Recently I’ve picked up a few books that just weren’t working for me. Either I didn’t care for the plot, didn’t like the writing, or didn’t connect with the characters. While reading these books I had to decide whether I should try to stick them out, or to quit while I’m ahead.
As an avid bookworm, it can feel terrible to not finish a book. It feels like there is some sort of unwritten bookworm code that you need to finish every book you start. When I first started reading, I never DNF-ed books. Some of it had to deal with optimism. Just because a book started out horribly didn’t mean that it stayed horrible, right? This thought process especially held true for books that were popular at the time that I was reading them. I didn’t want to give up on them, so I read a lot of books that I ended up hating.
After a few too many burns, I realized I couldn’t keep doing this to myself anymore. What was the point, anyway? It’s not like I got a gold medal for finishing a book even though I hated it. I was just wasting my time when I could be reading a better book. There are so many books out there to read, and life is short, so why was I settling for a book that I didn’t like?
This realization completely changed the way I read. I created an one hundred page rule for myself. If I didn’t love a book by the time I reached page 100 then I would DNF it. I feel like 100 pages is long enough for a book to show me if it’s worth reading or not. Now I have no problem DNF-ing books, and I feel no shame doing it either! It feels really nice to just wash my hands of a bad book, and because of it my Goodreads ‘Read’ shelf is full of books rated three stars and up (which makes me happy to look at haha).