Why I Finish All My Books
I don't particularly believe in the concept of DNF (a term used by book bloggers and readers to refer to "did not finish" reads.) Do I have DNFs? Probably, although I won't know for a few years.In my experience blogging and reading, especially as I've begun to curate my taste more carefully, I don't encounter many reads that I put down. I don't encounter many reads that I dislike either, but that may be either due to my sweeping love of many genres or my pinpointed awareness of my taste. Or maybe just pure luck.It's something that I see a lot around the blogosphere. I know some bloggers who used to have memes and features about their DNF reads - "DNF Friday", for one. Those have mostly died out, but they always used to make me think. Am I just not as picky?The main reason I don't ever say I had a DNF read, or that I didn't finish one, is that I'm an eclectic reader. I'm never quite sure whether to label a book as DNF or not because I'm not sure when I'll get back to it. If I put a book down, I may pick it up later that day, later that week, later that month, never. While I classify myself as maybe being in the middle of five or six books at once, realistically I'm probably at around twenty books at a time. There are books that have grown to be my absolute favorites that I started early in a year and finished in the fall, simply because other books demanded my time - other activities took over my efforts.It doesn't make me enjoy them any less. It doesn't mean that they're boring. But because I'm SUCH a mood reader, I'm always reading bits and pieces of books rather than the entire volume. (It's a bad habit, but I don't mind.) I'll dive into one read, then decide halfway through that I'm in a high-fantasy mood. Read a chapter, then put it down for a classic I'd love to finish.I'm very back and forth. I can finish a book in an hour (shoutout to George by Alex Gino - a book that took me from midnight to 1 A.M. to read but still had a profound effect on me) or I can finish a book over the span of several months or years. Especially with classic books.I don't think all my reading needs to be fast. I don't mind a slow read because I'm very much a language person. I can handle purple prose, or drawn-out monologues. I can pace myself enough. Sometimes, I mark up classics in chunks of fifty pages (like I did with For Whom the Bell Tolls for book club in March) and read a section a day. Does that make me enjoy them any less - seemingly forcing myself to get through them? I don't think so. It's just a different experience than a one-session read (although I recognize that others might not enjoy that experience.)Another reason is that I think I've gotten to the point where I know what books I like. So if I pick a book from a bookstore - or request a review copy from a publisher - I'm relatively open to enjoying it. I think I'm pretty good about liking what I request or read (although sometimes I like them a little too much - like I said, I'm pretty good about knowing what I'll read but sometimes I get suffocated by the size of my TBR - to be read - list.)And therefore, I finish them. It may not be right after I pick it up or buy it, but I think I've finished most of the books in my library. Sometimes I'm waylaid by a book I end up hating (most recently, The Fall by Bethany Griffin, although that was last year - it's been a year since I've read a book I really didn't like.) It happens. Sometimes a book fits all the prerequisites in my mental checklist of a good read, but it just doesn't live up to it. But if Bethany Griffin wrote another book, I'd probably read it just because I enjoyed Masque of the Red Death, her first novel. One bad book doesn't ruin an author for me, although it does make me significantly more hesitant.Yet another thing? I'm a big believer in needing the right format, or the right timing.There are books I would probably have hated if I'd picked up a few years ago. There are a few books that I hated a few years ago and now adore. Sometimes, I can tell I'm just not in the right mindset to enjoy something, and I don't want to spoil a book by forcing it.Sometimes, I don't like reading a book in print but I love it on audio. The first time I read The Raven Boys, I thought it was okay. I didn't connect as well to Stiefvater's characters as I did in her previous series, and therefore I didn't pick up the rest of the series. When I got my concussion last year, I wanted a good audiobook and I picked up the series on a whim from my local library. I ended up finding the subtleties in the series much more enjoyable, and becoming addicted to Will Patton's slow, charismatic narration. I actually talked with Jen about this phenomenon, and she blogged about it over at Books and Other Happy Ever Afters.I guess what I'm trying to discuss is the idea that I like to give books the benefit of the doubt. There's usually something that I enjoy about a book, if I hate something else. I tend to put books down and pick them back up again a LOT. I think it's a territory that comes with being a rereader as well. There's a give-and-take behind it. And that's why I finish all my books...eventually.