I have a problem.
Becoming part of the bookish community has led to me reading a much wider range of books. This has inevitably led to me coming across more books that just aren’t right for me. With a TBR that just won’t stop growing, I can’t afford to waste time on books I don’t want to finish.
But as I cast the occassional book aside, whether it’s permanently or to read at a later date, I’m beginning to notice a pattern – everything I DNF seems to be a popular, highly rated book. Whether it’s The Hate U Give, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, or A Darker Shade of Magic I keep putting down a lot of people’s favourite books.
Why does this keep happening to me?
I have a few theories. The main one is that I get drawn in by hype pretty easily – this can lead to me jumping on a book everyone else is reading, even if it isn’t something I would normally pick up. Sometimes this leads to good things, like with To Kill a Kingdom, but sometimes it just ends up with me trying to trudge through a book I’m not interested in at all (sorry, THUG).
Another reason is movies. This is what happened with To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – I watched the Netflix movie (sooo cute!) then just couldn’t get through the book. I don’t mind watching bookish movies after I’ve read the source material, but if I see them first it just ruins the book for me. Especially since it was a pretty faithful adaptation – I felt like I was just going through the same story twice.
Popular Books I Did Not Finish
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
- To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
- A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab
- Graceling by Kristin Cashore
- Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
- The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin
- Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (I have since read this one but I DNF’d it for a while first)
What isn’t working out here?
It’s a question that has puzzled me for a while. With a combined total of 1,697,736 Goodreads ratings, it’s clear that huge numbers of people in the bookish community adore these novels – why am I different? Maybe it’s just to do with my reading tastes. Way before I discovered the power of the internet, I just used to pick up my next read in a discount bookstore, the supermarket, or get the ocassional battered copy off eBay. Because of this, a lot of my favourite books are more obscure ones – series that I never see mentioned on Goodreads, authors that don’t pop up a lot online. Is it just that the type of book I like most is different from what appeals to the bookish community as a whole? Or have I just been really unlucky?
I think some of it might have to do with the power of all that popularity – if I feel pressured to like something, that’ll turn me off it straight away. The high expectations will only make what might’ve been an otherwise okay read seem like a huge disappointment. But I think the key here – and the real reason I’ve DNF’d so many of these hugely popular books – is that I read these books because of the hype, NOT because I was interested in them. A lot of buzz can be great when it leads you to uncover something that sounds right up your street, but if you end up reading that book purely to join in, chances are it won’t work out too well.
What do you think? Has anyone else experienced this problem? Do you even DNF books at all? I know a few people who are super hardcore and insist on finishing every book they pick up. Of course, there’s the big question – are any of your favourite books on my list?