Rating & Not Finishing

I’m probably one of the few readers who feels comfortable with not finishing books. If I’m reading a book and I can tell it’s not clicking with me, I don’t feel guilty about putting it down and moving to another book. Yet, when I don’t finish a book like that, I always struggle with whether or not to rate it.

Some bloggers simply mark books they don’t finish with a “DNF” label and don’t give them any star marking. Yet, others note in their reviews they didn’t finish it and still give it a star rating.

Both are acceptable, but I’m indecisive about which method I should use.

Do you rate books you don’t finish?

84 thoughts on “Rating & Not Finishing

  1. I usually don’t rate them unless I have read over 60% of it and feel I have a good feel for it (usually in these cases I read the last chapter too just to make sure), otherwise, I write a short review mark it is DNF and leave it unrated.

    I use to finish every book I started and since having my blog, I don’t anymore. There are just too many other great books out there I would rather spend my time reading instead.

    1. I completely agree with you Ali. It doesn’t make sense to force yourself to continue to read a book if you’re obviously not connecting with it. There are so many other great books out there!

  2. Depends whether I DNF due to it just not being for me, or if it was terrible. The crappy ones I tend to give one star as long as I reach at least midway, as for me that’s enough to have an opinion on it. Mostly I just mark them off as DNF and leave the rating blank. I’ve only ever reviewed one book I wasn’t able to finish, it was just that horrid.

    1. Interesting point Kelly. πŸ™‚ I think there should definitely be distuguishment between books you DNF because they’re bad vs. books you DNF just because they’re not for you. πŸ™‚

  3. I do not have problems marking a book DNF. I used to, but then I realized how much time I was wasting finishing books I hated. If I only read a couple of chapters or less than 100 pages, I don’t bother ration it at all. I feel if I haven’t made it at least halfway through the book, it’s not really fair to rate it.

    1. I feel if I haven’t made it at least halfway through the book, it’s not really fair to rate it.

      Interesting point Cynthia! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Same with Kelly,I rate my dnf book a 1 star rating. It happens most of the time. Or put it on a shelf called dnf or might-finish if the book isn’t that bad to dnf right away. Like you, I am comfortable dnf-ing a book :+1:

  5. I usually don’t DNF books because I either feel guilty or the unfinished book nags at me, but on the rare occasion that I do DNF a book, I don’t rate it. I don’t think it’s very fair to rate a book if I didn’t follow through and get the whole picture because the end might be better than the beginning.

    1. I don’t think it’s very fair to rate a book if I didn’t follow through and get the whole picture because the end might be better than the beginning.

      Interesting point Ana – I can definitely see where you’re coming from! Thanks for sharing!

  6. No, ratings are only for books I’ve finished. It doesn’t feel right to give a rating to something I haven’t completely finished, because the ending might be very good – giving a rating doesn’t feel honest/fair.

  7. I don’t rate DNF books. Actually, I do not write a review at all when I DNF a book. I always try to get back to it and finish the book because if I don’t I would feel guilty. Haha!

  8. Sure do, give em a sad one. BUT I’m also very careful in the little review that I leave. I’d never mark anything as a DNF with a one star and leave without an explanation. I often state what went wrong and it’s usually very subjective and those reading it will know that it’s a case of “me not you”. That’s really the only reason why I’ve DNF. BUT should it be because I’ve raged so much, I will break all the elements of what I’ve read so far and leave evidence justifying the rating, you know? But I wouldn’t give it more than a one. I gave up. It obviously didn’t work for me. But I’ll explain. Yeah, I think I just repeated myself LOL Brilliant discussion, Zoe! x

    1. Thanks for your input Jess! I agree – when I do rate / review the books I didn’t finish, I usually mark them as 1 / 2 stars as well (1 if it’s horrid, 2 for the “it’s me, not you” scenario.) Thanks for your thoughts!

  9. You’re not the only one who’s okay with not finishing a book! I used to feel really bad about not reading to the end–I always finished books, even if I didn’t care for them, often just so as not to leave them unfinished. But now if a book doesn’t hook me within the first few chapters–or, if I’m halfway through and my attention’s majorly flagging–I’ll often put it aside in favor of something else. After all, life’s short, and not every book is for me! As for rating DNF books, though, I only rate books I especially liked or loved, so the only ratings you’ll find on my Goodreads shelves are 4- or 5-stars. Personally, though, I think if you leave it without a rating and just mark it as DNF you wouldn’t need a star rating to get your point across, you know what I mean? Just the fact that you didn’t finish it speaks to your opinion of it. But of course it’s up to you–just my two cents’ worth! Good luck figuring it out. πŸ™‚

    1. I completely agree Taylor! Why continue reading a book if you’re not enjoying it? And I definitely see what you mean – that can definitely get the point across just as well as a review. πŸ™‚

  10. I’ve never done a DNF review and I don’t have star ratings to begin with…so I’m not really the best person to answer this. haha i like seeing why people DNFed a book and what didn’t work for them. You never know; it might still interest me. At any rate, if you want to put a star rating on them, I don’t mind. πŸ™‚

  11. I almost ALWAYS finish books (agh, I DNF’d Wicked and I feel so bad >_<) but I figure, if I hated it so much I purely couldn't finish it, I'll give it 1-star and stick it on my DNF shelf. Although…well, I actually didn't star-rate Wicked. I just felt it was me, not the book. *shrugs* IT'S A HARD QUESTION.

  12. Hahahh I think it just depends on how you feel. Do you feel okay with rating something that you haven’t finished? Maybe something really big happened in the end that you would’ve loved/hated? I personally rate them as either one star, especially if I know I’ll never get back to it

  13. I almost always rate DNFs. And I DNF fairly often. I’m a picky reader. I have so many books on my TBR that I don’t have time to waste on ones I’m not enjoying. My DNF ratings are usually 1-stars, but ones that I didn’t finish but plan to return to someday get higher, 1.5 -2.5.

  14. I don’t, but I often wonder if I should. Especially if I make it a decent way through. I mean, had I finished it, it’d likely be a one star, right? I almost think that by NOT rating a DNF, I am almost allowing the ratings to be higher than they should overall. But then on the other hand, I feel guilty counting it as a “read” book when I didn’t really finish. It is stuff like this that makes me want to always finish- I am too indecisive for the technicalities of DNFing πŸ˜‰

    1. I don’t think it’s very fair to rate a book if I didn’t follow through and get the whole picture because the end might be better than the beginning.

      Hmm…both valid and interesting points Shannon! Thanks for sharing!

  15. I actually rate books I don’t finish. I rate them with ONE STAR because I reserve that rating for DNF-ed books haha πŸ˜› I understand the struggle Zoe! I felt troubled with rating books as well!

  16. I feel the same way! I keep seeing all these blog posts where their bloggers say that they try to avoid DNF’ing as much as possible, but for me, I don’t even think twice about it. If I’m not enjoying a book at least 20% in, then it’s going to be a waste of time to continue — and with such a huge reading list, I can’t afford to finish every book I read, just because of a possibility that it *might* (keyword here is “might”) get better. But as for ratings, if I don’t finish a book, I don’t rate it. That’s my one rule. Because I didn’t get to see if the book did get better in the end, I don’t judge the book based on what I’ve read so far. So I just leave my star rating blank, and I don’t review it. I feel like that’s only fair.

    I’ve got nothing against bloggers who DNF and still rate and review, though. Sometimes some of the most entertaining reviews are those about books the blogger DNF’d. Snarkiness alert! xD

    1. Because I didn’t get to see if the book did get better in the end, I don’t judge the book based on what I’ve read so far. So I just leave my star rating blank, and I don’t review it. I feel like that’s only fair.

      That’s definitely an interesting point Meg! I completely see where you’re coming from. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  17. Well, I must say that I’m a lot like you. I really felt bad the first few times I DNFed a book, and I still do in a way. I guess it only gets a bit easier. But still I always see it as there is plenty of great books I’m dying to read so why waste your time on something you don’t like. Great post πŸ™‚

  18. If I’ve DNFd a book, I’ll rate it a ‘one star’. Because that’s my rating system and if it’s not good enough to finish then it’s not good enough for anything more than one star. I know, I’m harsh, BUT I MUST BE STRICT πŸ˜‰

  19. For me, it kind of just depends. Sometimes it’s just that the book didn’t click with me in which case I mark it as DNF. If a book is painful to read though and it ends with me rage quitting it, than I might rate the book because I really just need to express how much the book bothered me. OR, if it’s really just me and I feel like the book is definitely notable, I’ll rate it so that people don’t take my DNF as a bad sign that the book is bad.

    Yeahhh. It’s all so complicated! πŸ˜›

    Fantastic post, Zoe!! πŸ˜€

    1. Definitely interesting thoughts Rashika! There’s definitely a line between DNFing because it’s just not for you, and not finishing because its’ just downright terrible. Thanks for sharing!

  20. I give DNFs one star. Those are the only books that get one star, although in the past I did give one star to other books. I need to go into Goodreads and change those books to two stars so I’ll be consistent. I wish there was another way, a DNF star or something, but I don’t want to leave books I’ve attempted starless on Goodreads. For my own blog I would be fine with leaving them without a rating but I do still give them that one star to be consistent with Goodreads. (Obviously I’m big on consistency!)

  21. Oooh good discussion! I don’t usually DNF all that many books, but when I know a book isn’t clicking, I still give it at least 10 chapters to change my mind. When I reach that and still don’t want to read on, then I will usually give the book 1 star (I don’t give them out often!), and write a detailed review with what didn’t work for me.10 chapters is usually halfway through the book anyway, so I think I’ve read enough of it to write a decent review. Haha, but it;s different for everyone, so it’s interesting to see how everyone else goes about it!

    1. Thanks Joy! πŸ™‚ I usually do what you do – rate it and review why I didn’t finish it, but of course everyone does it differently. Thanks for sharing!

  22. I DNF books all the time so I have a lot to say about this… Hahaha.

    Usually, I just put a DNF label on my reviews if I have read less than 50% of it. It would feel unfair to rate something if I didn’t even bother knowing more than half, although there are extreme cases sometimes when a book is REALLY REALLY REALLY bad from the very start. Some books just don’t connect with you, and some books just suck, you know? When I’ve read more than half and still DNF it, that’s where I put a rating because I at least have read enough to justify why I did what I did πŸ˜€

    I would love to read about Code Name Verity. I have Rose Under Fire but people keep saying that in order to appreciate it 100% I’ll have to read CNV first. Plus, World War II! I’m intersted in learning more about the experiences people had during that time other than the facts we know from textbooks.

    Faye at The Social Potato

    1. I think that’s a great system Faye! πŸ™‚ There’s definitely a line between not finishing because the book is just downright terrible, and not finishing because it’s not your cup of tea; and it’s nice that you’ve found a system to differentiate between those.

      And Code Name Verity is a really amazing book. I’ll admit that I DNF’d it the first time I read it, but if you force yourself to finish it you’ll definitely be rewarded. πŸ˜‰

  23. Ooh, some interesting comments! Personally, I don’t rate books I haven’t finished. I prefer to just write down my reasons for DNFing. πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you Renu – it’s really interesting seeing everyone’s different methods, no? πŸ™‚ And I think that’s a great and logical method. πŸ˜€

  24. I don’t tend to DNF books, but when I do, I usually don’t rate them… I used to just give 1 star and forget about it, but I’ve realised that maybe there are books that just aren’t for me; I shouldn’t subject it to such a low rating in that case.

  25. I don’t really DNF, but with the few titles that I HAVE given up on, I don’t rate them. For me, a rating encompasses what someone thinks of a book as a whole; from beginning to end. So I don’t think that DNF ratings are entirely fair to the book, since it wasn’t given a chance to redeem itself to the reader.

    1. For me, a rating encompasses what someone thinks of a book as a whole; from beginning to end.

      I completely see where you’re coming from Chiara, and I think the way you personally record the books you DNF is really just and intelligent. There’s always that risk that it might become amazing at the end, but if you’re disliking it so much, sometimes it’s just not a risk you want to take. πŸ™‚

  26. I DNF when there’s things about a book that REALLY piss me off, and I’ve given it a good enough go to know that it’s not getting any better. If a book affects me that negatively that I can’t continue, that’s an automatic 1 star rating from me. Great discussion Zoe (I miss you!)

    1. Thank you Jeann! πŸ˜€ And I completely agree. πŸ™‚ I usually rate the books I DNF 1 or 2 stars as well, because, like you said, if a book annoys me that much it probably doesn’t deserve a positive rating.

  27. Well, I guess for me it really depends on the book. There is rarely a time I DNF books, but when I do, I rate them all as one star, because if it manages to bore me or is just plainly bad written, that’s 1 star for me.

    But then there are a few books that get two stars because of either a character or the writing style, but I still don’t manage to finish it because I know its me, not the book.

    1. That’s an excellent point Maddy! Sometimes it’s really hard to distinguish whether the 1 star rating is because the book really is just horrendous, or if it’s just not your personal cup of tea. The way you mark your ratings really makes that identifiable!

  28. For me, it depends on what type of book it is. If I’m required to read it (maybe for school or something), and I end up cheating and DNFing the book, I wouldn’t give it a star rating since I didn’t want to start the book in the first place.
    If it’s a book I read because I wanted to, and then I DNFed it, I’d either give it one or two stars, depending on how much I disliked it. πŸ™‚

    1. Haha! πŸ˜‰
      And I do the same thing Rachel. As long as I’ve made it at least 15% through, I think I have enough taste of the book’s style to know how I feel about it.

  29. It takes a whole lot for me to DNF a book, so when that does happen, it generally means that it was so sickeningly bad that I was dreading reading it and I could not force myself to turn another page. So, with that rather graphic description in mind, I rate all my DNF-ed books one star – it’s probably the rating I’d give them if I managed to finish anyway, so it does seem fitting!

    1. I’m the same way Topaz. If I dislike a book enough to not finish it, it usually gets a 1 or 2 star rating from me.

  30. If I hated a book enough to DNF it, I might just give it one star out of spite. But in general, I’ll just leave no rating, to give the book a fair chance. If I rate it, it’ll be like saying that I’m done with the book, which I’m not.

  31. I actually DNF really easily. I don’t care too much about regretting it in the future. What I do, however, is mark every DNF as 1 star. I mean, if I DNF it, why is it any higher than 1 star? Or at least, that’s my opinion.

  32. I used to rate DNFs, but I don’t anymore. That presents a problem on Goodreads, because the books don’t get properly counted as “read” if you don’t give them a star rating. (Goodreads needs to add a DNF option, I think; I’m sure it would get used a lot!)

    If I had to give stars, most DNFs would probably get just one (although, I have read books that I could tell weren’t actually bad; they just weren’t for me).

  33. This is a really great discussion topic – I used to finish every book till the very end even if I hated it, I just felt super guilty if I didn’t finish it, but now I’ve realized there’s too many good books out there to read crappy ones. I only shelve a book as DNF if I had many reasons to dislike it, I still give it a one-two star. I have read some books that I closed after two chapters, but I still want to give them another try so I haven’t rated them yet or declared them as DNF. I don’t review DNF books on my blog though.

    1. I felt the same way when I started blogging Benish, but like you my opinion about DNFing quickly changes when I had the same revelation you did: that there’s there’s too many good books out there to read crappy ones. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Leave a Reply to Mel@thedailyprophecy Cancel reply