Books I Successfully DNF’d!

orangutan list

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I give myself enough credit for DNFing. No matter how much I tell myself that it’s good to DNF, that life’s too short, that I don’t have to finish everything I start, I still feel like it’s a shameful secret that I’ve given up on something. So today, I thought I’d start working on that attitude by *celebrating* some of my successful DNFs! Who knows, maybe in the future I’ll get better at singing about my DNFs across the blogosphere. Okay *deep breaths*, it’s time to confess boast about my DNFs:

happily ever afterHappily Ever After– Let’s start off with the book that inspired this recent spate of posts- a book I embarrassingly proudly DNF’d in March. In fairness to the book, this DNF in part came down to my mood. I thought right now I needed to read contemporaries… but that just isn’t the case (apparently I’m craving something a little bit darker). However, the reason I read 70% of this and quit was more to do with the fact the story felt entirely unnecessary. I fell in love with its predecessor, Cinder and Ella, because it offered a fun Cinderella retelling. This not only lacks the charm of the original, it also feels like filler.

v is for virginV is for Virgin– annnd this one is straight up embarrassing. I DNF’d this shortly after Happily Ever After, not only failing to learn my lesson that I wasn’t in the mood for contemporary, but also going for a book by the same author (in fairness, I have liked her books before, so I imagined it was a blip). As with Happily Ever After, there wasn’t anything particularly wrong with this, I simply wasn’t feeling it.

murmur of beesMurmur of Bees– this is definitely a case of it’s not the book, it’s me. I can see, objectively, that this had beautiful writing and strong characterisation. I just… knew immediately that this wasn’t my sort of story. I struggled through about half of it, before realising I didn’t want to do it anymore.


to the lighthouseTo the Lighthouse– putting this on here is more like a promise to myself than anything else. As I’ve mentioned before, I never like stream of consciousness and so have always clashed with Virginia Woolf. This was no exception to that rule. A little part of me really thought when I put this down that it wouldn’t be forever. Yet, as I realised after finally completing Mrs Dalloway last year, that would be a BIG MISTAKE! For my own sake, I should leave well enough alone! So, for goodness sake Future Me, heed this list, stop whatever it is you think you’re doing and don’t pick this up- else you’ll make a liar of us both!

wickedWicked– oh man, this was atrocious. I *hated* the writing style and was bored throughout. I can’t actually remember if I made it to the end or not, but I’m counting it because I definitely remember abandoning it on several occasions (and if I did finish it I must’ve skimmed, because I don’t remember it!)


mysteries of udolphoMysteries of Udolpho– I picked this up solely because it’s referenced by other famous works… and it wasn’t anywhere near their league! For a book about mysteries and naughty monks, it was a very dull tome indeed. After trying to read a few very dull pages every few weeks, I realised no amount of cool points for reading the book mentioned in Northanger Abbey would make this worth my time. At least I sort of get the joke about people reading this sensational novel (it feels a bit like making fun of Twilight, maybe…?)

otherworldOtherworld– this was just completely meh. Other books have done this story better (try Ready Player One) and with more interesting characters (that aren’t simply obsessed with the length of their nose). It felt like a celebrity cashing in on a tried and tested story- it’s only a pity that they didn’t do a better job of copying other’s works.


And that’s all I’ve got! I told you I’m not that good at DNFing! Do you have any books you’ve proudly DNF’d? If so, why did you give up on them? Let me know in the comments!

83 thoughts on “Books I Successfully DNF’d!

  1. I am so bad at DNF! Probably, it’s something I need to work on, but then again…. It took me at least three attempts to get through Mrs Dalloway, I was really struggling, but I ended up loving it and was so pleased I gave it a second (and third) chance. So sometimes being persistent can be highly rewarding. Also, by principle, I hate leaving stuff unfinished 😉

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  2. I’ve read and enjoyed most of Gregory Maguire’s other fairy tale inspired books, but not Wicked. Though I finished it, it didn’t resonate with me. I’m in awe, however, of the creative geniuses who found an amazing musical in that scrap heap. So, a timeless musical derived from an overwrought book derived from a classic “children’s” tale that also birthed a classic movie. All those derivatives – I always hated calculus.

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  3. I’m with you – stream of consciousness is the worst. I want to like it! In theory I think it’s a clever narrative approach. But I’ve never found a novel using this technique that I’ve truly enjoyed. I think I need to just stop trying XD. So I do not blame you for DNFing ‘To the Lighthouse’ and, in fact, I CELEBRATE YOU for it! I hope Future You heeds your advice here. Good luck resisting it’s pull in the future. May the Force be with you.

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    1. Ahh I so agree with you!!! I don’t know what it is about that style, but my brain just switches off!! Yeah I agree… in theory- it just never works in practice for me! And yeah, I never enjoy it. Me too- I just need to accept it’s not for me. hehe aww thank you!! hahaha!! You too!

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  4. I totally DNF’d Wicked. I didn’t get even through the first chapter. I was already bored.
    I did really like V is for Virgin, though. The second book was good, too. I’m sad you didn’t like it. I haven’t read the second Cinder & Ella book. Not sure why.

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    1. Ahh yeah that book was a struggle- I should’ve DNF’d it sooner!! I can understand that- I just wasn’t in the mood for it and I needed to accept that (and I read enough of it that I know I won’t go back to it). Personally, I didn’t really like the sequel to cinder and ella though, it felt a bit unnecessary (cos I liked the way the first one ended)

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  5. OMG I’m so glad I’m not the only one who DNF’d Wicked! It sounded sooo good but I could not get into the story at all. It felt like everyone loved it and then there was lil ol me who was the odd one out. I have only DNF’d one book this year and that was The Reader. I was doing a readthon with a bunch of people but I just could not get into it. I felt bad. I wanted to enjoy it but the writing style just wasn’t my style.


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  6. I vaguely remember dragging myself through Wicked, assuming it would improve as so many had raved about (the musical version, hmm). I rarely DNF. Arithmetic by Todd McEwan, and The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King spring to mind.

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  7. I also struggle with admitting that I DNF a book. To be honest, I usually soldier on until I almost want to throw the book out the window. The only one I mind a bit less to admit I DNF is 50 shades of grey.

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  8. Finally someone who couldn’t get through Wicked! All of my friends loved this at college and I read about two chapters and I just… couldn’t do it. I still own it in case I might try again but idk if it’s worth it

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    1. Ah yes- I relate! My uni friends really liked it too- and I didn’t understand why at all! (it was only after I gave it up and told them so, they admitted that the style was weird, so I got why). I do get that- I kept my copy for years before unhauling it.

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