Comments:
Michelle's corner 6 years ago
Depends on the book. Some are obvious, "Does the fire need another log?" where others are, "*yawn* I'm just not in the mood for this now." If you've given it two chances and it isn't captivating you, then don't torture yourself. It also depends on the reason for the DNF. Some are just plain badly written, while others don't sit with you. Sometimes I pick up a book and the first chapter introduces like, a gazillion characters that I need to hold in my memory ... and some people can handle that, but not me. (Wow! Who'd have guessed that gazillion is actually in my browser dictionary!)
RedT Reads Randomly 6 years ago
Normally, I think something like, "I should clean the bathroom." That's generally sufficient. If it's more dire than that, I'll reread a book from my All-Time Favorites list.
Good luck.
And welcome to BL. Hope you like it here. Most of us like getting lost for hours in books as well.
6 years ago
I give it fifty pages and I'm out. Sometimes I do come back, sometimes I don't. But I no longer make myself read things that aren't holding my interest. Reason being is it's very rare for my opinion to change after a hundred pages- finishing the book or not. When i realized how rare it was, I became an unabashed DNFer.
6 years ago
I have a loose 10% rule in place. If I'm not into it by approx 10% of the book, I set it aside. Sometimes I will come back to it, other times not. I sometimes will give a book a little more time, if I sense that it has potential. And once in a while, I will continue on against my better judgement. I almost always regret it.
Good luck!
Welcome to BookLikes!

If it's bad writing, you'll notice within the first couple of pages, and there's certainly no reason to torture yourself beyond that. If it's not the writing that's bothering you, find your own comfort level -- for some, it's 100 pages, for some 50, whatever ... everybody's different in that respect.

For me, the overall length of a book also makes a difference. I read a veritable brick earlier this year which had an incredibly slow build-up at the beginning, and it took me forever to get through that, to the point that I seriously thought about DNF'ing several times. But at some point it picked up steam, and from then on it was OK, and I actually found myself liking it rather well. Still didn't give it 5 stars on account of the beginning alone (also, I thought at least 200 of its 800+ pages could have been cut), but I was glad nevertheless that I'd persevered. -- OTOH, if the book is only 200 or 300 pages long in total, it had better have grabbed me by page 50 or thereabouts or I'll be moving on.
...Bookfanatic 6 years ago
I hate it when I DNF so I honestly will go out of my way to avoid it but sometimes there's just no avoiding things. If the blurb doesn't have me automatically turning to page 1 and wanting to read more right away. Then I leave it on the shelf for another day because I know that's not what my brain is in the right frame of mind for and that means I'm not being fair to myself or to the book. But once I've started reading chances are pretty good that if the author can't grab and hold my attention within the first 50 pages it's probably not going to happen and I have a fast decision to make either power through it and put myself out of my misery or DNF and move on.

When to DNF is definitely an individual choice but just remember whatever rule of thumb you pick it's only a guideline. If you get that gut feeling that you need to give a book a few more pages got with it, just the same as if you brain is screaming 'what the hell were thinking?' by the time you get to page 5 shelve it and move on. Sometimes it's not even a matter of doing a total DNF, I read Tad Williams book The War of the Flowers and it took me several months because I kept stopping to read other books but the time I have it done I'd also read and finished 11 other books and I loved the Tad Williams book it was an excellent story.
BrokenTune 6 years ago
Pretty much what the others said - if it is really bad writing, I dnf sooner than later, except where the writing is soo bad that it is actually entertaining and might provide ample hilarity in a review.

If it is just boring, it depends on the story and volume of the book. There is usually a point where I just know whether to finish it or move on. I have no problem at all moving on or dnf'ing. There are just too many other books which might be much better.
One for the Books 6 years ago
Thank you all!
6 years ago
I assess the writer's voice within 2 pages. That's how long they have to get my interest in some way.
Portable Magic 6 years ago
My strategy is pretty similar to what the others have described here. I generally will give a book 50 pages (or 20 minutes on audio) to grab my attention and interest before DNF'ing. If the writing is horrible, I'll toss it in the trash (won't even donate those) at the point I start hate-reading.

In a situation similar to yours, where I don't really have a lot of time to settle in and give the book time to breathe, then I'll read the first two paragraphs, and if it doesn't grab me right away, then I put it back on the TBR shelf for later and pick another one.

I never feel guilty about DNF, when I'm reading for pleasure. There are more genuinely good books in the world than I can possibly read in a lifetime, so why should I waste any of the finite hours of my life reading a book I don't like?
Debbie's Spurts 6 years ago
I read a couple of pages. If I have a very clearcut reason why I am not liking it outside of storyline that hasn't had time to develop yet -- done. Clearly disliking from an overload of horrid sentences or grammar issues so is a first draft that should never have been published — done. If you don't like, the writing style or the author's voice reading more of it won't make you like it any better—done. Or for whatever clearcut reason. Sometimes helps when unclear/unsure to see if other readers on sites like this are mentioning the same things bugging you — drop immediately if they are and are saying whole book is like that (or ask them if not specified).

In decades of reading, a book has never gotten better if I didn't like the writing to start with. Characters and stories and interesting things can develop further into the book where I'll be glad I didn't DNF. I'll read further if that's a possibility and often before DNF'ing check if posts from readers I know share my tastes are saying something like "hooked me after chapter four" or "hooked me as soon as Johnny ..." type of things.

Series can take a couple of books to really addict you but those first couple of books need to at least be okay reads; again, if I'm not enjoying the writing it ain't going to improve for me. (I think a friend who told me that after book 17 I'll be hooked on one series needs professional help, though; I'm not going to read 16 books I know I won't like).

If not a clearcut reason, I'll read further to give idea/world, story and characters a chance to grow. If my mind wanders too much but nothing I can pinpoint really wrong with it, I'll put it aside for a different mood. After first chapter, I test by reading two pages of next chapter and seeing if easy to put down or I itch to continue reading.

It doesn't work for me (and doesn't suit every book) to set a number of pages or percentage at which I'll DNF. I never give more than what seems roughly a third of the book a chance.

I judge the first in a series "gentler" if I think it's just suffering first-book-itis where it takes a while to get past the setting-up-the-series stuff.

I do find myself judging indie/self published books harsher and quicker because the "look inside" "preview" downloaded-sample opening parts I consider very vital to their book getting discovered where those beginning pages should be perfected to the best of their ability.*

Authors I'm familiar with who have given me hours of enjoyable reading hours have earned a longer opportunity to immerse me in their book.

*That's a prejudice of mine about the indie offerings. I've just gotten so many bad reads where 98.9% were DNF'ed or should have been (in some cases couldn't even make out what the paragraph/sentence was trying to say no matter how many times re-read same section). And because it still completely throws me to see a published fiction book proudly touting "revised" or "newly edited" or "new/2nd/5th edition" things — wtf? with nonfiction your field of study has new discoveries or new theories you need to update to avoid being outdated but with fiction that's either a re-write or you were fixing errors because wasn't edited the first go round. I just get infuriated at the uploaders using us as kickstarter funding who "publish" so they can afford to re-publish with new covers and some new edits (not to mention the a-holes who feel that reviewers must justify all reviews and are obligated to provide those edits in their reviews and then have no right to review the edition read because are obligated to now read new edition)...

Easy to be so judgmental. I know; but, there are so very many books out there why waste your reading hours on books you are not enjoying (or not in the mood to enjoy). Nothing wrong with setting aside for later. Nothing wrong with ditching completely.
Debbie's Spurts 6 years ago
If I find myself completely not caring what happens to characters or what happens next, at any point in book or series -- done.
If it's straight-out poor writing, or there's something I find very offensive quite early, I usually DNF.

If it's just not catching my attention, it may just linger far down my currently reading list, sometimes for years. I *might* get back to it at some point.
Portable Magic 6 years ago
Oh, yes, I forgot about that, because it's so uncommon. But in the last two years, I DNF'd two books because of something I found offensive. In both cases, I immediately closed the book and rated it one star with DNF status.
NerdyBirdie 6 years ago
This made me laugh so hard because I didn't get it for the first few seconds and then I remember this one post where you DNFed the book at 10% XD XD XD (Sorry this is just me being slow)
NerdyBirdie 6 years ago
Oh God, I feel like I'm the worst person for advice on this. I shall try my best to help you, though! :D

I do not DNF books, it's a weird thing about me. But I will obviously DNF a series . . .

Based on my not-so-smart thinking cap, I think that you should try samples of books! I remember someone saying the same to me in a post, and since then, I've cut the TBR down by like, 20 books! Maybe this will help you decide if the book you want to read is even good in the first place!

Also, ask reviewers or friends that read a lot who read similar to you! Maybe they have an opinion? Sometimes, I read some Goodreads reviews before I decide to read a book. :D

I'm really sorry, I know this isn't all that helpful compared to a lot of people, but I hope that this helps you! :D