Popular Books I’ve DNF’d

DNF. Did Not Finish. I love DNFing books. I have been able to read sooo many more books since I embraced the art of DNFing. I DNF books for a variety of reasons. Sometimes I just am not in the right mood to read a specific title and I will eventually return to it. Other times, I can tell within a few chapters that the story just isn’t for me. Whatever the reason, I have stopped feeling guilty for dropping books that I’m not interested in. That being said, I do get sucked in to bookstagram and booktube hype and I find myself picking up recommendations that I see online with sometimes little to no context. I couldn’t escape the following titles. I saw them all over the place and I was compelled to try them out. Some of them I may revisit, and others annoyed me so much that I will never pick up again.

DISCLAIMER: If one of these titles is your absolute fav, please don’t come for me! I know it’s hard to see negative reviews about your favorite title but these books just didn’t work for me, if they worked for you, that’s great!

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

This story is Lolita in the Me Too era and it does not hold back. I had to DNF within the first few chapters because the descriptions of abuse were so graphic and difficult to read that I couldn’t stomach reading the whole thing. While I think that this book has a valuable message about trauma and abuse, I personally was not in the right mindset to consume such a dark story.

Will I revisit?
I’m honestly not sure, the writing itself was really well done (from what I read) but the subject matter was very upsetting. If in the future I feel compelled to read Lolita, I think I will pick this one up instead.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Everywhere I see this book, it is rated 5 stars. It feels sacrilegious in the book community to not love this book, but I just couldn’t connect with the characters at all. The writing felt inaccessible and exposition heavy. I also felt like Achilles and Patroclus had an instant-love connection and any character development flew out the window the moment they got together. I got about 30% of the way through and felt as though I got the gist of the story. Having read the Iliad and seen the movie Troy, I know this story and didn’t like Achilles in any of them!

Will I revisit?
Probably not, I really didn’t connect with the characters or the writing and this is a story I already know so I wouldn’t be getting anything new from this book.

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

This is the book I probably got the furthest into before DNFing. I got just over 50% through this story and I had to dump it. The romance in this story was an enemies-to-fake-friendship-to-lovers and I felt like it was so rushed. I really enjoyed the first bit of the story and the build up to their relationship, however once they were together, I didn’t care about the side plot or any of the factors keeping them apart. I think I just had too many issues with the pacing that I needed to let it go. They got together so quickly and then the side plot and external factors moved sooo slowly. There are so many other romances with similar tropes that don’t take forever to get to the conflict.

Will I revisit?
Probably not. There are so many other romances out there without a side plot that I didn’t care about. I just don’t have the energy to pay attention to fake politics when actual politics in the US require so much mental space.

The Deep by Rivers Solomon

I absolutely love the concept of this story. I really enjoyed the part that I did read, but I had to drop it. I only had the audiobook for this story and I felt like I wasn’t able to commit my full attention to the story in that format. I think that there are so many new words and concepts that I would have liked it a lot better if I had a physical copy. I have a hard time concentrating on audiobooks when they are doing world building in a fantasy setting.

Will I revisit?
Absolutely. I would love to read this story in the physical format. I think once I know the story and understand the lore, I would enjoy the audiobook a lot more than I initially did.

One by One by Ruth Ware

This was another one that I really liked the concept but I had to say goodbye. I had to dump the book because I didn’t want anything bad to happen to the characters 🙃. I know that is a goofy reason to DNF a thriller but I just wasn’t in a thriller mood at the time. I think that Ruth Ware did a great job at establishing the plot and the setting. She opens the story by telling the reader that there are multiple deaths that occur during this book, and I wasn’t ready. I had just finished a thriller before picking this up and I think I was fatigued.

Will I revisit?
I will definitely take another crack at this one because I really enjoyed the set up and I also loved the dual perspectives.

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty

This is another one where I feel like I chose the wrong format to consume this story. I read this one on my e-reader and I DNF’d at about 20%. I think that I would really enjoy this story through audio instead. I really enjoy Caitlin Doughty’s Youtube videos and the way that she tells stories about her crematory and about the death industry. I think that listening to her tell this story would captivate me a lot more than the written version did.

Would I revisit?
100% I would love to try the audiobook for this memoir!

Call Me by Your Name by André Aciman

(I was unable to link to the Goodreads page as it was down, here is the Wikipedia page).

I absolutely hated almost everything about this book. I got to about 45% of the way through on my e-reader and I just couldn’t stomach it. The writing style didn’t connect with me at all. It was a little bit all over the place and in a stream of consciousness style that I found confusing. I also think that the glorification of a sexual relationship between a 17 year old boy and a grown man is something that I just can’t overlook. Especially when the author has been quoted saying that he “see[s] 12-year-old girls and [he] already find[s] them attractive.” (source). This attitude coupled with the Armie Hammer scandals really put a bad taste in my mouth over this story.

Will I revisit?

DNFing has changed my reading for the better. No more am I plagued by book guilt and books that I don’t connect with. Are any of these your favorite books? Let me know!


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