Jul 18, 2011

Posted by in Question | 24 Comments

Question – How Far Do You Read Before You Give Up?

I must say that I have been pretty lucky with the books I choose to read.  Have I loved each and every one of them.  Well, no.  But overall, my reading experience has been quite positive.  In fact, I have only ever had one dnf (did not finish).  And since I’ve read well over 200 books in less than 3 years, I think that’s pretty darn good.

A big reason behind that is I am getting a better idea of what I like to read and of what kind of books work for me – something I’ll be talking about more this coming Thursday.  The other part is I tend to research my books quite a bit before I read them.  But sometimes, even all the research and the blog hopping in the world isn’t going to make you enjoy a book.  Sometimes, the really well written blurb will be the best part of a book.  Sometimes, everyone and their mother will love a book, but you just won’t be able to connect with it.  And you know what?  That’s okay.  It really is.

I pretty much knew within a couple of chapters that the book I ended up dnf wouldn’t work for me, but I didn’t quit then.  I knew that wasn’t giving the book a fair shot.  It could just have been a slow-start kind of book! But about 130 pages in, I still didn’t care about what was going on or the characters.  I asked myself “If I put this book down, would not knowing how it all turned out eat at me?”  The answer was a resounding NO.  So I stopped reading it.  That was just over the 30% mark.

I know you have all had books that you have had to put down because you just weren’t clicking with it at all.  My question to you is:  How far into a book do you get before you put up the white flag.  How much of a chance do you give a book before giving up on it?

  1. MichelleKCanada says:

    Honestly, I have to read a book even if it is bad. I have only once DNF and it is still there on my Kindle at about 25%. I will get back to it because it niggles me that I gave up.
    I have 4 publishers sending me their books to review and sometimes those books are not very good. But since I made a commitment to read and review, I follow through and rate appropriately. I am always very clear on my reviews why the book wasn’t my cup of tea. Never trash a book though. Not interested in that approach.

    If I have selected a book to read on my own, I generally have researched it or have had it recommended to me or it is an auto-buy author so I never have to worry about those.

    So even if it is bad, I finish.
    MichelleKCanada
    http://anotherlookbookreviews.blogspot.com/

  2. Vicki Casso says:

    About half way through, but with the price of books I try to finish them up when I’m bored with nothing new to read.

  3. Truth be told it all depends. Sometime it is already on page 5, once I made it to page 120. But I do think that is a limit. Why waste your life reading a really bad book

  4. Since I started keeping track of the books I’ve read 5 years ago, I’ve only DNF 3. There were several I probably shouldn’t have finished. It’s hard to make myself not finish. I try to make it at least to the halfway point before throwing in the towel.

  5. Emily D. says:

    I give a book usually 40 pages or three chapters, whichever comes first. If I don’t like it by that time, I give up.

  6. There have been very few that I have started and not finished. I am the eternal optimist; always thinking the book will get better if I just stay with it. Sometimes, often, that is not the case but then I tend to feel guilty that it is because of my subjective feelings and not because it is really a bad book. Yeah, I know, I need a therapist.

  7. Oh what a great question Julie. Hmm…I always hope that a book will get better so I’ll keep reading it but I’m not sure when I give up. Now some books I start and I just don’t connect with it at all so I just give up within the first couple of chapters. Now others I just keep hoping that I’ll enjoy and keep going until I hit the same point as you, do I really care what happens? Will I keep wanting to know? Then there are the books that I set aside thinking “it’s just not the time for this book, I’ll pick it up later.” Well it’s later and I still haven’t picked the book up so they might end up on my DNF list. There is just a part of me that thinks, “Why would I try to finish this book that I couldn’t get into when there are so many books out there that I will love reading and enjoy them the whole time?” So there is my long answer to your short question. LOL.

  8. Jennifer E says:

    I will read a little over half way through before I put it down. I put out money for a book It eats at me to not finish it. Thank you for saying thats it’s cool if everyone loves the book and it didn’t work for me 🙂

  9. I would have to say the same as you on a few things! I know the kinds of books I like so I stick with those. I usually like to finish the books I start whether I’m that into them or not. There are 2 books I can thing of: Mocking Jay- I started out not liking where things were going so I put it down, but I did ask myself if it would bug me not knowing the ending, yes it would so I finished. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is the other, I think I was 2 or 3 chapters into it and could not finish. I have not written it off yet because my mother-in-law says it gets better. So I guess I give a book the first few chapters then ask myself the question, but I find myself often needing to know the end! Good Question!

  10. There are only 3 instances I can think of in which I did not finish a book, there’s probably more, but there’s three main ones.
    The first was a a book in my high school library that had a scene so disturbing that thinking about it almost 17 years later still makes me queasy. I could not continue that book, it literally made me want to vomit. So I put it back in the stacks.
    The second was either the second or third Cassie Palmer book by Karen Chance. I COULD NOT follow this series. All the time travel, geis stuff made my head want to explode and I was no longer enjoying the series. I’ve been told by people who love Karen Chance to give the books another try, but I probably won’t.
    The third book that I did not finish was in the middle of a series and was so confusing AND poorly written that I literally laughed and closed the book. Not worth my time.
    So the long and short of it is that I will get as far as a) something truley disturbing; b)my head wants to explode or c) the book becomes a waste of my time and brain power.

  11. Michelle – I agree with you that if the book was sent by a publisher, I will do everything in my power to finish that book…even though I would otherwise have dnf it. 🙂

    Vicki – You are so right about the price of books. It’s too bad some of them will not appeal to us even though we spent $10 on them. lol

    blodeuedd – “Why waste your life reading a really bad book” – exactly! Love it!

    Mrs. Hanson – 3 in five years is pretty good. Good for you! 🙂

    Emily – I like your guideline. Very smart.

    Dot – LOL. It’s so easy to feel bad when we don’t like a book. But it’s no ones fault really. Not the author’s and not ours. It’s the chemistry. 😉

    Deanna – “Why would I try to finish this book that I couldn’t get into when there are so many books out there that I will love reading and enjoy them the whole time?” Another wise statement.

    Jennifer – I really IS okay. It took me quite a while to come to terms with that. lol

    The Book Diva – The two books you mentioned are two books I have heard people say they either love them or hate them. So you are not alone in your quest to try to finish them. lol

    Sara – All EXCELLENT reasons for not finishing a book. 🙂

  12. I’ve only had a few DNFs, but lately, I’ve had some that I’ve gotten to 50% and put down to come back too. Who knows when I will pick them up again, however. :/ I try to go as close to 50% as I can, because some turn of events can really change my opinion. But if I am still bored at 50%, I’ve got to move on…

  13. I seem to have a lot more dnf’s then everyone..mainly b/c if I’m more then 200 pages in, and the story isn’t doing it for me & skimming isn’t work, then I give up. There are just too many good books out there. In the 2 yrs since I’ve been blogging though I think I have about 5-and those where genres that I normally don’t read or books I should’ve known not to read.

  14. With me, it has to hold my attention-good or bad. I will give it till page 100 or the halfway point. If my interest isn’t captured and held by then, then it’s a DNF. Sometimes I will put aside and see if I can come back to it.

  15. I have only had two DNF books since I’ve started blogging, etc. My anal-rententive personality wouldn’t let me stop reading! The first I was about 50% into the book… I had enjoyed 2 books by this author before this one, so I kept waiting for something better to happen. It never did. The second book I was reading for a review. But after 10 days and only roughly 30% into it, I realized, I needed to just let go of it. I was falling far behind on my review schedule. I don’t know how I’ll handle the next one…

  16. It depends on the book for me. There have been books that I knew right away I would not be able to continue (usually non-fiction that’s written too much like a text book) but some others take me quite a bit longer. It usually takes me longer to decide to give up if it’s a book that was recommended especially by someone whose opinion I trust. I know it’s time to stop when I just have no desire to read the book at all not just for a day or two (which could be a mood thing) but consistently. Like it was said above, life’s too short!

  17. I feel strangely guilty if I give up on a book. If I really can’t deal with it I will read it til halfway through and then skim the rest – just to make sure I am not missing anything. In the last two years there has been 4 I think I have done this with – 2 of them indies I accepted for review that were so badly written I just couldn’t cope and 2 published books that I just couldn’t get involved in.
    I don’t really research a book I choose to read though – I like pushing myself out of my comfort zone so if the blurb sounds good and a random page reads alright, I will pick it up.

  18. michelle in colorado says:

    I start it, if I am not feeling it I read the end. If the book chases me then I try for some of the middle and go from there. If the end does nothing for me I stop reading right there.

  19. Smash Attack – 50% is an extra fair try.

    Colette – That’s my issue too. Reading books that are not of my ‘usual genres’ will usually either end up dnf or, if I push myself, 2 stars. :/

    tori – I don’t know if I would pick up a book after putting it down. I know I probably should because so many books read better in certain frames of mind, but I still don’t know if I would do it. lol

    twimom – I’m sure that your anal-retentive self has been surprised a time or two after not aborting a book though. 😉

    Vanessa – It’s the worst when it’s recommended by someone who you usually agree with. It makes you feel guilty for some reason. lol

    Shelleyrae – I wonder why we feel guilty. It’s not like the author will know. Well, unless they sent you the book for review and you have to email them to let them know that the book was not for you. Hmm.. 😉

    michelle – Your system is awesome. I’ve actually read the end of a book while trying to decide whether or not I want to buy it. If I find the ending too hokey, I’ll leave it on the shelf. lol

  20. I also follow the 100 page (or 50% if it’s shorter than 200 pages long) rule. When I first started blogging I felt that I *had* to finish every book I picked up. Now that I have a TBR mountain full of books I’m dying to read, I don’t waste my time forcing myself through a book I don’t enjoy.

  21. I hate to DNF and always try to finish the book I’m reading, but sometimes doesn’t matter the intention it’s impossible to get into a book and I have to put it away. It doesn’t happen much, but it has happened. Same with a movie, I don’t think I have ever step out of a movie.

  22. I used to go 50 pages, but nowadays the 1/3rd mark seems like the point where books start to seriously go downhill. If I’m not into the story by then, I’m chucking it.

  23. Theresa – Nothing like a mountainous tbr pile to make you think twice about forcing yourself to finish a book. lol

    Bookaholic Cat – It’s good to try to finish it. It shows you have a strong character. But you are right…some you just can’t do.

    heidenkind – 50 pages seems soon…but for some books, it’s too long. lol

  24. Great question. I try really hard to not DNF any books. There was one that I did it with just recently and I was about 175 pages in. Another one, I only had about 75 pages left. I hate it when I DNF… smiles!

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