The dreaded DNF…

I know I’m not alone in this — whichever side of the fence I choose to stand on.

I strongly dislike not finishing books.

But books that I just can’t seem to get into… well, they stress me out. They take time away that I could put into books that’ll pull me into their world and teach me how I want to write. I strongly dislike reading books that don’t suck me in and books that I don’t feel I’m learning from.

I’ve said here on this blog that I will consider reviewing books for other writers, but I’m really not sure what I really mean by that. I love reading. I’m not one of those writers who stops reading while they’re in the middle of a writing project. Nothing aginst those who do, because they probably have way cooler lives than me. Me? My life is child, work, cooking, writing… Really boring stuff to write about, and certainly not inspiring. Well, the kid is pretty cool, but… And so, I am always reading, looking for something that will spark a flash new idea, or fix a problem I’ve been having.

I thought offering reviewing services would be a great way to discover new talent.

I know for a fact there are excellent self-published works out there. I have read them. In particular, I would not shy away from recommending Ripley Patton or Sonya Lano.

I strongly dislike not finishing books. I also strongly dislike perservering with books that just don’t do it for me. Fact is, not all books are for everyone. If reading is a chore… well… it shouldn’t be. It should be like bouncing carefree on a trampoline with safety nets (and wearing an excellent bra… or two)… free and easy. Exilerating. Safe.

A book is meant to be a way to live all those things you want to experience without being at risk of actually getting hurt. That’s why we love falling in love over and over again when we read… You get to fall without the real pain of rejection. You can taste it, if that’s the book you pick up, but you’ll never actually be damaged byt the experience (well… that may be debatable… guess it depends just how involved you get with the story/characters!). Just like a safety net: giving you the chance to explore without (much) risk.

Anyway, I’m not going to mention my DNF books. These are written by authors trying to have a real go at this writing game. It’s not my place to stamp on that. Besides, determined people get better. Determined writers get better.

So, what about you… do you soldier on? Or do you slip the book to the back of the shelf?

4 thoughts on “The dreaded DNF…

  1. Time is precious. If I’m reading a book that I find I don’t like, I stop. Plain and simple. I tend to steer clear of reviewing books I don’t like. Don’t want it to seem like I’m bashing another writer. I once threw a book as far as I could because it was horrible through and through. I felt much better afterward. :)

    • I do struggle with the whole “but what if it gets good in 2 pages’ time?” thing… I’ve had that before. Put a book down that didn’t grab me, picked it up months later and discovered it got really good after that point (“The Ivanhoe Gambit”… see? I even remember it). And in the two cases I’ve just had to pass on, they were both self-pubbed authors who had asked me to read, so I felt a sense of obligation… but I just couldn’t do it any longer. While I hadn’t officially closed their books, I wasn’t reading them, choosing, instead, to read authors I already have a good track record with.
      It is touch. I’m a new author, too. I need people to take a gamble on me, too. But, I guess, that is where *I* have to make it worth their while when they do…
      And yes, I think I will no longer give less than 3-star reviews. That’s a tough decision to make, because I *do* see 1-star and 2-star reviews as a service to the readers… warnign them off poorly written books. But, who is to say that someone else can’t look past all the things that bugged me and have a really great read?
      I think it just goes to show, then, when you *do* find a book that you L.O.V.E., sing its praises high and wide… because it deserves it.

  2. I agree with bwtaylor. I don’t finish books that I just can’t get into. What I WILL do sometimes is put it aside and try to read it later, if I think the writing is decent.

    • Yeah. I think that is the key, isn’t it? If the writing hints that things might truly get better, then it may be worth sticking with it, or rteturning to later. But, if the story AND the writing is lacking… I lose confidence.
      I feel a little better about choosing to put these 2 (actually 3, because one was the start to a series and I was meant to read 2 of them books…) aside…

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