At what point do you DNF (did not finish) a book, and what makes you decide to DNF? There's a handy rule I read once: subtract your age from 100, and that's the page you DNF a book if it's not working for you. So, if you're 35, you would DNF the book at p.65; if you're 65, you DNF at p.35.
A bit arbitrary, especially as some books can start off with a slow burn and then build up to a bonfire. So, I try to give the book 50 pages. Within the first 10 pages, though, I can usually tell if it's for me or not. Am I dying to get to my hour of early morning reading? If the answer is nope, I might call it quits at page 10 or 20. Sometimes, I hang in there because the slightest thing can fire it all up - the author starts to bring plot threads together, or the character that seemed a little one dimensional is suddenly quite appealing.
What makes me DNF a book is any of the following:
- too many adverbs - unnecessary and distracting - and too many cliches.
- I find myself skimming paragraphs.
- wondering where the heck the story is going. I want to be immersed in a world, not be confused by it.
- not engaging with the main character
- if I check Goodreads before I hit page 20. Normally, I never look at reviews until after I've finished, but if I'm considering a DNF, I'll snoop to see if other readers may have felt the same way about the book.
- anything too far-fetched, unbelievable, outlandish, ridiculous.
- the writing style doesn't leave me thinking, 'damn, wish I could write like that.'
- if I'm not asking myself, 'what is going to happen next?'
- life is ugly enough, so I don't want to read about rapes, serial killers, immoral characters, dominating males, pointless or excessive violence, animal cruelty.
- if the author hasn't done the research, and it's obvious. If the author doesn't care, I don't either.
- bedroom scenes that go on and on and then start again pages later.
- simpering female characters or stereotypical macho males.
How about you? What makes you DNF a book?