The time it was about DNFing books

Posted May 20, 2016 by Stacee in Discussion Post / 42 Comments

Hiiiiii!! So, I’ve never posted a discussion post before.  I have one drafted about giveaway cheaters, but that’s a whole separate thing and I don’t know if I’ll ever actually post it.  Anyhoo.  Settle in for what is almost guaranteed to be a hot mess.

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A few days ago, Christina and I were talking about a book that I had just finished and she was about to start.  Somehow the conversation morphed into a brief discussion about rating books that you DNF.  We talked about how we felt about 1-starring {she gives zero fucks, sometimes I feel bad} and our overall feeling about if we rate a DNF.

Christina said she doesn’t because to her, it doesn’t feel right or fair to the book.  What if the book turned a corner and something happened that would have made her rate it 2 stars, but she didn’t make it that far?

For me, I wondered if DNFing a book = earning a 1-star.  If there isn’t anything holding me to continue the book, shouldn’t that warrant a 1-star more than something I finished and just didn’t care for?  I used to rate my DNFs.  I had several people leaving comments on my reviews about how it was shitty that I left a review for something I didn’t finish.  So I caved and stopped.

I took to Twitter the same day, putting a poll up.

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Thanks to anyone who answered this and then gave more information.  There were a lot of people who said that rating a DNF depends.  If they’re quitting before a certain point, they won’t.  If there is an unforgivable scene/writing error/pet-peeve, they will.

I was swayed by the idea that yeah, maybe it is shitty to rate them…until one person told me that the reviews on Goodreads aren’t visible unless they’re rated.  If you want to see unrated reviews for a book, you have to scroll through all of the other posted reviews to get to them.  And let’s be honest…no one is going to do that.

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I’m sure you all know that I rarely review here on the blog, so 99.99% of my reviews are posted to Goodreads and Goodreads only.  So that would mean that if I don’t rate something, other readers might not see it.

Before I DNF, I try to make it to at least 30% into the book. If I haven’t found something to keep my interest, I’ll go read the last chapter or two {if I haven’t already}.  If the ending doesn’t compel me to skim through the remainder of the middle, then I’ll DNF.  However, I always always always DNF immediately if there’s a rape scene, regardless of how far along I am.  The book will be DNF’d, and thrown if there’s a rape scene witnessed by any of the MCs and no one does anything about it. That’s my hard limit.

Ultimately, I guess it comes down to personal choice, but I’m thinking I might start rating them again…

What about you? Do you rate DNFs? Why or why not?

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42 Responses to “The time it was about DNFing books”

  1. I don’t rate DNFs. In fact, I remove them from my Goodreads shelves altogether. I don’t think it’s fair, just because I didn’t connect with something doesn’t mean others won’t. I also try and keep in mind that technically, I am not the audience that the book is written for. For example, I did not finish Code Name Verity, which most people loved. I don’t feel I can fairly rate something that I didn’t even get halfway through. But, I will often do a post on my blog about books I have not finished and why it was hard for me to connect.

    • Stacee

      All valid points! I try to keep in mind that I’m not the target demographic as well, but it’s easy to forget.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!!

  2. I don’t rate DNFs. If I DNF a book, I do two things. One, I write up a “review” post for my blog. Where I usually insert rating, I simply mark it as DNF. Then I write about why I DNF this book. Two, for sites like Goodreads, I made an exclusive shelf (in addition to the existing three “To-Read, “Read”, and “Currently Reading”) called “DNF”. When I don’t finish I book, I throw it on that shelf. I don’t give it a rating because one star actually has meaning. One star means I hated it, but I still finished it. So something kept me pushing forward. So rating it one star would not work for me. This was a great topic post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Elizabeth @ Book Yabber recently posted: Middle Grade Review: RAVENOUS by MarcyKate Connolly
    • Stacee

      I also have a DNF shelf on Goodreads. I think if I reviewed on the blog, I would probably continue to not rate DNFs.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!!

  3. YES! I still rate DNF even though I hated them and just COULDN’T anymore. I want to talk about what I didn’t like so I can at least share my thoughts about it with other bloggers. Maybe I could sway them away form a potentially painful read or maybe I could still introduce them to an EPICAL book. It all depends. ;) AWESOME DISCUSSION!

    • Stacee

      Agreed! I try not to blast the book, but at least highlight the things that didn’t work for me. I try really hard not to write a completely negative review.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!!

  4. Irma J

    I’m a reader not a bloger and I don’t rate DNFs. I just state where I have stopped reading and that’s it. It doesn’t seem fair to rate a book that you haven’t even finished – but that’s me.

    • Stacee

      Do you have a specific amount that you try to read before DNFing or do you just know when a book isn’t working for you?

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  5. Emma Rose

    The only time I will rate a DNF book is if it’s a book I got in exchange for a review. Like you, I HATE leaving bad reviews even if I finished the book and hated it. If I DNF, I usually remove it from Goodreads and don’t post anything on Amazon. But if it’s a review book that I need to leave a review for, then I will leave it on Amazon.

    • Stacee

      So if it’s a book that you received for review, you will rate and review the DNF and post the review to Amazon? I’ve been wondering about that as well. I haven’t been adding my DNF review to retail sites, but I just DNF’d something that everyone is losing their minds over and I’ve been considering adding the review as there is a horrible scene that seems to be getting glossed over.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  6. If I start reading a book and it is not my “thing”, as in I thought it was straight SciFi, but it turned out to be some Paranormal/Dystopian/Horror/SciFi mash-up, I don’t even list the book on Goodreads at all because my genre preferences are not book’s fault. I hate when I see DNFs of that kind rated! I have seen too many, ” this book was written really well, but I don’t care for Horror, so I couldn’t finish – one star.” What the hell is that? If they don’t like Horror, why are they even reading it in the first place? I have had some oeople tell me it was because they were asked to review it, but hell, I used to do music reviews and if I was sent to a Bluegrass concert (and I loathe Bluegrass) and the band was fab I couldn’t give them a bad review because I don’t care that genre. Why do people not get that?

    Now, I do rate DNFs that are so horribly written I can’t read anymore. If the author’s writting is amature, cheesy, or cliche it’s going to be that way through tne entire book. Bad book bad rating. I also rate DNFs that I stopped reading because nothing was happening, but I will hop and skip through the rest of the book to see if/when it started getting going. To me anything around 30% is two star, but around 50% or more is one star. A book that takes that long to get good is bad in my opinion. Why do I think those books should be rated? Because most serious reviewers are not going to waste their precious time finishing these books and the rating would be the same if they did finish it, right? So if all of these reviewers thought it was a bad book, but didn’t rate it, then the book will be overstated with good reviews and look like a good book when a lot of reviewers thought it was so bad they couldn’t finish it. Not rating it skews the rating cumulative unfairly in its favor. :)

    La La in the Library recently posted: TOP FIVE FRIDAY #23
    • Stacee

      All valid points, I completely agree. I’ve also been getting irritated that people are allowed to rate a book that hasn’t even been released yet. Like the author is still working on it, but it’s been rated 1 star.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  7. I don’t rate DNFs only because of the same point you heard, that since I didn’t finish it entirely how do I know it doesn’t get better?! I used to rate them long ago but I stopped over a year ago and it works fine for me. About GR not showing the reviews…I guess I’ve never noticed that since I pay more attention to my friends reviews than I do the community overall and those still always show up like normal. That wouldn’t change my mind on rating but I could see where it would yours since you mainly review there. I normally just do a DNF post every so often on the blog and talk a little about the books I DNFd and why I did it.

    • Stacee

      I’ve also thought about doing a DNF post, but I really don’t want to get started on reviewing here. Partly because my reviews are so short and I’m so lazy. LOLOL

      It does make sense that my GR friends would still be able to see the review even if it wasn’t rated. Do you have a certain point that you have to make it to before you DNF?

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  8. Betul E.

    I DNF all the time. I just can’t continue reading a book if it doesn’t hold my attention and bores me to death. I have so many books on my TBR list that I can’t spend my time reading and finishing a book I am going to probably rate either a 1 or 2 star. I will skim through books if I don’t like it and the moment that happens I stop.

    As for ratings. I don’t rate the books I didn’t finish. In my opinion it’s not fair to rate a book you haven’t completed. Who knows there could be a crazy plot twist that can make you LOVE/LIKE the book! So I just add them to my DNF shelf on Goodreads.

    • Stacee

      I try not to DNF. I try to find something to hold on to and push through it. Unless it’s something I find unforgivable {like a rape scene}. Do you try to make it to a certain point in the book before you DNF?

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  9. Steph

    This is a business. Someone’s livelihood. The means by which they feed their children. My opinion does matter, and my opinion could make or break someone’s decision to purchase that novel. My opinion can also send an author into a deoression, making them question and doubt everything they know about writing. I’ve seen 1 star ratings in books because they didn’t end with a HEA. Because there’s a law that says all books have to end satisfyingly and happily? I’ve seen DNF ratings that say this girl was too slutty- a book that was clearly about a promiscuous teen and her jorrney. WTF did you expect?
    My point is, my opinion can severely mess with someone’s life. So I choose my words carefully. I never rate Anthony less than 3 stars. And if I DNF, I give a valid reason.

    • Stacee

      All valid points. I’m intrigued that you don’t rate anything lower than 3 stars. How does that work? If you’re not liking a book or connecting to it, you’ll just DNF instead?

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • Stacee

      Do you have a certain point that you try to make it to before you DNF?

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  10. Jenn

    I’ll rate my dnf. I will normally make it to the halfway point or more in the book before I give up just incase it picks up. In my reviews I always write what parts I liked and the reason why I couldn’t finish but I never trash the book.

    • Stacee

      I like that you make it to the halfway point! By then, you should definitely know if you’re going to enjoy the rest of it.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  11. I will always rate my DNF unless it’s because I can’t handle the topic (e.g. the violence is too much and is triggering my anxiety). Other than that, I just rate the part that I’ve read, and I’ll review that part. I have no issues with this, but I will definitely try to get to 25% at least.

    • Stacee

      So you don’t rate them, just add them to your “not for me” shelf?

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  12. I do it on a case by case basis. If I read less than half the book, I normally won’t rate it. However, I’ve rated a DNF 3 stars before because I could tell it was a wonderful book for the intended audience (very sweet MG) but it just wasn’t working for me for personal reasons. On the flip side, I’ve rated a DNF book 1 star before because what I read was so completely horrible that it earned that one star. I didn’t see it turning around bc it was due to writing style, vocab choice, characterization, and people deserved to see that opinion too (I wrote it diplomatically at least). So yeah. I go back and forth, and really only rate if I have a strong opinion or read more than 50% of it.

    Morgan @ Gone with the Words recently posted: Review: My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows
    • Stacee

      50% seems to be a great stopping point, but sometimes I just can’t make it that far. I do like that you don’t have a set rule that you go by.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • Stacee

      Agreed! I just like that everyone has such a strong opinion on what they do.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!!

  13. Hugs. <3 Lovely post Stacee. Thank you so much for sharing about this. You are awesome :) I don't rate DNF books. But I do write a long DNF review, haha. But it isn't really seen? Gaaah. That upsets me a bit. Sigh. But I still don't want to rate it, since I did not read the book. Hmm.

    Carina Olsen recently posted: Waiting on Wednesday #241
    • Stacee

      Now that I looked at GR, the search options for ratings are only 1-5 stars, so if a book isn’t rated, there isn’t a way to see it. Unless you scroll through the reviews and even that I’m sure of.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!!

  14. I rate my DNFs. I always try to read at least 100 or more pages before I give up on a book. In fact if I make it though your book and didn’t like it I usually give it two stars because I finished it. Something keep me interested enough to finish it. I loved this post and hope you do another blog post like this.

    Nicole Harris recently posted: Review: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
    • Stacee

      This was my exact thought: if I kept reading it, there must have been something compelling me to continue so that has to equal 2 stars.

      I have a couple of ideas for other discussion posts, I’m thinking about doing one a month, hopefully that will work out. LOLOL

      Thank you for reading and commenting!!

  15. I usually don’t rate a DNF book unless I read at least 50% of it, because I feel 50% is enough to make a valid opinion on the book. And if you’re DNF’ing the book 50% in then clearly there’s a reason the book is not working for you.

    However I usually DNF books 10-20% in so I don’t have many DNF books that I’ve reviewed or rated. Because personally 10-20% isn’t enough to have an opinion on a valid book I think.

    As foor goodreads, I have a DNF shelf so the book doesn’t go on my ‘Read’ shelf.

    Jordon @ Simply Adrift

    Jordon @ Simply Adrift recently posted: My favourite books set in space!
    • Stacee

      The halfway point and a shelf on GR seems to be the common thing for everyone.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!!

  16. Tsuki

    I have a sort of specific policy about DNFing (but nothing is set in stone).

    Less than 10% completed-I don’t mark it at all. I don’t add it to Goodreads, etc. I never rate it.
    10-40%–depends on the scenario. If it just didn’t work then I leave it off ratings, etc. If it angered me or did something horrible or whatever, I rate it 1 star and state why I rated it that. I don’t just rate it low. I explain why.
    40%+–ends up on Goodreads and is rated. Explanations may occur.

    I feel like under 10% I can’t really judge a book. Usually it’s the author’s style or the flow of language that turns me off. Or it reads like a five year old wrote it. Or there are loads of typos. Whatever. At that point it’s just not for me and I move on. After that it takes more judgment. Great discussion post.

    • Stacee

      That’s a really great breakdown. It makes sense and it’s fair to both the book and future readers.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!!

  17. Well, it depens.. If I borrow the book from friend and I did not finish it, I will not give star or review.. But it is mine and I often gave 2 or 1 rating star.. Or i did not gave star but leave review and said that I can not finish this book.. But if I dnf because the book is boring for me, well i did not gave star/review..

    Hana Bilqisthi recently posted: Wabah Review: Cress
    • Stacee

      Just curious: why does borrowing it from a friend change if you rate it?

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  18. Megan @ Reading Books Like a Boss

    I very rarely DNF books, like you. I have to reeeaaalllllyyyyyy, really bored to stop.

    I don’t rate my DNF reviews mostly because I do give out 1-star review. I feel strange giving a book I didn’t finish and a book that I did finish the same rating. It doesn’t seem fair. That’s interesting about Goodreads not showing non-rated DNF reviews. I’m not sure that sways me enough to start rating DNFs though.

    • Stacee

      Yeah, I didn’t realize that GR didn’t show them until someone told me. But it does make sense.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!!

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