The DNF Pile

As avid book readers we’re no strangers to categorizing and putting things into nice little piles. We all have our TBR, our TBReviewed, and various subcategories that we create on Goodreads to help give us the semblance of sanity and/or order. But the dirty secret, the black sheep in the corner is the DNF(did not finish) pile. We don’t like to talk about it, we don’t like to think about it, and in fact, every time we’re forced to put a new book into that pile our hearts break into a billion itsy bitsy pieces and the guilt, THE GUILT could damn near destroy us.

Everyone assumes the DNF pile is bad, that the books in there are trash, riddled with grammatical errors, typos, and boring, stereotypical characters and plots filled with holes. Here’s my confession:

The truth is, the books in my DNF pile are not typically any of those adjectives above but simply did not resonate with me. The DNF, I would argue, is extremely personal. It’s not about the book, it’s about the special connection that seeps deep beneath your skin, spreads through your body warming your heart and touching your soul. Just because something is in a friend’s DNF pile doesn’t mean that it sucks and you shouldn’t try it or that you should throw the book away, in fact, I suggest that you put the book aside and try it at a later date.

As a reader, you know as well as I that sometimes you’re just not ready for a specific book, sometimes extenuating circumstances in your life can make you feel so intensely towards a book that you immediately dismiss it. It may be that you tried, read to your cut-off page limit* and just couldn’t read anymore. It might be that a certain character or plot element really disgusts you or pushes your buttons and for some people that is enough.

It’s been a while since I’ve had to place a book in my DNF pile and with a heavy heart I did so today. I read, and I pondered, and I tried my hardest but this book just did not work for me. I was unprepared for the twisted hurt that invaded by thoughts and the nauseated feeling I got as I cast the book aside. THIS IS NOT OKAY. As a blogger and general lover of books, it nearly literally makes me sick to put a book aside but the thought that I can go back to it and later and maybe, just maybe I’ll fall in love gives me hope.

We’re all different people with a kaleidoscope of emotions and likes, dislikes, preferences. Don’t let the DNF pile consume you. If you read a review and see a book that you think sounds fantastic on a DNF pile, take that with a grain of salt. Ultimately, you as the wonderfully unique person you are decide what to love and whether a book is valuable to you.

I look at my DNF pile as a land of misplaced toys or second chances, something to revisit at a later date and find again. Try it, I bet you’ll feel better.

***Mine is page 50, if I can’t get into the book, I’m done.

Keep reading, have a great weekend,

-BB