The Plight of the Accidental DNFs...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

If you're the type of reader that doesn't waste time slogging through books that just aren't interesting to you, then you're familiar with the purposeful DNFs (did-not-finish). But I noticed that over time I've started to experience the plight of accidental DNFs. These are books that I'm reading and am typically enjoying (though not always but still plan on reading through to the end) that I end up setting aside for a minute. And then I don't pick them back up! Maybe for a week or two I'll assure myself that I'm returning right back to it, but weeks, months, and sometimes YEARS later, I realize I never did. I'm sure this happens for various reasons. Possibly as a result of Book ADD, as Trisha puts it or just the pressure of reading other books in general. Here are a random smattering of books that I never finished for almost no good reason!!

The Book of Basketball by Bill Simmons
 This was the first purchase I made on my nook almost two years ago. I was really enjoying it when I did get to a slower part that made me put it down for a minute. Plus, at 752 pages I figured I should take a break and read something smaller or less focused on such a singular topic. This sat on my nook untouched for probably a year and a half until my husband decided to read it.

Dracula by Bram Stoker
 I just talked about this one not too long ago. Although I had every intention of continuing through anyway, I haven't had the desire to pick it back up because it's actually quite boring. I'm almost halfway through. Does it get better? My husband, who was reading this at the same time as me, who is usually good at finishing books anyway, has also not gotten very far and has resorted to other books instead.

The Passage by Justin Cronin
I didn't mean to mention my husband really at all in this post, but he applies to all three books so far! This one is out of my preferred genre, but I heard such AMAZING things so he and I planned on reading this one together. I really enjoyed part 1. My hubby finished this book. I never got any further. To me the rest was "meh". I wanted to finish so we could discuss, and to this day he'll bring up that I never followed through with this and he has things he wants to talk to me about. I'm thinking maybe it's some of these longer books that I just get bored with. Or maybe I feel overwhelmed at the enormity of it, because I really did not get far at all.

The Eleventh Day by Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan
I started reading this one earlier this year not too long after it came out. It was pretty interesting for a while. I was horrified at the section that talked about the people who believed in the various conspiracy theories. Then it slowed down and I thought I'd fit in a fiction. And that was the end of that! (This one is actually sitting next to my reading chair with a bookmark still in it, just awaiting my return).

A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
I had lots of review books and commitments to attend to when I happened to pick this one up during an innocent trip to the bookstore. After reading in the store I knew I had to take it home. And although I loved what I was reading and was super excited in anticipation of the famed power point chapter, I had to put it aside for other reading commitments. And even though I feel excited about this book, and I've heard such great things, it's like I moved forward in my reading momentum and I dropped this one way back and can't go back to pick it up! I WILL for sure though. This one is a must read for sure.

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
This is another that falls into the category of I was really enjoying it and everyone says it's great yet somehow I forgot about it and it sits unfinished. This one I started in October of 2010 on my nook while on vacation visiting my brother-in-law in Raleigh. I specifically remember this one being featured in some newsletter or ad about indie picks. I bought it on my nook, and I don't even remember at this point what happened to make me stop reading! Will also return to this one day for sure.

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
I had to know what all the hype was about. I actually started this one as well in October of 2010 on my nook while visiting the brother-in-law. Then I didn't read it again for at least a couple months. Then around January I really made a lot of headway in it. This one was a conundrum for me... I did enjoy the character driven aspect of this, although I also felt the overly pretentiousness of it. The characters were just too much... don't know what else to say about them, and I felt like asking why I should care about them. Nevertheless, I never meant for this to be a DNF. In fact, I invested too much in this one for that.... I haven't read it in close to a year, but it's possible I might return to this one.

Body and Soul by Frank Conroy
I bought this for my mother for her birthday maybe two years ago. She had been really into piano playing at the time and wanted to read a book that featured that. I did some research and found this one with rave reviews. My mom said she really enjoyed and might re-read it one day (which is rare for her) so I thought I'd love it. I actually was enjoying this too but it got a little slow, I put it down to read something else for a little, and well... by this point I'm sure you know what happened. This one is actually sitting on top of The Eleventh Day also awaiting my return. I actually do hope to finish this one as well.

Well, that's just a smattering... I only meant to include a few books but then I kept thinking of more. And I'm sure as soon as I hit publish more will come flooding into my memory. Am I the only one who does this? Is it really that weird to take a year or two to finish a book?? (Actually I'm laughing about that because it has to be weird). But am I the only one?


Juju at Tales of said...

I usually give a book a chance and if we don't click immediately, ditch it ;) So I'm quite with familiar with DNFs.

reviewsbylola said...

I ope you finish Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter. I absolutely loved it. As for The Passage, my husband loved it but I am still skeptical.

Zibilee said...

I have quite a few like this as well. One on the the life of the Tudor monarchs (nonfiction) which I was loving, and then put down for some reason. One by Dickens that I was reading for my classics project that I was loving and then had to move on from because of other commitments, and then War and Peace, which was a slog that I wasn't enjoying at all. I know exactly what it feels like to have this happen, and it's so frustrating! I do plan on going back to all of them someday... Just know that I can totally relate!

Ti said...

I did the same thing with Dracula. It was started ages ago (in college) and it still holds my bookmark and it's what... 18 years later.

The Passage was a bit slow but it was very appealing to me on many levels so I had no problem getting through it. The new book doesn't come out until like April 2012 so you still have time if you choose to pick it up again.

nomadreader said...

I love the idea of the accidental DNF. I fear Jamrach's Menagerie will become one for me! My husband devoured The Passage and loved it, but like you -- I never got part one. I'm not even sure why. I should finish. I really enjoyed both Goon Squad and Freedom (I'm in the minority on that one, I know), but they're prime candidates for accidental DNF because the narratives don't have a typical flow. My husband has been reading Freedom for ten months now, so he's in the same boat with you!

Booksnyc said...

I seem to DNF more books now since blogging - I guess because I am so aware of how many great books are out there so I am less motivated to slog through something I am not enjoying. I also have more accidental DNF's because I now put books down so I can make other review commitments and forget to get back to the original book.

Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) said...

I start and put books down way more than just not finishing it because i didn't like it. I get Book ADD big time. That is the mood I'm in now. I have picked up 5 books in the last week and just can't decide.

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