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I recommended The Time Traveller’s Wife (Sorry, I can’t bear to spell Traveller the way Niffenegger spelt it) to a tweeter the other day, and of course I told her how amazing it was. As it happens, she’d already tried reading it, and just couldn’t get into it.

I know exactly what she means. The first 100 pages or so of the book were incredibly dull, and I recall starting TTTW, and leaving it for months, for this very reason. Had I not persevered with it, I would have missed out on the most amazing book. I think I must have gone to the doctors or somewhere else where I was forced to read more of the book.

My way of handling slow burner books these days is to skim read at least 50% of said book. I call this my Fifty Per Cent Skim Read Rule. This way, if the book still sucks by the time I’m halfway through it, I can then throw it onto the DNF pile, knowing that I gave it my best shot.

How do you deal with your potential DNF books?


  • I give a book 50 pages. If it doesn’t hold my interest then I place it to the side and move on. Just like you, I try to give it my best shot, but when I have a thousand more waiting to be read, I just can’t spend the time on a “meh” book.


  • That’s pretty much what I do. As KT above said, I have way too many books that I want to read. I consider it a waste of time to try and push myself to finish a book that didn’t “hook” me, as 99% of the times I tried, I still considered the book a so-so if not outright bad, read.


  • Lately, I’ve been giving some books a lot less than 50 pages. Like, 3 pages. But I’m getting desperate to get rid of books.


  • I give most books 50 pages. If it’s a heftier tome, then I’ll bump that up to around 100. After that, how I handle DNF’s depends. Like you, if the book isn’t terrible, and I suspect it’s my mood – I’ll skim. But if I can feel my blood pressure starting to spike? If I suspect reading anymore of the story will cause me to take candy from babies and kick puppies? Yeah, I immediately set it aside without any guilt whatsoever.


  • hehe I do something similar. I skip ahead about 25% of the way on most books, and up to 50% for books that have had really good reviews. I go straight to the end if I’m interested in the outcome, but can’t be bothered to waste time on a boring book.


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