When is too soon to DNF?

Hello, all! I hope you’re having a great Monday.

Today, instead of a review, I wanted to talk about leaving books unfinished.

The last book I failed to finish was Dune, by Frank Herbert. I adore sci-fi, and this book is so well-loved, so it pains me to say that I could not make myself get into it. I quit just short of the halfway point. I realized that I had invested my time with wooden characters, none of whom I could connect with, and their story, which felt like the literary equivalent of slogging through knee-deep sands on Dune itself.

In short: it was not for me.

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I think it’s important to give every book a fair shot. If I dropped every book that hadn’t fully engaged my interest within a chapter or two, there are some really beautiful stories I would have missed. The Way of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson, has such intricate world building. It is, by necessity, slow at times, but I’ve read and reread that book without ever feeling the urge to put it down. Something about Dune was different for me, though. It felt very much like it was prioritizing the world building over the story. The vignettes of historical documents also removed any tension from the story. It’s one thing to assume that the hero will come out on top because heroes often do; it’s quite another to be simply told that he will.

I’ve slogged through so many books that failed to live up to my expectations, waiting for them to get better on each and every page. More and more, I find myself unable to do that. There are so many books sitting on my shelf that I’m genuinely excited about reading, and I only have time for so many of them.

So, let’s discuss!

What was the last book you didn’t finish and why?

Is there a cardinal sin that will make you drop a book every time?

How soon is too soon to call it quits?

How much of a book do you need to read to feel you can give it a fair review?

If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.

-Oscar Wilde