Power Through or DNF?


As any bookworm, my TBR (To Be Read) list is ever-growing. Between new releases, BookTok recs, and comfort rereads, I always have something I want (and need) to read. With so many potential reads, recently, I found it hard to force myself to push through a book I was just not enjoying, which has led to the creation of my DNF pile. 

A DNF pile is a collection of books a reader did not finish, and honestly, I never saw myself as one to not finish a book. I usually stick it out to the end to see the enemies finally become lovers or the hero slay the mighty dragon. Everything about the book sounded amazing — the synopsis sounded enticing, BookTok raved, it’s one of the most talked about books of the year — and I want to know what the hype is all about. But sometimes while reading that book, something doesn’t click.

I think a lot goes into deciding if a book should be tossed into the DNF pile or if you should push through and finish it. So if you are struggling to decide, here are some things I personally consider before initiating a book to the DNF pile. 

  • Do I care about the plot? Do I care about the characters?
    • If you answered no to one (or both) of these questions, you may want to reconsider putting your time into reading that book. For me, relating to and connecting with the characters are a huge part of the reading experience, and if I don’t care about what happens to them, or if they succeed in whatever they are trying to achieve, then that book is going to take me WEEKS to finish. The plot could be basic, but if the characters and their relationships aren’t interesting, then I find it difficult to invest my time into reading, and I will most likely push the book aside. 
  • Are you familiar with the author?
    • Just like most readers, I have go-to authors. If they have a new book coming out, that book jumps to the top of my TBR list, and I’ll start reading it the day it comes out. But sometimes if it’s a new series with new characters, it may be hard to be interested in the book when it’s not living up to the expectations of previous releases. In this case, you should decide if you’re willing to trust the author and push through to find the magic that made you fall in love with their other works. 
  • Is it a popular release?
    • Sometimes it’s worth pushing through a book just because you know everyone will be talking about it. If you’re worried about something being spoiled for you, then you should probably just push through the pain and finish the book, so you don’t have to worry about it being ruined if you ever decide to revisit it. If you’re not worried about spoilers, then who cares! Sometimes knowing what will happen will re-spark your interest to go back and figure it out. 

It’s important to remember that you can always revisit a book that you labeled DNF! Maybe you weren’t in the right mindset to read that book or maybe you were really craving that sweet contemporary romance and that epic fantasy adventure was just not the right fit at the time. It’s okay to be a mood reader! As a mood reader, I find that DNFing a book saves me from entering a reading slump. I get to move on to another title on my TBR rather than letting one book drag out for weeks. So while it can be daunting to cast aside a book (especially if it is popular or was hyped up), DNFing a book is totally okay! 

Have you ever DNFed a book and what made you make that decision? Let us know in the comments below!

PRR Writer, Taylor Quinn