Books I DNF in 2021

I first saw this type of post over on Turn Another Page, who did the 12 Days of Blogmas. I didn’t participate in blogmas. But I thought it’d be interesting to revisit books I didn’t finish (DNF) this year. When I DNF a book it’s usually because I couldn’t get into it, not because it’s badly written. (Or, at least, that’s my experience so far.) Thankfully I usually don’t have many DNF-ed books by the end of the year, including this year.

Even though I DNF-ed these books below, maybe one of you will find something new to read (or enjoyed them already). Remember, reading preferences differ among individuals. Just because I couldn’t get into a book doesn’t mean you’ll feel the same way.

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Fathoms: The World in the Whale by Rebecca Giggs
I like to intersperse nonfiction books into my reading line up, plus I like animals. So I thought I’d be able to read this without a hitch. But I ended up DNF-ing it for a couple of reasons. The first is I wasn’t in the right headspace. We had just moved house, and I was also up against a library due date, so I felt stressed to get through it. The second is that the writing was too dense for me. I felt kind of like I was reading an encyclopedia. If my TBR list wasn’t so long, I would probably try reading it again.

Transgender History: The Roots of Today’s Revolution by Susan Stryker
This was on the nonfiction display shelf at the entrance of my library. So I picked it up on a whim to educate myself. I was excited about reading this. I even got through a couple of chapters before deciding to DNF it. There’s a lot of time and history to distill into one book, I understand that. But ultimately it was a little too dry for me and I just could not connect with the writing style and/or how the author presented the history. It felt very detached, much like a history book. I suppose I expected more stories and, to be fair, those are present. Reflecting on past nonfiction reads, I definitely enjoy this genre most when they’re presented like a novel, if that makes sense. I feel bad that I DNF-ed it, but I really had a hard time reading it.

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
The premise of this book is a little different than I usually choose. But the synopsis indicates there are fantasy elements to it, so I thought I’d give it a go. I read a few chapters before DNF-ing it due to the writing style. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the writing. It’s strong and descriptive. However, the style reminded me a lot of 19th century English literature, namely Austen and Brontë. I have never gravitated towards that writing style. Before picking it up, I didn’t know this book has a similar writing style. I gave it a shot, but ultimately it wasn’t for me.


2 thoughts on “Books I DNF in 2021

  1. I’ve never heard of The Essex Serpent but it sounds interesting with the fantasy element to it. I’m also an Austen fan so I may have to see if the library has it. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I first learned about The Essex Serpent when I was browsing through my local bookstore–the cover really drew my eye…it’s gorgeous. If/when you get around to reading it, I look forward to your review.

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