Giving Up On Bad Books

Today I did the unthinkable: I gave up on a book.

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To me, DNFing (did not finish) a book is tantamount to sacrilege, because I firmly believe in never giving up as there is usually a saving grace hidden in even a horrific book, but I finally realised that my life is too short to continue on with Gone by Michael Grant.

I do not even know where to begin with this book. It is quite possibly the worst book (and I extend that assessment to the remaining five books of the series) I’ve ever had the misfortune to begin (and that’s counting the truly tiresome time I had reading The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope, which was not only pompously ridiculous, but also mind-numbingly boring).

The writing was teeth-grindly poor, the language juvenile, the plot laboriously slow in its development, the characters were (largely) idiotic, and the huge cast of them was downright annoying. There was not one single thing I enjoyed about my 338 page trek through this 560 page abomination of a book, save for the moment I gave up on it (the thought of being forced into finishing and reading the sequels would be something I’d consider a personal brand of torture).

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I vow that 2016 will be the year that DNFing books is not viewed as a personal failure, but rather a glorifying revolt against those novels which are not worthy of my time. The sense of relief of abandoning ship is something much more gratifying than that of finishing a terrible book. Lesson learnt.

Have you ever given up on a book you disliked or do you believe in triumphing by completing? Have you read and loved/hated this particular book? Leave a comment below.

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26 thoughts on “Giving Up On Bad Books

    1. This was the first book I put down in such a long time (I actually can’t remember what my last DNF on purpose book was) but there are so many amazing books out there to discover, which is a much better use of my time! 🙂

  1. Why do we do this to ourselves? I have the hardest time not finishing a book. I just kind of sped read through a book that I hated recently & I wonder why I didn’t just put the thing down & realize it just wasn’t for me

  2. I can DNF pretty quickly — I used to get annoyed SO easily by particular writing styles, although I think I’m a tiny bit better now. But I’ve read some absolutely awful books… When I’m not enjoying it, I’ll just procrastinate doing other things and it makes me feel bleurgh.

  3. Good on you! And you’ve probably saved quite a few other people from wasting their time and money! 🙂
    I understand though. I can only think of a couple of times I’ve completely abandoned a book. I usually skim-read just to see what happens if it’s truly awful. Bad writing is the worst 😦

    1. Thank you 🙂 Saying that, it was never my intention to deter anyone from this book, only to vent my personal vendetta against it, and highlight that DNFing is not something to be ashamed of. Personally, I’m glad I’m free of the self-imposed shame of tossing a book aside!

  4. YES I am all about the DNFing life. I understand the stigma around it, but I mostly feel that there’s no point in struggling along with a book that you’re not enjoying. There’s only so much time you have to read, so why waste it on something you’re not enjoying?

  5. I feel the same way! I can’t bring myself to not finish a book. Even the worst novels I push myself through. I pushed myself through Gone years ago, I pushed so far that I read all however many books are in the series. I agree with you 100% that there is nothing worthy in those books to read. The plot is stale (I thought it to be a bit of a rip off of Stephen King’s Under the Dome, but the kiddie version) and the characters were extremely annoying (although I do grant it that the characters are in the ages of what four-15 or 16, so at that age all kids are is whiny) but to read about it was brutal.

  6. I’ve been trying recently – and mostly succeeding – to listen to myself when I’m not enjoying a book. It’s easy when I hate a book, but usually I am just passively indifferent – my signs are things like “texting and scrolling twitter instead of reading on my commute” and “not bothering to take my book with me when I go out” and “reading the same passage a few times”. If I’m doing those things, chances are I don’t like what I’m reading enough to commit to it, and I could be using my time better by reading something else instead.

    1. This is interesting, as I too find myself committing some of them. This year I’m going to make it my mission (although I hope it doesn’t happen too often) to accept I’m not enjoying a book, and move onto something I might find I love.

      1. I hope it works out for you! I’ve found it’s sometimes less about the book and more about my frame of mind – sometimes I just can’t focus or settle, no matter what I’m reading, and I try to take note of that, too. It’s all a work in progress!

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