Nov 20 2012 8:03am

What’s the Shortest Amount You’ve Read Before Deciding You Won’t Finish?

Woman Not Reading

We've asked When Does Your TBR Change to DNF, and now we want to know the fewest number of pages (or paragraphs!) before deciding the book you're reading is the book you won't be finishing.

So what's the shortest amount you've read before declaring your book a DNF (Did Not Finish)?

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Lynne Connolly
1. Lynne Connolly
One page. It revealed the kind of plot I don't like. But usually, I try to give a book at least three chapters. If it isn't working for me by then, then it's probably time to give up.
Megan Frampton
2. MFrampton
@lynnec, you are a nicer person than me--I once DNFed a book (not a romance) within two paragraps. Recently I DNFed a romance within three pages. Just not worth the time, I could tell.
K.M. Jackson
3. kwanawrites
A page and a half or so. It's one of those things where I said I was in a bad mood and I will go back, but nah, I know I won't. I do try and put in more say 2 -3 chapters. I feel if I get past a certain point even if I don't like it, I'm invested and have to see the thing through. It's a dangerous dance.
4. CdnMrs
About 2 pages in. The character said something off the cuff that involved a racial slur. It wasn't necessary or called for or specific to the character so screw that! I shut the book.
Tara Gelsomino
5. Taragel
I always try to read an excerpt before I go to the trouble of obtaining the book and yesterday I read one--a recent New York Times bestseller at that--and couldn't stop rolling my eyes after the second paragraph. The accomplished doctor heroine turned into a blithering, insecure, melodramatic idiot right before my very eyes when a coworker she had a crush on walked into the room. Uh, no. NOPE.
6. Arthemise
A book has to be pretty bad for me to not give it a shot. I tried a YA novel, and the first chapter involved the heroine getting bullied and not standing up for herself. Nope, I can't read that, even if she redeems herself later. Blech.
7. larainey
Twilight I couldn't even get thru the prologue. It was just so bad. So like a page and a half.
8. Rebe
4 chapters. Got 50 Shades from the library and Ana was so insecure and clumsy I just couldn't stand it.
9. KateNagy
One line. It was a Regency in which a pretty young miss at a ball spied a tempting morsel of man-meat across the room and gushed "Oh. My. God." I immediately responded "In Regency England? Don't. Think. So." -and slammed the book shut forever.
10. Lin1968
It really depends. Usually one chapter is enough for me to decide. But notably with a Discovery of Witches I decided halfway to call it quits. Which was surprising, since I really liked the first half, but after they went to France, the tale turned stale imho.
11. Angie H
When book three of the Twilight series was buzzin', I finally caved and told a fellow chick in the office to loan me her copy of book numero uno. Two pages. Yeah, no.
12. Tammye
The heroine was Southern and I couldn't stand how the dialogue was written. No true Southerner would speak like that. 2 pages!
13. keen23
Within the first chapter. The names of the characters were horrible and didn't fit the time period of the book (way too modern names for a historical novel), so I quit, figuring it would only get worse.
14. Torifl
1 chapter. It was a fantasy, time travel storyline but the first chapter was so boring (mainly set up) that it took me a week to get through it.
15. Lafka
Less than 2 pages. I can't remember the title but it was a young adult read. The editing was awful and the character was already bitching. I didn't feel like pushing myself further.
16. SheenaO
One page. It was Twilight. The writing was so bad, I knew I wouldn't be able to stand reading it.
17. Molly Kate
I normally try to give books a fair shake, but I can generally tell within 4 - 5 pages if I'm going to have to place it in the DNF pile. Awkward dialogue tends to do me in, though, if the dialogue feels "off" from the start, I know that I'll never be able to read the entire book.
Kelley Nolan
18. kelley1378
When I read Twilight, I knew in the first chapter that I really wanted it to be a DNF. But I had committed myself to a "If I don't read it, I can't criticize it" mindset (mostly in reaction to my cousin's claim that it was soooooo good and soooooo amazing and soooooo much better than the movie that I had just told her I hated). So I forced myself to finish the whole darn thing. And then I was able to trash it with confidence the next time I saw her. Heh.

I recently used the same concept with 50 Shades of Grey (which I had been bashing like crazy for months). I ended up reading the whole trilogy (mostly out of fascination that something so badly written could be beloved by so many people), but by page 6 of book 1, I was mocking the writing by reading particularly terrible lines out loud to my sister.
Sarah Stultz
20. RVASarah
I try to give it a chapter.
I wanted to quit in the middle of Wicked Nights but I pushed through to the end, cringing every step of the way. Annabelle? Really??? I'm DNF-ing the upcoming series.
Janis Clark
21. maliamartin
Usually I know within the first page or two.
Interesting comments on Twilight. Once I start reading I'll commit to following through. Still, I just couldn't make it through Twilight and stopped midway through. That's highly unusual for me.
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