DNF is a familiar term that many readers use to say, “nope, I did not finish this book.” We read so many books, and sometimes, there are a few that we just cannot get through for whatever reason—may it be from the atrocious plot or an unlikeable character or the extremely snail-slow pacing. It’s a quick, short, and to-the-point term that sums up what happens between you and a book, but it’s a term I don’t particularly like to use.
When I use (or attempt to use) DNF, my brain just goes:
Yeah, DNF is easy to say, but to me, it feels so final, too official, too harsh. It’s like I’m never going to pick up the book again, which isn’t the case at all. When I put down a book, I have every intention to pick it back again…eventually…when I’m more in the mood to read it.
I usually say I put a book on “pause” or on “hiatus” because I feel like I have more freedom when I say that. I know that eventually I’ll click the unpause button when my interest in the book is renewed. I’m a mood reader, so I frequently pause books because I don’t have the attention span or the excitement to continue on. I want to give all books a fair chance to see if I love or hate it, but I won’t force myself to read because I’ll end up being annoyed, and my annoyance may be projected onto the book. It’s a losing situation until I have the urge to pick the book back up.
I acknowledge that DNF is an extremely apt term that I should use because most books I put on “pause/hiatus” will most likely never get picked back up again. (I have an ever-growing TBR list that becomes longer and longer with every passing day.) However, I don’t have it in me to officially declare a breakup with a book! I just can’t. (They stare at me with their invisible googly eyes and they say such sweet things. I cannot resist!) I like knowing that one day—in the distant future—I can get back to it. I can make it work! It’s not a permanent break-up with the book; just a long break to gather myself and decide how I feel before making any rash decisions about whether I want to keep going or not.
I’ve been trying to think of scenarios where I would officially declare a book a DNF, and I really can’t think of any. I usually would decide beforehand if the book is worth reading. That saves me the trouble of “DNF-ing” a book I’m not really into and the guilt of not being able to read it. (I just feel really bad about leading them on.)
I wish I can use DNF without making a face or internally cringing every time I encounter a book that wants me to pause it. If you ever hear me use DNF, just remember that when I’m using it, I’m making Nick Miller’s face.