I Did the Unthinkable: I DNF’d Little Fires Everywhere
During October, I attempted to listen to Celeste Ng’s extremely popular novel, Little Fires Everywhere. This was the book that everyone has been talking about, and was chosen for Reese Witherspoon’s book club. It’s not my normal type of book, but I don’t always stick to what I’m used to. I like to venture outside of my comfort zone and read books that I wouldn’t normally pick up.
So I borrowed the audiobook from my library online and, with a full two weeks to check it out, I managed to get through about an hour before I just couldn’t take it anymore. Honestly, I blamed it on the fact that it was an audiobook. I’ve never been a huge fan of audiobooks. My brain is constantly on the go, and being able to focus on Little Fires Everywhere was hard while I drove or just fiddled around the house. I found my mind straying so much that it just wasn’t worth it. So I returned it.
I was still interested in reading the book, so I requested a copy from the library. It was ready and I picked it up and planned to read it in early November, but then I struggled to just pick it up and read. I found starting and finishing other books, some that were my go-to genre, and others that were different than my normal read. So I couldn’t blame it on the fact that Little Fires Everywhere was a different kind of book than what I’m used to.
So I returned it. I figured it wasn’t worth holding on for the whole two weeks. Especially since the waiting list for it is long and someone else could enjoy reading it.
This Experience Got Me Thinking…
I don’t usually DNF a book. I’m pretty particular in that if I pick up a book I have to finish it. Or try again another time if it needs to be returned without renewals. So I typically keep it on my to-read list on Goodreads. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Little Fires Everywhere.
After returning it to the library, I immediately took it off my shelves permanently. After reading reviews and the synopsis, I realized that it just wasn’t the book for me. And this got me thinking: did I actually want to read this book? Or was the hype around it enough to cloud my judgment and pick it up anyway?
I usually don’t care about reviews and hype when it comes to books. If the synopsis looks good, I insist that I give it a shot and see how it goes. It could have two or three stars on Goodreads. I simply don’t care. I’d prefer sometimes to read something that interests me and judge for myself afterwards. And, honestly, I’ve never regretted reading a book that was poorly reviewed if I loved it.
Is It Worth It?
Is it worth reading a book outside your comfort zone that doesn’t appeal to you if there is a ton of hype surrounding the book? I feel like, ever since I started my blog, I have been trying to read what everyone else is reading in order to keep up with the trends. I’ve been stepping away from a system that has worked for me since I started reading as a child in order to sort of “fit in” with the book community.
This makes me realize that I want to stay true to what I want and who I am. It may not be what’s popular, but the books I choose to read are what I love and that’s all that should matter.
Obviously, books with a lot of hype can be great to read. Just as long as they seem interesting to me. I’ve done it before and I’m sure I’ll do it again. For example, The Lying Game was a hugely popular book, but thrillers are probably my favorite book genre, so it was an obvious choice for me. The Rules of Magic is another one, but Alice Hoffman has always been a favorite author of mine. Never again will I seek out a book that I don’t REALLY want to read just because everyone else is talking about it!
What about you? Have you ever DNF’d a book that you just don’t know why you started reading in the first place? Has blogging made you choose books that you normally wouldn’t and just weren’t interested in from the start? Let me know in the comments below!