Depending how long you have been in the ‘book blogging’ sphere you will have heard of DNFing or ‘Did not Finish’.  For me this has not been a topic I ever really covered as I have only ever DNFed one book.  So as I am reading so many books at once (in other words not yet finished any) I thought I could tell you about the first time I ever DNFed a book and why. 

My First Ever DNF

I think one of the reasons I found DNFing books so challenging is because there wasn’t an option to mark a book as DNF on goodreads.  Something which has been changed with the awesome start-up that is StoryGraphBeta.  My parents also insisted that you finish what you start, even if you aren’t enjoying it.  DNFing was something that I had never thought was allowed, so it is not really surprising it took me until 27 to DNF a book.  It was around this time I started following some book bloggers and realised it was ok to DNF a book that you don’t enjoy.  

As I recently shared I make myself read at least one classical book per year last year. I chose the mammoth Les Miserables.  I had heard a lot of positive things about Les Miserables.  It is an iconic book,about a specific period of time, following the journey of of a convicted criminal and his adopted daughter. 

I was enjoying the book when I started it in January, i said that i would read 50 pages per day which I stuck to.  The challenge came when I stopped reading for a week, I had a very busy work schedule and I had been reading Les Miserable during my lunch. Not only did I fall out of the habit of reading, but I just started to deliberately avoid the book.  

I think part of the reasons I wanted to put it down was how sad and depressing the part I was reading was. I started reading it in January and by this point it was March. I was 50% of the way through and the long winter was starting to get me down . 

Book cover of Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

If you have watched the film or read the book you will probably know that Les Miserables is not a particularly happy story, and while it addresses themes that I have read about in other books, such as injustice and discrimination, and compassion, the way that the ideas are presented provides a challenging read.

In addition the way the story is written is very different to the books I generally love to read, there was too much description, and the way that the characters are introduced did not sit well with me, as while you were given the wider context for the story, you were also given too much information for characters that did not matter for the whole of the story.  This way of writing can be common in some modern books but it is much rarer and is one of the reasons I can find reading classics a challenge.  

Despite of all these reasons I am sure some of you would enjoy reading it, if you are interested in learning more about France during the 19th Century or enjoy reading historical fiction (but aren’t intimidated by the size) I would recommend giving thi book a go. It is an interesting take on a time from someone who lived at that time and most likely saw some of the horrors which occurred in his country during this time.  

Have you tried reading Les Miserables?  What was your first DNF I would be really interested to know, and if you haven’t DNFed why not?