Question: Have You Read An Entire Book Only To Think “Why Did I Read The Whole Book?”

Posted October 23, 2014 by Carmel in Question / 100 Comments


I am incapable of DNF’ing (Did Not Finish) a book; I can count on one hand the number of times that I’ve completely given up on a title, and I don’t even need to use all five digits. LOL What can I say, my mother didn’t raise no quitter! This rule applies to all aspects of my life though, call it a personality quirk. I have however thought: “I shouldn’t start this novel because I KNOW it’s going to suck, and I am going to regret it.” This doesn’t happen to me often because I am well aware of my OCD tendencies, and as a result, research the bejesus out of possible TBR candidates, but every so often I’ll be swayed by a publicist’s suave pitch, a pretty cover, or will give a dying series one last chance *cough* RED BLOODED by Amanda Carlson, *cough* the last FOUR installments in Keri Arthur’s DARK ANGELS series, and I’ll be reading DARKNESS FALLS when it comes out in December because it’s the last novel aaaandβ€”you guessed it, I need to know how the story ends. <-- Stacy I blame you for this!

Blogging certainty hasn’t helped matters any either; I take my commitment to giving my honest opinion of all titles received for review very seriously. It’s that whole half-done thing again, as soon as I say yes, I’ve already reached the point of no return. I won’t even skim! Instead, I will force myself to read every painful word on each annoying page until the deed is done. Yes, I know I have a problem. Maybe I’m just an eternal optimist, and I can’t call it quits in the vain hope that the story might improve, or perhaps it’s that the ending gives me closure no matter how unsatisfying it may be. I’m a sucker for punishment, I really am.

Have You Read An Entire Book Only To Think “Why Did I Read The Whole Book?”

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Owner, designer and main blogger behind Rabid Reads. Avid book reader, snowboard bunny, video gamer and Supernatural fan. I love all things paranormal, werewolves especially. Oh, and I’m Canadian, eh!

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100 responses to “Question: Have You Read An Entire Book Only To Think “Why Did I Read The Whole Book?”

    • A great narrator sure does help whenever you’re struggling to finish a title, plus I might not skim, but I’ll tune-out without realizing it, so it’s kinda a guilt-free workaround.

  1. Yes. Yes, I have. It usually happens when I’m spending a lazy day reading and am able to plow through the entire book in a few hours — and have no other book options. If I set the book down and sleep on it, it often doesn’t get picked up again.

    The library has changed how I read, though, because I have, as I call it, thrown more books back to the library gods than I ever did I when I was buying books. I feel less of an obligation to finish library books. And with so many good books out there, I hate spending too much time on books that make me want to poke myself in the eye.

    (Of course, I had to start tracking the books I tossed back. Twice now I’ve picked up books that make me question my sanity because I swear I’d read it before. That’s a bizarre feeling, I’m telling you.)
    Amanda recently posted…Dark Witch by Nora Roberts {Jenna’s Review}

    • I don’t use my library much because I live in a French province, and they purposefully don’t carry English books to protect the language, so unfortunately I don’t get as many obligation-free titles as I would like. I’m the same when it comes to sucky novels, best to pound them out & get it over with rather than have to force yourself to pick ’em back up later.

  2. Nathan ( from reviewbarn)  

    Sometimes. Usually I finish a bad book for one of two reasons; it is oh, so mockable and I need to take it all in OR I just want to know how the story ends since I got x% into it. I try not to use the DNF tag too much but I do tend to drop 3/4 a year because they are not even ‘so good its bad.’
    Nathan ( recently posted…Tough Travels – Elves

  3. So, I used to feel guilty about DNFing a book. No longer. Sometimes I just figure I’m not in the mood for that particular book and will try it again later. I seem to like some series that others don’t *cough* Red Blooded LOL and can’t get into others that many of my friends like.
    When I commit to a review though, I follow through. I read a book once that I will never forget except the title, I can’t remember it now to save my life. I should have stopped because although the book was well written, the subject didn’t interest me at all. I’ll never do that again. I’m like you, I research books now before I add them, even if they’re free or on sale.

    • There’s a reader for every book, so one person’s quasi DNF can be another’s fav. That’s funny about your mysteriously titled novel that you can’t forget. It pays to take 5 minutes to properly vet your next read.

  4. i can’t DNF a book once started i have to finish it but yes sometimes i finished disapointted and feeling it’s lost time that would have been better spend on another book.
    it does not happen often as i usually check the blurb at least before buying a book or follow bloggers and friends i trust recmmendation but still it happened ( you knopw the book you find on sale and think ” hey why not”… can be a pearl … or a disaster)
    miki recently posted…Halloween event: Ghoulishly Good Monster Mash Mix Up has started!

    • Sales titles are the worst, I try not to fall for the low price tags, but it happens to the best of us. I’m happy to learn that I’m not the only one who’s incapable of DNF’ing a book!

  5. Mary from BookSwarm  

    You don’t even skim? *bows down* Yes, I’ve read books and wondered why in the world I did. Sometimes, I skim them (mostly because, even though I don’t care so much about the story, I still want to know how it ends). Sometimes, I’ll read the whole thing. It’s frustrating when you get to the end and think that, though, because I then think about what *else* I could have been reading. *sigh*
    Mary recently posted…Giveaway: The Heir Chronicles by Cinda Williams Chima #TheSorcererHeir

    • I almost broke down and skimmed THE KING, but that’s the closest I’ve ever come. And yes, it’s hard to justify reading a mediocre novel when there are SO many great ones sitting on your TBR.

  6. I am the SAME way, but sometimes enough is enough. Take the Anita Blake series as an example. LOVED the earlier books, really really dislike the later books, but I just couldn’t help continuing the series because I was HOPING they would get back to where the earlier books were. Unfortunately I am PRETTY sure that AFFLICTION did me in. I just can’t force myself to read anymore orgy scenes, over explained dialogue or talk about how unfair it is that her fellow law enforcement officials think of her as a whore.

    This also happened with the House of Night series for me, I gave up after DESTINED. I can only take so much ridiculous slang “Bullpoopie” and the horribly drawn out Neferet storyline was too much.
    StacyUFI recently posted…Enough by Matthew J. Metzger

  7. YES!
    Just the other day I finished Lailah by Nikki Kelly and had to wonder why I went through with reading the entire book when I couldn’t stand it. I had so many issues with it but I didn’t put it down or DNF it. I was like “I’ll just finish and see”. I don’t know if it was because I was subconsciously hoping it would get better or something would surprise me or what but sometimes I read books I don’t enjoy and wonder why I didn’t DNF them sooner.
    Lily recently posted…Kiss Kill Vanish: Review

    • You can Jessica should talk, Lily. Did you see her review? Needless to say, she wasn’t a fan either. LOL I’m so relieved that it never made its way onto my to-read shelf.

  8. Amber Elise  

    I cheat. I don’t publicly DNF a book, but I will put it off for years. On y GR account I think I have 7 Books as “Currently Reading” but two of those are books I started like a year ago and was like “eehhhh we’ll get back to this later.”

    I try to finish every novel – because like you said OCD but if a book is EXTREMELY painful for me, I find myself flipping pages and skimming the end.

    Amber Elise @ Du Livre

  9. I have trouble giving up on bad books, so yes I’ve often read the whole thing only to wonder why. (But that happens with movies and tv shows too, I’m nothing if not persistent) I research like mad first too! There have been very few times when I haven’t and so far I’ve been lucky. haha yes I’m that way with series too! I can totally relate to this post! It’s just like, yup that’s me, that’s so me! πŸ™‚
    Molly Mortensen recently posted…Angelbound Armageddon By Christina Bauer

  10. I rarely DNF a book since I also want to see how the book ends and if I hated the book, then I will express my thoughts on my hatred in the book through my reviews. However, there are times where I stop reading the book for a few months if I found the book to be boring and then I usually try to pick it back up again to see if my interest in the book has resurfaced again.
    Ronyell (a.k.a Rabbitearsblog) recently posted…The Sunday Post Meme (2)

    • I don’t think I’ve ever taken a several month-long break, maybe a few weeks, but any longer and I start to go a little batty. My inner voice starting screaming YOU NEED TO FINISH!!

  11. Oh I used to have the hardest time DNFing and had that thought often. But the more I go on the more I’m okay with quitting a book. I’ll review them as well if I’ve gotten to the 50% mark which is where I give up usually. If I’ve gotten to that point and you still haven’t caught me or gotten me past whatever issue I’m having I’m good calling it over. Too many other books out there (over 4000 in this house alone) I could be reading instead and enjoying. Life’s just too short to read bad books πŸ˜€
    anna (herding cats & burning soup) recently posted…Take Me, Break Me (Pierced Hearts #1) by Cari Silverwood

  12. Mogsy from BiblioSanctum  

    Oh, definitely, I’ve thought that. I’ve finished books before and wondered why the HELL did I just read that whole thing, and then remember that — oh right! — I’m a glutton for punishment and never DNF books either. So I know how you feel, we non-quitters just have to deal with knowing sometimes we bring it on ourselves, lol.
    Mogsy recently posted…Tough Traveling: Elves

    • Yup. It’s self-inflicted, but it’s a cost I’m willing to pay because for the most part I enjoy what I read, so there’s no point in letting a few bad apples spoil the whole bunch.

  13. I stop reading books all the time. I don’t want to do it, but if it’s not anything I want to spend my time with, then I put it down. Sometimes I put books down in order to read another for review, and have every intention of going back, and just never do. I do go back at times though, and sometimes I am really glad I did!

    • Once I put a novel down I never go back to it which is why I try avoiding that at all costs. I don’t give second chances to the same title, only authors & series.

  14. Like you it’s difficult for me to DNF a book, I can’t do that. I need to know how it will end and I keep hope that everything will change and that I’ll love it at the end. Well doesn’t happen much lol but at last I try. I know I should stop before but maybe one day. I did it the other fay for a sci-fi book becaus I really had a big problem but otherwise I can only think of 3 books in my life I DNFed.

    • Only 3 books, eh? That’s a pretty good record. I can’t remember the ones I gave-up on off the top of my head, but if I had to guess I’d say that my DNF count would be similar to yours.

  15. I commend you on your commitment πŸ™‚ I was like this about three years ago where I would throw a book because it made me deal with the residue of DNF shame….It happened so rarely. My latest was Trial of Fire where I read to 60% and then was so angry that I didn’t DNF earlier. So now I will DNF earlier and avoid some rage! My first DNF was 3rd book of Chicagoland Vampires – I just couldn’t take one more minute of Merit…
    Lorelle Page recently posted…Pitch this! My query research

    • Aaww, that’s too bad that you gave-up on Merit, I actually thought that the first three installments were some of the best in that series. I don’t suffer from extreme rage, but in your case DNF’ing is probably a good thing. LOL

  16. Gosh yes. Most times if a book is that bad I finish it because I always ‘hope’ that it will get better at some point. but a few times it just didn’t and I really hate writing a bad review so I try to say what I did like about it and if I can’t find something good about the book I don’t write a review because like I said I really hate writing negative reviews. I don’t even write all that many book reviews but there have been a few books that left me thinking, wth did I just read.
    Mary Kirkland recently posted…Fright Night Blog Hop and a Giveaway!

    • I don’t mind writing negative reviews, it comes with the territory, however I do try to balance it out by finding a few nice things to say about each book. They can never be ALL bad.

  17. The age old debate. My friend and I went to school together to be English teachers and we always tell kids to put a book down and read something else if they don’t like it but we are never able to do the same. Hypocrites! It’s rare that I feel that urge to just throw a book aside, in part because I’m like you and do research before the read to see what I’ll think but also because I don’t like that I’ve wasted time on a story I’ll never know the end of. Ugh, recently though, I thought I was going to die trying to finish…(I’ve blocked the named…)Splintered. That book has made me re-think my policy. It was such an utter waste of my life that I might just give up and move on from now on, because my time is worth so much more. Of course, most of my books are library books these days so it’s easier when I’ve not put down the money.

    • LMAO! Do as I say, not as I do, right? πŸ˜‰ Research is key, although there are times when even that can steer you wrong. I’m sad to learn that Splintered was such a struggle for you, I actually liked that one quite a bit, but then again I listened to the audiobook, so maybe it was the narrator.

    • One of these days I’ll learn the trick t o DNF’ing, but I honestly don’t see that happening anytime soon. Maybe if I get a string of bad titles, however that might also push me into a reading slump, so let’s not and say we did.

    • At least you give books a fair shot, that’s really the best an author can hope for. You’re right about there being too much boring crap in our lives though.

  18. Gosh YES! Red Blooded was so meh!

    Before blogging I do not DNF, while blogging I learned how to because I just realized my time is valuable and why should I spend it on mediocre/sucky books?! Except if it’s for a tour or I already said YES to the author. Although I have done that too, DNF a book request.

    Ok so I’m a quitter! LOL

    But only when it comes to reading.
    Braine Talk Supe recently posted…Liked It: Liulf by Victoria Danann + Giveaway

    • I am relieved to hear you say that, Braine. I was doubting myself after Dolly’s comment, but then again the majority of reviewers can’t be wrong. You make a good point about your book blogging time being precious.

  19. Mel from thedailyprophecy

    Yes. I’m good at DNF-ing lately and I do it often with books I dislike, but sometimes I’m not sure how I feel about a book and when I finish it, I wonder why. Those typical ‘meeeeeeh’ books.
    Mel recently posted…Finding a balance.

  20. There have been a few books that I wish I DNF’d but instead stuck around to the very end. It’s almost like I was rubbernecking– like the book was a train wreck, but I just could not look away. By the end of the novel, I ended up feeling really angry that 1. I spent money on the book and 2. I wasted so much time on said book (because I’m a really slow reader).
    Jackie recently posted…Batman: the Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller

    • I’ve read my fair share of trainwreck reads, and sometimes they actually work-out, so I’ve learned not to discount a title because of that. Those cases are far and few between mind you.

    • Maybe she should have also taught me how to let things go, hmmm? Unfortunately, that wasn’t in her nature, and now here I am, stuck reading mediocre books. Yeah, I’m totally blaming this one on her. πŸ˜‰

  21. I used to have the same policy that if I was reviewing a book, I’d at least read until the end so I could give my honest opinion. But what I would find is that I would get into reading slumps and get even more upset/annoyed at a book if I pushed through and realised it really was as bad as I felt, which I could have avoided if I had DNF’d it. Great discussion topic Carmel!
    Jeann recently posted…The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey Review: Sci-fi Zombie Overload

  22. This question made me laugh outloud!! I have had a few book where I finished and though ..ughh.. The PC Cast books are a good example. All about vampires. The first 4 were good then I read like three more and was like what am I even still reading these for!!
    Angie recently posted…Sunday Post

    • Hopefully you’re little LOL moment didn’t get you too many dirty looks. Hehe! You’re not the first one to mention PC Cast’s series in your comment, so I’m definitely going to avoid those now.