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Monday, April 5, 2010

Why DNF is Rare for Me

(This is a somewhat continuation from my other post)

So you may or may not have read Kristi's (The Story Siren) post about the question if she ever posts a negative review. There's a line there that struck me: "I frequently evoke the 100 page rule. If a book doesn’t grab my attention in the first 100 pages, it gets set aside." I know so many bloggers and readers alike who set this standard when it comes to how much time and effort they'll put into reading a book. In some ways I wholeheartedly agree with this limit; there's a reason why if the first so-so pages does not interest me, most likely than naught the book will never interest me after that. But, yes there is a but, it has happen.

Personally, for my reading I never set this limitation if I can. I've come across books that took more than 100 pages to pique my interest. A fairly short, but from the top of my head list includes:
  • The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan. Took around halfway through the book for me to actually care. (4 stars)
  • Graceling by Kristin Cashore. This definitely took more than 100 pages for me to get into! (5 stars)
  • The Maze Runner by James Dasher. Around midpoint like The Demon's Lexicon. (4 stars)
  • The Mortal Instrument series by Cassandra Clare (Ha! This took City of Bones, and half of City of Ashes before I realized why so many people love this series. She's also coming to Philly May 8th at the Free Library if anyone's interested. I'm there so let me know if you're coming! (4 stars)
These are just a couple titles that I loved that probably would not have been given a chance if I set that 100 page limitation. Granted there are times when I wish I had given up on some books because the first several chapters were an accurate way to tell if I'll like the book. Because of my stubbornness this usually means that I post more indifferent and negative reviews than most bloggers, but on occasions I find books that deserves a place on my bookshelf and that is what fuels me to read past those 100 pages.

To the people who sets this guideline, I do not disagree with you. This is just the reason why I do not do it if possible.

P.S. I really had no idea what pictures should accompany this post so I did the whole 'there's hope in the end' or 'a light at the end of the tunnel' motif. Cheesy and cliche, but somewhat fits.


  1. I have to admit that I don't always finish books I read - and occasionally I even feel like I should review them because of that (although I don't always feel comfortable doing this). But you are so right in saying that the first 100 or so pages are not always indicative of how the last 100 pages are going to be.

    My rule of thumb is to struggle through 50 pages - no matter how bad the writing is. But sometime I give up 200 pages in! Basically, you can't follow the rules all the time unless you want to completely suck the soul out of reading!

    (P.S. I found the whole "light at the end of the tunnel" thing rather charming... and hysterical. It works!)

  2. I look at my TBR mountain and think I can not waste time with books i do not enjoy. And while this is true - if it is a review book I always try hard to get into the book - even skim the pages that are not holding me to see if the book will grab me - and like you, sometimes it does and I have even gone back and read the first part then as I finally get where it is going. This is rare - but does happen :)

  3. Hahah! Light at the end of the tunnel. You're silly.

    I agree with both principles. There are books that I can get in to by the end and there are some that I know in those first 100 pages that I am not going to finish the book (like the stupid porn-not-paranormal book I just tossed aside).

    I have a few books right now that I have put aside because I can't get into them (Iron King, Fire and Fragile Eternity) but I plan on going back to at some point to suffer them out. It's rare that I don't finish a book at all. It has to be REALLY bad (ie: Witch Fire, Anya Bast).

  4. I rarely put down books as well. Even if I'm not really liking them. One for me that I'm glad I didn't was Patrick Ness's Choas Walking, the first one. It took me a while to get into, but I was sooo happy when I was finished.

  5. DNFs are pretty rare for me as well, I tend to struggle on for the exact same reasons you listed.

    Like, The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner, I just wasn't engaged by the beginning or the writing, however, the end made it all worth the struggle for me.

  6. I definitely agree with you about the Maze Runner. It took me awhile to get into it. But, in the end, I'm glad that I stayed with it.