I have been trying to listen to Heroes the sequel to Stephen Fry’s Mythos for absolutely ages. Today, I finally decided enough was enough – with five out of fifteen hours left on the audio. I realised that I had been putting Heroes on when I wouldn’t be able to properly hear it – while cooking, or cleaning – and that i was doing this just so I could say I’d finished, rather than actually listening. Where Mythos made me laugh, the overwhelming opinion I felt with Heroes was one of irritation. Hercules has ten labours? Hurry up then. He killed multiple people while in a temper – why are we praising him? And other such opinions. It wasn’t until we get to Jason and the Argonoughts that I realised my irritation stemmed from the fact that all women were victims/dead, seductresses or simpering. And then, we get to Medea – she’s a straight up murdering villain but it’s ok, she’s doing it for Jason! By the time I got to Atalanta I realised I hadn’t really been listening at all, and there wasn’t much point in continuing. I have now traded Heroes in for Michelle Obama’s Becoming.
For me, I will put up with a lot of bad plotting if I like the characters. I struggle A Lot with good plot but bad characters though. One of the very few books I have actively DNFed is The Name of the Wind. Despite being a huge fantasy nerd, the main character wound me up so much that there is a distinct possibility I could have traversed realms just to slap him. He was beyond arrogant amongst other personality traits and I just couldn’t stand him to the point I had to stop reading.
DNF doesn’t happen often for me. I tend to slog through a book I’m not enjoying, because a few books with bad beginnings have surprised me in later chapters. Also, for books I actively dislike, I usually keep reading so that I have an entirely thorough overview of what I didn’t like in my review!
At what point do you DNF a book? I have a friend who stops after three chapters (or the equivalent section if the chapters are super short). I get that life is too short, and the TBR list is too long to read books you don’t enjoy, but what is your philosophy on the DNF pile?