I wanted a forum where we could talk about bookish subjects from swoon-worthy covers to the price of eBooks. I will share my thoughts on a different subject each month and ask you yours. In the process, I hope we get to know each other a little better. I made a pot of french roast coffee and have some peppermint tea so grab a cup and let’s chat.
The Art of DNF and Letting Go…
For as long as I can remember, I have read every book in a series, even if after book three it suddenly lost its magic. I have suffered through ghastly standalone books and trilogies, in hopes that on the next page or the next chapter a miracle would transform them into the golden friggin’ goose of books. Why?!? *shrugs and throws hands in the air* IDK. Maybe it’s because I was taught to start what you finish? Perhaps it’s because I am eternally optimistic. Maybe I think a character I loathe will suddenly be transformed into one that will be forever memorable? *rolls eyes* Or, maybe it’s because I believe on page 499 of this 600-page paperweight, that the author will express something so profound that it will forever change my life! Sounds ridiculous right! Well up until about eight months ago, that was how I rolled.
Blogging and exploring new genres has made me change my way of thinking. I needed to learn the art of letting go so that I could grow as a reader. I realized that I didn’t have to suffer and believe me this enlightenment didn’t come easy. What helped was a couple of truly awful books that not only didn’t engage me but frustrated me as well. I was annoyed, rushing and cranky and then one night I grew a pair and threw the book across the room and shouted, “I cannot take this anymore!” Of course, it was an ARC for a new publisher! So before I could talk myself out of it I did two things. Marked it as DNF on Goodreads and wrote the publisher a thoughtful letter explaining my predicament. *then I paced the floor worrying* That contact emailed me back and her kind words and wisdom set me free. I’ve since learned that the sky doesn’t fall and somehow I can still sleep at night. *well, when I am not up reading until 4 am with my nook. All while singing the mantra just one more chapter That my friends is for another confession* So YES, I can walk away from a series, an ARC, a book, or a trilogy. *who knew!* I know some of you are going, DUH!!! and others are looking at me with eyes as big as saucers and shaking their heads going, “Oh no! You have to finish it, I just can’t-do that.”
Let me share what happened when I learned the art of letting go and occasionally DNF a book. My reading slumps disappeared and the number of books I am reading each month has actually increased over last year’s numbers. Primarily because the pressure is off.
By accepting that it’s OK to let go, I no longer feel pressure when reading a book. I can also step out of my genre comfort zone and try something new. Authors and publishers still send me books! They totally understand and appreciate the feedback I give them. Another perk is that I no longer feel pressured (internally) to grab the next book in a series.
So how do I determine when to DNF or let go?
One of the greatest joys to me when reading is the ability to slip into the world an author has created and I immerse myself in the story. Some books you pick up and within the first few pages you are gone. Others take a few chapters. My general guideline is about one hundred pages. If by then I still haven’t slipped in or at least feel engaged enough to be curious as to the outcome -I let go! It is so liberating! Does this mean I am tossing books that I don’t think are four or five delicious cups of coffee? Nope. I am simply walking away from books I personally cannot connect with and each one has a unique reason. In eight months I have only walked away from seven or eight books and have dropped quite a few series. I did this when I realized as the release date of the next book approached I didn’t really care. It really has been liberating and after the first two, I realized I am OK and the world much to my surprise did not end! In fact, it’s a much brighter place!
So how about you my fellow reader? Are you a skilled reading ninja able to leave a book you do not like? Or do you suffer on waiting for that miracle or words of enlightenment to appear within those mediocre pages? Do you stop reading series or trudge on despite the fact that they are no longer all shiny? Spill the beans and confess your secrets…. ~Confessions of a Book Addict
*What do I do with my DNF books? I do not review books on my blog that I DNF since I do not review books that I haven’t completely read. I do however, post on Goodreads why I stopped reading and place them on my DNF shelf. I also email publisher, author, Netgalley etc and state clear reasons as to why this book did not work for me.*
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