Chapter 31 - Did Not Finish
I belong to a Facebook group, Silent Book Club. It is a global community of readers and introverts where members gather in person and online to read together in quiet camaraderie. The group is filled with book recommendations, insights and opinions. If at all possible, the folks in this group read more than I do. I don't routinely jettison a book, as you know, so I wondered about other readers. I asked the group if they had books they didn't finish and, if so, what were they. I got over 237 direct responses and many threads from responses from others.
In recent history there are only three books I can really remember not finishing OR not reading all the way through. They are The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (a big DNF with Silent Book Club), The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen, and The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (I read about 150 pages in and then skipped to the last chapter). I was surprised at the variety of DNFs within the group which ranged from The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah to In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. Some people listed classics like Moby Dick by Herman Melville and Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.
The most votes for DNF books did go to The Goldfinch. The biggest complaint was that there was so much hype around it and the book was set up to disappoint us right from the beginning. I think the thing we all took away was how books speak to people in different ways. I can remember from my bookseller days really being surprised when customers told me about a book they hated which I loved. At the same time I always felt kinship with people who liked a book I had also enjoyed.
Anyway, the Facebook discussion then migrated to when do you give up on a book. The recommendations ranged from 15 pages to 10% of the total pages to my contribution - 100 pages minus my age. Everyone agreed life is too short to read a book you are not enjoying.
So how about you? What books were DNFs for you? How many pages in before you decided the book isn't for you? Please let me know!