It’s midnight. The story is starting to feel stale, the characters flat, and the world dull. The book is going to flatline. Code blue. You break out the paddles and desperately try to jolt some life back into it, dammit, but there’s no pulse, no hope. Time of death: 12:01.
Alright, maybe I’ve been watching too much Grey’s Anatomy lately (sorry not sorry) but I think every reader can relate to this. There are some books that start off great, but lose you as time goes on. Others never quite draw you in, and some books are just too awful to keep reading at all.
I’m incredibly stubborn, and it applies to books too. Maybe because I’m a writer myself, and I just hate to give up on someone’s story. Maybe I refuse to give up just for curiosity’s sake, or because each book finished feels like a small accomplishment.
But sometimes, no matter how many times I try to shock it back to life, there’s no hope. I just can’t make myself like this book enough to finish it.
In the book world, this is known as DNF, or Do Not Finish. But in my head, I think of it as DNR, or Do Not Resuscitate, because Grey’s Anatomy and it sounds so much cooler 🙂
It’s rare that I DNR a book because A: I’m stubborn and B: it makes me feel bad (guilty, sad, some combination of the two) but there are three major things that make me put a book down.
First would be voice. If I don’t like the voice of the writing, or the main character, so much so that it interferes with the story, I’ll stop reading. Second would be characters. If there’s no one I like enough to become invested in, I can’t really care about the story, no matter how cool. Last is one I find particularly in YA: same old, same old. By this I mean “____ was just a normal teen until ___” or some canned romance about shy awkward girl meeting mysterious bad boy and being incapacitated by his attractiveness. Or any cheesy, unrealistic romance in general (there’s a lot of those) or any weak female protagonist (especially when she’s weak because of a guy or love).
I’m struggling with this right now. I’m reading a book (won’t name any names) that has a pretty great story and world, but the romance is just such a heavy part of it, and it’s really just another bad teen romance where hey, we should be thinking about saving the world and everything, but we can’t because ooh, you’re so pretty so let’s just makeout some more and hope the world saves itself (gag)
So, what do you think? Are you a firm believer in reading a book to the bitter end, no matter how bad–or do you have a DNR pile as long as your TBR? Have you DNR’ed a book recently, and what made you stop reading?