Why Do I Keep DNFing Popular Books? | Feat. The Hate U Give, A Darker Shade of Magic

Popular Books I Did Not Finish

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?

Love and lemons, Abi

12 thoughts on “Why Do I Keep DNFing Popular Books? | Feat. The Hate U Give, A Darker Shade of Magic

  1. I DNF books if I dislike them a lot, though I don’t think I’ve DNF-ed anything this year so far. The worst books I read were two star reads I skimmed through super fast, because I wanted to finish them but I didn’t care enough to read them properly. Also, I’m currently thinking of DNF-ing Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, but I want to know why everyone loves it, haha, so I’m trying to push through.

    Honestly, I understand how the hype can push you to pick up books, even if you are not interested in them. I used to want to read every hyped book EVER, but these days, I try to only add hyped books I’m interested in – like, Tweet Cute was kind of everywhere for a while earlier this year, and I read (and really enjoyed!) it despite not reading a lot of YA contemporary. So it was a bit out of my comfort zone, but I found the enemies-to-lovers and the tweet-war aspects so interesting that I picked it up after seeing how many people enjoyed it. Same happened with Crier’s War – it’s sci-fi(ish), which is something I’m intimidated by, but because people LOVED the romance, and I really wanted an F/F enemies to lovers, I picked it up and oh my god, I ADORE THAT BOOK.

    It’s funny you listed A Darker Shade of Magic, Schwab is 1000% one of the authors I pushed myself to read because everyone loves her, haha. I was underwhelmed by some of her books, DNF-ed others, and the only one I enjoyed is Vicious. I’m SAD The Hate U Give, SoC and The Fifth Season didn’t work for you, these are some of my favorites, haha. Great post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve learnt over my reading life that sometimes DNFing a book really is the better option. I once spent a month pushing through a book just to find out what happened with the story, only to give it 1 star and regret all the time I wasted reading it.

      Haha, funny you should mention Tweet Cute, I’ve been seeing that one a lot lately and really wanting to read it despite romance not being my usual genre at all. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it!

      Schwab really is everywhere so it felt weird to give up on one of her most popular books. I might try her others one day, but I’m not planning on doing it soon.
      Well, I have some good news for you – I did actually read Six of Crows a while after I first DNFed it and I did really enjoy it! I gave up before the story really got going the first time, but once I got into the heist I was hooked! 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I definitely don’t DNF as much as I should because honestly some books just aren’t worth it. I feel like for me, if a book is hyped up, my thoughts become influenced by others so I end up liking a book more than I normally would have.

    It’s a shame you didn’t like THUG but I’m so glad you finished SoC! It’s one of my faves – what did you think of it? This was a super great discussion! 💛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! ❤ I know, it can be really hard to let go of a book sometimes and accept that you can just put it down and never finish it. Unfortunately you usually don’t realise which books aren’t worth it until you’ve already suffered through them!

      I really liked SoC, I loved the cast of characters and all their interactions. I bought Crooked Kingdom straight after I finished it but I still haven’t read it yet – I should get on that!


  3. You make such a great point here! I feel like when I read books solely because of hype, I never get fully invested in them? I’ve DNFed Six of Crows about four times, so I get your struggle. 😂 This year, I’m made a resolution to read only the books I’m interested in and DNF anytime I’m not feeling a book. I want to read meaningful books I enjoy! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, glad I’m not the only one who didn’t love Six of Crows immediately 😂 That’s a great resolution, I’ve been doing pretty much the same thing and I’ve gotten rid of soo many books already. It’s a great feeling to put down a book you’re not enjoying and move on to something better 😄

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ugh, I can totally relate to this post. Especially the line about a TBR that won’t stop growing and wasting time on books you don’t want to finish + picking up books because of the hype rather than interest in them.
    In fact – I have actually DNFed the first three books you mention – THUG, TATBILB and ADSOM! All for different reasons, but still.
    Additionally, having said that, two of the books you mention (Strange the Dreamer and Graceling) are all-time favourites of mine! It just goes to show how different everyone’s tastes can be.
    I think I’m still going to keep picking up hyped books though – even the ones I wouldn’t have otherwise been interested in – because I am often surprised by what books end up being favourites.
    Great post Abi!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, I’m glad you can relate! Hooray, I’m not the only one in the world who DNFed THUG!

      Ah, see I had both Strange the Dreamer and Graceling on audiobook, which I think is the main reason I put them both down. I find certain stories really hard to keep track of if I’m just listening to them. Maybe I’ll have a go with a written copy one day!

      I’ll still listen to hype sometimes, but I think I’ll make sure I’m actually interested in the synopsis before I start reading! Thanks for your comment! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hello Abi!
    I agree! I’ve also felt pressured to read certain books because of the hype around them. Just because everyone loved a book, it meant that I would love it too right? Definitely not! Because of book blogging, I’ve probably added some books to my TBR just because other bloggers and book reviewers liked them. Now I’m trying to be easy on myself. If I don’t feel like reading a book I just won’t read it until I feel like it (which is sometimes never haha), and if I’ve already started a book that I didn’t feel like continuing, no shame in putting it down.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh definitely! I regularly have to go through my Want to Read shelf on Goodreads and think “did I add this book because I wanted to read it or because someone else liked it?”. I’ve definitely gotten better at putting down books I’m not feeling, but I also have this bad habit of putting them down “for later”, then having to be disappointed by them a second time around. I really need to trust my instincts and DNF books for good!

      Liked by 1 person

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