Guys, it’s straight up confession time,. I don’t like DNF-ing books, and I certainly don’t like DNF-ing Reading Challenges. I read a lot of books, and whether I love them or loathe them I always finish them. I take part in a lot of readathons and reading challenges, and I have a habit of not managing the longer reading challenges. So, with this in mind recently, I’ve been thinking is it all worth it?
Let’s start by talking readathons v reading challenges. I’m not sure if there is a technical difference, or an actual definition of each, but for me they’re different kettles of fish. A readathon is a short defined period where a group of people get together and read, there may be little challenges and games and chats along the way, but there isn’t a whole pass or fail element usually, and it’s a lot of fun. Reading Challenges run over a long period, such as a year, and have a serious of tasks to cross of by reading a book that fulfils it, and are fun to sign up and plan for.
I love a good readathon. I take part in lots a year and find chatting to people about books and reading with others really enjoyable. I like that they promote reading for enjoyment and not for an assignment, and that most aren’t about the numbers of books you read or how reputable the book you finish it, it’s all about taking part and having a great time. They can be themed and have elements within them to push you or get you thinking about pictures and songs, but at the end of the day they promote fun reading. I have no issues with readathons whatsoever. They spread the right message in the right way and I think they help encourage less voracious readers than myself to join in with the wider reading community.
Reading challenges, however, can be tougher. I love getting the list of challenges and deciding what I might be able to read for which, and planning my sign up and TBR post, but as the year/length of the challenge goes on, it gets harder and harder to stay in touch and focused with it and becomes more of a chore than a task. Is it fair? Probably not, but I don’t think I am the only one who feels this way. At 27, I know what books and genres I like. Yes, I will stray outside my comfort zone, but broadly speaking I know what I like and enjoy reading. These challenges regularly take me out of my comfort zone, and not in a good way. I sometimes find myself reading books for the sake of it, not for enjoyment, and that takes some of the fun out of reading. I put off reading books I am really excited and passionate about to read something that will tick a box. They also regularly make me feel guilty about my reading choices and the books and authors that I know. I am undoubtedly sheltered when it comes to books, I don’t know a lot about a lot of novels and authors, and I am sure I could read more diversely and wisely, but I want to be able to learn this about myself and find books that allow me to do this at my own speed and not because I am forced to.
As for DNF-ing, well, I feel like this is a dangerous and touchy subject in the book loving world. DNF-ing (aka Did Not Finish) a book is something that many readers choose to do and many readers don’t. Personally, I really struggle with the concept of not finishing a book. I have DNF-ed 2 books this year and have struggled both times, and in my lifetime don’t remember DNF-ing more than 5 or 6 books. I am very much in the camp of finishing what you have started to read. Now, this can be great when you’re reading one of those books that starts off slow and builds, culminating in a masterpiece, or at least an enjoyable book. There are books, however, that you read and feel like were a waste of time and energy.
This has got me re-evalutating whether my must finish attitude is the best to have. I am definitely reading books I am not enjoying for the sake of finishing them. I like to be able to count them on my ‘Read’ shelves but I could be reading something I would much rather read and enjoy a lot more. I know many readers using DNF-ing as a sort of review, a ‘this is not good enough to waste my time on’ or ‘I don’t enjoy this enough to keep me reading’ kinda thing, and I think I may need to think about doing this. There is a pride that comes with finishing a book I had to work at for me, but in reality, I don’t keep watching a film or TV show I don’t like, I switch it over/off. So, why then don’t I do this with books?
I don’t really have a point to all this other than to try and put my own thoughts in order. I signed up to multiple reading challenges this year, and definitely think it was too many. Next year, I am reducing it back down to just Around the Year in 52 books, a manageable and enjoyable list. I also think I might consider purposely DNF-ing books if it helps me to actually think about reading more books that I actually like instead of wasting time with books I don’t want to read.
I’d really love to hear what you think on these subjects?
Do you take part in reading challenges? Which ones? What do you think of them?
Do you DNF books? If you do, what makes you put it down?