Thursday, February 7, 2013

Book Blogger Confessions (8) ~ The DNF

Around the middle of last month, I wasn't able to finish a book. I started blogging because I wanted to share my thoughts on the books that I read. But the basis of this is reading what I want to read, so if I don't want to finish a book and I want to tell people about it, that's my right as a reader and a blogger. I realize I'm sounding defensive, but my readers deserve to know that I didn't like the book and the reasons why I didn't like it. I will be writing a review of this DNF book sometime next month probably, but for now, I'd like to talk about the different sides of a DNF in the form of questions. Keep in mind that this is my opinion about the books that I don't finish. Obviously, you have your own beliefs, these are just mine.

What kind of book fits the criteria of a DNF?
  •  Plot: this is either too confusing (meaning it skips parts or simply has moments where I can't follow), too slow, or too complicated. In this specific book, we were given the POV of the villain, which just totally killed the mood and part of the mystery of the book. It also broke up the rhythm of the plot.
  • Characters: the characters are either unlikable, I don't care about what happens to them, or they're all flat. I understand some of the minor characters being one-dimensional, but when the main ones are like that, I lose interest.
  • The Romance: I normally don't have huge issues with the romance. The instalove doesn't bother me as much as it should, but the relationship has to be believable somehow. Part of this is that the love interest has to be likable. Also, when the romance is a Twilight repeat, I just can't go on.
Do I rate/review it on Goodreads, Amazon, etc. and mark it as "read"?
YES. I don't really review on Amazon (something I should really get on), but I definitely rate on Goodreads. But, when I do give it a rating, at the same time I put it in review section below it stipulating that it was a DNF. I make sure people know that I rated it that low for a reason. And while I hate to rate something that I didn't even finish, I invested enough of my time reading something, and I believe I have a grasp of what the rest of the book is going to look like. And yes, I do mark it as read for the same reason I just stated: I've spent time reading this book that I could have read on another, hopefully better, book. 
Do I write a review of it on my blog?
Again, a big yes! My readers follow me because of my content (well, at least half do... I hope) and so I want to give them honest reviews. I used to want to follow the crowd and give a review that would please everyone. But after a year and a half of blogging, I know that I need to give my honest opinion. And my honest opinion of these books is that they weren't for me. It takes a lot of self-restraint to not just completely trash this book in my review. I just have to calmly explain why I couldn't finish it, and then give it some credit on certain things.
Bought DNF books vs. review DNF books?
Then there's the issue of whether this book you didn't finish is a review book or one that you bought. For one that you bought, it's not a big deal. Yes, you may have lost some money on it, but you can either give it away to a friend or on your blog, or you can donate it to a library, or sell it to a used bookstore. But if it's a review book, what do you do? I don't send my reviews of review books to the publishers very much, partly because I'm lazy but mostly because I forget. But I think it helps everyone involved in the book to know what could have been changed about it. The problems really arise when it's part of a blog tour, which is what this one was. I had to e-mail the coordinator of the tour and ask for a promo post instead, which I've never done. But they ask specifically not to write a review for the book if it's under 3/5 whatever-your-rating-system-is, and a DNF is either a 1 or 2 out of 5, and 2 is pushing it.
Case in point, DNF's suck, but you have to ultimately decide if you should let your readers know and have it effect the Goodreads rating of it, or just keep it to yourself and just vent to your friends. In this case, I've decided I'm going to share it with my readers and have it effect the rating on Goodreads. People need to see all angles of a DNF.

What do you guys think? Have you ever had a book that you didn't finish? Did you rate and review that book? Let me know in the comments!

3 comments:

  1. I think you hit the nail on head... If you write "DNF", you should explain yourself. Recently I almost didn't read a book that was sent to me because a few bloggers I respect trashed it or DNFed it, without much objective information. I ended up reading it and really liking it. I think that's I why I don't like doing 1 and 2 star reviews on my blog. If a book REALLY pisses me off (an example for me would be THE POWER OF SIX), I make an exception, but generally I post reviews so spread my love for books. If I hate it, I just keep it to myself, and move on. I would hate to see someone not pick up a book they would have loved because I didn't love it...

    Karis @ YA Litwit

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  2. Great post. I finish most of my books, but once in a while there's one that I can't finish. I don't rate the book on Goodreads, but I always write a little mini-review on Goodreads explaining why I wasn't able to finish it.

    I haven't blogged about any of my DNF books, but I might start bulking them together and doing group DNF reviews. Like, one post where I explain why I couldn't finish 3 specific books.

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  3. i finish most of the books i read. it's really rare that i put something down with no intention of picking it up again. even bad books usually get finished. that said, i have been thinking that once i have a few dnf i might do a little post about them. and i don't mark them as read on goodreads either. i did have a case once where a book i read for a tour was a 1 or 2 star for me. luckily though i signed up for a non-review post. if i hadn't, i probably would have written back to request one.

    i think everyone has their own policy for dnf books, which is fine with me. i take every review with a grain of salt and a negative review won't necessarily mean i won't read a book.

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According to FTC guidelines, I'm obligated to share with you that all of the books that I review on my blog are either purchased by me or given to me by an author/publisher. All of the opinions expressed in my reviews are mine and I do not receive any sort of monetary goods for writing either good or bad reviews.