to let go of a book–which I think comes from being an avid reader and not having constant access to new reading material. In those dark, long ago times, there was not TBR. Every single book or anthology in my possession was read on the spot, and kept handy for re-reads thereafter.

However, after I moved to the US, and realized that I could afford new reading material fairly regularly, things changed quickly.

First, I started accumulating TBR titles, which for a bit caused me some anxiety (like that to-do list you never get to), but after reviewing seriously¹ for a while I realized that life is too short and my free time too valuable to force myself to read something I’m not enjoying.

Further, I know I’m a mood reader–what pleases me today may make me impatient tomorrow–so actually putting down a book that is irking me or just not engaging me right now, usually allows me to come back to it later and enjoy it for what it is, rather for what it wasn’t when I first grabbed it.

(Point in case, see my review of Sherry Thomas’ Private Arrangements)

There are cases, though, where something about the writing, the characters or the plot just makes my head asplode (or, alternatively, bores me to tears), and in those cases, no period of waiting or change in mood can redeem the story for me.

I am not sure I have ever written a true DNF review, and I’m not sure I ever will. It’s not that I have a firm stand on the matter,² but more that so far I haven’t been moved to rant about a book I haven’t finished.

I’m no spring chicken, but there are still some years–and plenty of material in the ol’ TBR pile–ahead of me, so it may still happen. If so, you’ll be the first to know.


¹ For the first year or so, I was posting three to four reviews per week at Karen’s blog.

² I have seen statements to the effect that unless you read the whole thing you don’t have a ‘right’ to review it, and so on and so forth, to which I say: to each, his/her own. If a reader feels so strongly about what s/he has read so far, why the hell wouldn’t s/he talk about it?

4 Responses to “DNF – or will I?”

  1. Rowena 06/01/2015 at 3:43 PM #

    My thoughts are simple. I’m not a professional reviewer, writing reviews for a big newspaper or magazine. I run my own book blog with my blogging buddy and Holly reads a book and couldn’t finish it, I want to know why. I want to know the good stuff and the bad stuff about books. So, I’m all for the DNF review.

    • azteclady 06/01/2015 at 3:48 PM #

      And I completely see your point there. Plus I know I’ve avoided books for which other readers (whose tastes I know and are similar to my own) have written DNF reviews.

      I do see their usefulness–I’ve just not been moved–yet–to write one.

      Might be coming sooner rather than later, though… 😉


  1. Silver Thaw, by Catherine Anderson | Her Hands, My Hands - 09/01/2015

    […] Thaw is my first DNF review, and I hope I’ve learned my lesson: when I have broken up with an author, it’s best to […]

  2. Committed, by Sidney Bristol | Her Hands, My Hands - 16/02/2015

    […] but I wanted to write about my reaction to this issue. And though I have mentioned before that I don’t have ‘rules’ for DNF, it does seem to me that stopping about a quarter of the way in is, perhaps, a little too […]

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