4 Popular Books I DNF'd

4 Popular Books I DNF'd

Rincey confesses which popular books she just could not finish (one of which she may give another try!)

Books Mentioned
Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James
The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

Where You Can Find Us:


Social Media:

Hi everyone. I'm rincey and i am one of
the contributing editors over at book riot. Today I wanted to talk about
DNFs, or books that I have not finished. I'm a pretty strong proponent of giving
up on books if they're not working for you, whether it be just like giving up on
them temporarily and just like putting them to the side and coming back to them
later, or just stopping entirely and just moving on with your life. I'm also
someone who like recently came to this conclusion. I used to push through and
try to finish every single book that I started. And then at some point I just
realized that there were too many good books out there that forcing myself to
read things that I did not particularly enjoy or want to be reading was kind of
a waste of time. And I'm not saying that like anyone who like pushes through to
finish books is wrong, and I'm not saying that reading books that you don't enjoy
is wrong because I know a lot of people like to do that in order to critically
look at books and to talk about books in a certain way. But personally I don't
want to be doing that. Like I would rather spend my time enjoying books that
I enjoy. That should seem obvious. So I thought today I would have like a little
bit of a confessional time talking about some books that are quite popular that I
personally have dnf'd. I want to create a safe space here in this video and in
the comments section of this video. Please don't yell at me because I'm not
saying that any of these books were bad but they just were bad for me or not
right for me. And that's okay. Not every book is going to appeal to every single
reader. So if you particularly loved one of the books I mention here, again, no
offense is meant by any of this. It's just something that I want to
talk about because I think a lot of times people get really embarrassed or
feel really awkward, especially if they end up not liking a book that a lot of
other people love. So again, just talking about these things in order to create
some open and honest communication here on YouTube. Because, you know, that's what
YouTube is known for. So first up, the book that sort of inspired this for me
is Daisy Jones and the Six. This is a very, very popular book that
has come out earlier this year. I know so many people who have read this and
adored this and rave about this book. I couldn't get through it. I read and I
liked the seven husbands of Evelyn Hugo when it came out but I wasn't like over
the moon about it the way a lot of other people were. So I went into this book
with a slightly balanced temperament, I think or balanced expectations for what
this book could be for me. I had reasons to think for this book wouldn't really
work for me and one of them is because I actually don't like oral histories in
general. There are a lot of people who really enjoyed that style of writing and
storytelling. I'm not one of those people. Whenever there is an article written in
an oral history style, I very rarely finish it. There's like this book that's
like the oral history of Saturday Night Live that like one of my friends
adores. Couldn't get through that one either. So I'd planned on just like not
reading this book because I just like I don't like oral history so I'm not gonna
enjoy reading this. Then I heard that the audiobook actually has like a full cast
and so the experience of listening to that book is actually a lot of fun. And
so I was like, you know what, I might give that a chance. I enjoy when there are
full cast productions of audiobooks. And so I thought that that experience would
be better for me because again it's an oral history. So like having it be told
in oral history form, or orally would make me enjoy the experience more
because like listening to people tell their story would be kind of interesting.
But unfortunately, still didn't really work for me.
One of the problems with the oral history format is that it's literally
just telling and no showing. So you have all these people telling you about Daisy
Jones and this band called the six and it felt like there was no real evidence
to back up their claims. Maybe this is my inner skeptic coming out and I couldn't
really believe in this band or what they were telling me. And not even somebody
said I couldn't believe it but it's more just like I couldn't care about it.
They didn't really give me a reason to about it. And because it's, again, a
fictional band and fictional stories, I couldn't really get invested in it. And
I'm someone who doesn't listen to a lot of audiobooks. And a lot of times the
audiobooks that I do listen to tend to be nonfiction. So fiction in general is
really hard for me in audio form except with a few exceptions. Audio already
like has me slightly disconnected from a story. And so I think that combined with
the writing style and the way that the story is told, this was just never really
gonna be a book that worked for me. So i dnf'd it and I'm okay with that. But the
reason why I thought of that is because recently someone on the book riot slack
was talking about how they weren't enjoying Daisy Jones and the six. And so I
thought, you know what, I didn't enjoy either. So I let her know that and then I
thought I would just like talk about it more publicly in case there are other
people out there who like feel bad for some reason that they don't enjoy Daisy
Jones and the Six, or any other book that's super popular that they just
ended up giving up on. Another book that's super popular that I ended up
giving up on is a brief history of seven killings. Actually both of Marlon James's
books I ended up having to give up on. A brief history of seven killings as well
as his latest one, black leopard red wolf. I am really sad that I've given up on
both of these books because I actually was enjoying it, especially a brief
history of seven killings. I was really enjoying it a lot. But he writes in a way
that is so graphic and so violent that I legitimately could not get through it.
Like I don't like graphic violence in general. Like I don't enjoy watching
really graphic television shows. There's an entire like section of prestige
television that I just have not watched because extreme violence really gets to
me. Even if I'm watching like extremely violent movies, I get like physically not
sick but I get really tense and I'm so uncomfortable and I usually can't get
through the movies that are really really violent. Kike I avoid all Quintin
Tarantino movies for that specific point, as well as well as other points. But you
know. So that's one where I'm like kind of sad that I gave up on it because
especially a brief history I was really enjoying it in the beginning. I really
enjoy everything else about Marlon James's writing style.
But I have such a low tolerance for violence that I just can't do books like
that or any sort of media like that. So I unfortunately had to give up on that one.
And black leopard red wolf felt even more extreme, like more intense and more
graphic that I gave up on that one even faster than I did a brief history of
seven killings. I think I also kind of gave up on that one faster knowing how
violent a brief history was. So I kind of knew, or once I started getting into
those things that were really graphic, I was like, oh gosh.
This one's also gonna be really graphic and I just, I know I don't have the
tolerance for it. So I just had to give up. Alright, another one where I feel like
I might get some agreement from some of you guys over is I gave up on the
corrections by Jonathan Franzen. And this one is one of my favorite stories
because me and two of my friends went to this book sale. There's a bookstore here
in Chicago called open books where they do these like box sales. So basically you
pay, I don't remember how much it is, it's like 30 or 40 dollars for like a box and
like whatever you can fit in that box is like covered. And so I went with two of
my friends and they have like this huge warehouse in Pilsen and you can go and
grab whatever you want. And we found multiple copies of the corrections. And so
we were like hey, let's read Jonathan Franzen together and let's read the
corrections together since there were multiple copies of this here. Let's all
pick up a copy, bring it home, and we'll do a little mini book club together. And
then all three of us could not get the book. We had like a text chain going and
I think I was the one who is like guys, I'm really not enjoying this book at all.
And someone else is like oh thank god, me too. And the third one also agreed. So we just
gave up on the book. This is another one where it's just like I know that this is
not a book for me. I don't enjoy books that are like rich people problems,
especially like rich white people problems. But like this is like a very
upper-class family and they are going through very specific situations that
were very difficult for me to care about. Like it just came off as really
whiny and privileged in a way that I couldn't handle. Like I've read crazy
rich asians. So like there's some level of empathy I can have when I know that I'm
getting into these like really privileged situations. But I think crazy
rich Asians has like this humorous angle to it so it makes it more bearable. And
also they talk about like the Asian experience a little bit more. I just
could not handle any of the characters in the corrections, which I think it's
part of partially the point. But I have this thing with unlikable characters
where I don't mind unlikable characters. I just have to understand their
motivations. But I couldn't understand the motivations of any of those
characters and it couldn't be compelled to care or compelled to continue reading on
to find out their motivations. Maybe you find out later on in the book. Personally
I don't really care. And honestly it's one of those books where I'm just like, I
just. I just don't think it's for me. I don't think Jonathan Franzen's for me,
which is fine. Alright, and the final one I have to talk about today is one where
I feel kind of bad about this one to the point where I actually want to give this
book another try. It's been about a decade since I tried to read this book.
I think I tried to read it like my senior year of college or something like that and it just didn't work for me. And
that's gilead by Marilyn Robinson. I say with that voice because I know how
beloved that book is and I really do think that it's a book where it was the
wrong book at the wrong time situation more than it being a bad book because
there are so many people who love that book so much. And it feels like a book
that I should like. And not that that's a reason to like push through the book.
But I do think that I'm older now and I have a different perspective on life now
that I can handle a book like Gilead. I think when I went to it I was like in
college and so the types of books that I wanted to read, I don't think I was ready
for Gilead to be completely honest. And so I really want to give that one another try. I'm also kind of scared to give it a
try just in case I give it another try and I still don't like it.
It might happen. It might happen, guys, and I might just have to face that fact and
then take that secret to my grave so that way I don't get fired from book
riot. But yeah, that's one where I'm just like, oh, that's that's the one DNF I have
in my life where, not that I regret it, but I do think I should give it another shot. I just haven't yet. I don't own a copy of
it. But one day. One day I will give that book another chance and maybe I will end
up being a huge Marilynne Robinson fan like everyone else seems to be. So
those are all the books I wanted to talk about in this video. Hopefully none of
you guys have unsubscribed because of anything I said today. Feel free to leave
a comment down below either letting me know if there's any books that I
mentioned here that you also have DNF'd to make me feel better about my
choices. Or if there is a book that you want to talk about down in the comments
below that you know is really beloved but you just couldn't get through it for
whatever reason, you just knew it wasn't for you, safe space guys. The comments
section of this video will be a safe space. No one's allowed to yell at anyone
else. No one's allowed to make anyone else feel bad for the books that they've
decided to not read. So yeah, that's all I have for this week and I will see you
guys next week. Bye.


  1. I also DNF'ed The Corrections. And when a friend confessed she was hating it but felt bad not finishing it, I made her give me her copy and I hid it for a couple of months until she said she wouldn't pick it back up. Friends don't let friends read books they don't like!

  2. I couldn't finish: H is for hawk. Bear Town which everyone is raving about so annoying, because it was so dull. no show, only tell. The lord of the flies and Lincoln in the Bardo couldn't get into the style or care either. And brave new world such a boring start to me…. I dnf if after the first 100 pages I still don't care about characters or plot or if I hate the writing style too much

  3. Oh boy – I loved Daisy Jones…but I HATED HATED The Night Circus and DNF'd it. I also could not finish Crazy Rich Asians and Where'd You Go Bernadette! I know so many people loved all three of these.

  4. I've had to come to terms with not finishing books too. I used to feel so bad when I didn't finish a book. Now realize I am not the author's ideal customer. Do yourself a favor, and forgive yourself not reading Gilead. You are not Marilynne Robinson's ideal customer.

  5. I read daisy jones and the six and enjoyed it. I tried to reread it but decided this time to do audio and it sucked. Everyone raves about the audiobook and my mind just wondered. Reading it though I liked it way more. Weird how that works.

  6. I DNF’d Celeste Ng’s “Little Fires Everywhere”. Apparently it was about interracial adoption and a custody battle, but none of that was there by a third of the way into the book and I just gave up at that point. #sorrynotsorry

  7. WHEN DO THEY DO THEIR BOX SALE??? Is it only at the Pilsen Warehouse? I've totally heard you talk about it, and have been to their sidewalk sale before but can never seem to find when they have the box sale :'(

  8. Oh my gosh. Thank you! Years ago when TheCorrections was all the hype I tried to get into it but aughhhh! it is awful. I, too, did not care about those characters one iota.

  9. I read Daisy Jones and I flew through it. But I do agree with what you said and I can understand that you didn't like it. I thought it was okay, not great.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *