When I was sixteen, I prided myself on finishing every single book I picked up to read. It didn’t matter how bad it was, or how much I hated it, if I started it, I was going to finish it. That melodramatic Victor Hugo epic Les Miserables? Every. Last. Word.
In my twenties, a few started slipping through the cracks. I blame it on schoolbooks. There was no way I was going to read the C++ manual front to back. I might have died of boredom.
My twenties saw me finally abandon some fiction, too. The first I remember was Twilight. I tried, you guys, I really did. I got all the way to the last one. Then there was that whole pedophilia thing, and I just… couldn’t. I ran screaming in the opposite direction and never finished the book. That particular hardcover is the single book in my house that gets no respect whatsoever. Which is to say that we use it as a doorstop.
In my thirties, there have been things like the abusive BDSM series that everyone knows. I think that one was my breaking point.
That was when I realized that when I finished a bad book, I didn’t feel accomplished. I felt annoyed, or ripped-off, or outright angry. And it wasn’t like I didn’t see it coming. I can usually tell in the first few chapters whether a book is going to work for me or not. So why am I wasting my precious reading time on things I hate? So that I can be angry and go leave nasty reviews on the work of authors who spent time and effort on those works I hate? I hope not. That’s not the me I want to be.
tl;dr: I have embraced the DNF. Life’s too short for bad fiction. If I decide at any point that the book is going to get a bad review from me, I’m putting it down.