TO DNF OR NOT TO DNF? (discussion)

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in 2019, I DNFd 41 books.yeah.

given how, uh, unusual that is, I thought I’d dedicate a post to discussing the books I DNFd (or “Did Not Finish”), why I DNFd them (plus some reasons as to why I DNF books in general), and some books I DNFd that I’d be willing to give (or have already given) a second chance.


PART I: ALL THE BOOKS I DNFd IN 2019

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behold all the books that I DNFd in 2019!! (sorry if you see any of your favourite books on here, I GAVE THEM A CHANCE I PROMISE) (if your favourite books are The Idiot or Milkman, though, keep reading because I may or may not have drastically changed my opinion on them 👀)

2019 was a bit of a weird reading year for me in that my reading underwent a huge change in terms of the genres I was pursuing. at the beginning of last year I was at a point in my reading life where YA just wasn’t appealing to me anymore. all the YA books I was picking up were getting either 2 or 3 stars, which was very frustrating and not exactly great in terms of motivating me to read more. so I decided that I’d shift my reading towards other genres–this is where all those DNFs come into play.

because I was moving away from YA, I had a lot of trouble deciding what, exactly, I should move towards. I’d been in the YA world for so long –90% of the people on my Goodreads were YA reviewers, all the BookTube channels I was subscribed to were YA-focused–that I didn’t quite know how to approach the world of Other Books. I knew I wanted to read more literary fiction and maybe non-fiction, but I had no idea where to start. this basically meant a lot of trial and error, with the “error” part being all the books that I DNFd. I just read a bunch of stuff that I thought I’d like and hoped for the best; sometimes that paid off (hello Sally Rooney!!!) and sometimes that didn’t (hello 41 books I DNFd!!).

June was an especially Cursed month, with a whopping 10 almost-consecutive DNFs, which, needless to say, really took a toll on my motivation to read. honestly at that point in the year I felt like I was doomed and that I was just never gonna find a book that I liked. 🤷

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so this is a table of every single book that I DNFd in 2019, organized by how much of that book I read before I DNFd it. a big reason why the list is so long is that I decided to include every book I DNFd, even if I read like 5 pages of that book. it seems kinda pointless to do that, I know, but I really just wanted to keep track of every book that I decided to read, sat down to read, read a bit of, and then decided not to read, regardless of whether I read a lot of that book or not.

as you can see, there’s a pretty wide range of how many pages I read of a book before I DNFd it. the lowest number is 7 pages–lol I started listening to the audio of Everything is Trash, But It’s Okay, got like 5 minutes into it and immediately nope’d my way out because I could not stand to listen to anymore–and the highest is 288 pages. most books I gave at least 30ish pages, a bunch I gave 60+ pages, and 9 books I gave 100+ pages. so I did give a lot of books a decent chance.

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PART II: REASONS FOR DNFing A BOOK

1. Disliked/hated/was bored by the writing

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Notable mentions:
A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler (56%, 200 pgs) — which was possibly the most excruciatingly boring vanilla book I have read in my entire life and would’ve probably gotten the lowest of 1 stars had I actually finished it
Trust Exercise by Susan Choi (18%, 45 pgs) — which was literary fiction at its most pretentious and unreadable
Family of Origin by CJ Hauser (45%, 129 pgs) — which I went into expecting a nice story about brother-sister bonds but instead got an incest plotline which was *technically* not incest but still basically incest 🙂 🙂 🙂
The Man Who Saw Everything by Deborah Levy (22%, 46 pgs)- which started out fine but then I just couldn’t get along with the weird, off-kilter writing (I also tried reading some non-fiction from Deborah Levy, specifically The Cost of Living, and gave it 2 stars, so maybe she’s not the author for me…)

2. Writing was okay, but didn’t feel any motivation to keep reading

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Notable mentions:
White Teeth by Zadie Smith (43%, 229 pgs) — which was going fine but it was 540 pages and I just didn’t have the willpower to wade through so many more pages
Death With Interruptions by Jose Saramago (38%, 90 pgs) — which was interesting but then the plot felt like it wasn’t really going anywhere and I got tired of reading about plot with no focus on characters
Lie With Me by Philippe Besson (18%, 27 pgs) — which was written in a really distant, stiff way so that it felt like I was being told characters’ emotions as opposed to actually seeing them feel those emotions

3. Didn’t end up finishing the book for a uni class

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Notable mentions:
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
The Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
Dracula by Bram Stoker
The Mezzanine by Nicholas Baker

these books I DNFd exclusively because we had stopped discussing them in class, and they weren’t gonna come up in any other assignments, so there was kinda no use in me using the very little time that I had to finish them when I didn’t needed to.

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PART III: GIVING DNFd BOOKS A SECOND CHANCE

having been consistently reading books for like 7ish years now, I’ve gotten a chance to really hone my reading instincts and figure out what I like and don’t like in the books that I read. so when I read ~50 pages of a book and it’s not sitting well with me, I trust my instincts and just go ahead and DNF it. some books I give more of a chance than others, but at the end of the day if I’m not enjoying something I won’t read it. simple as that.

HOWEVER, the thing with DNFing books is, you kinda never know if maybe you missed out on a book you would’ve loved because you were possibly hasty in DNFing it. this has especially been the case in the last year where, as I explained, my reading tastes have changed A LOT.

that being said, there are 3 books that I DNFd last year that I’d really like to give–or have already given–a second chance. I’m giving these books a second chance because:
a) I feel like I’ll like them if I’m more patient with them, especially now that I know what I’m more into in terms of genres and
b) a lot of people whose reviews I trust LOVE these books

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1. The Idiot – Elif Batuman

I’ve already read this book this year after I DNFd it last year and, uh, I rated it 4.5 stars and it’s now one of my favourite books of the year lol. the world works in mysterious ways. I don’t know what put me off of reading The Idiot last year, but I’m so glad I decided to give it another chance because I LOVED it. (also now I have a perfectly valid excuse to buy it so that I can have this iconic cover on my shelves)

2. Milkman – Anna Burns

again, a book I DNFd last year, decided to give another chance this year, and that I am currently LOVING (it’s 100% going to make it to my favourites shelf this year). this is such a masterful book; I have so much to say about it once I actually finish it and manage to write out some semblance of a coherent review of it.

a big part of why I’m loving this now whereas last year I didn’t is because last year I had zero knowledge of the historical background behind this novel. like I knew absolutely nothing about the Troubles or what Anna Burns meant when the narrator was talking about the people “over the road,” “over the water,” “renouncers of the state,” “defenders of the state,” etc. so a lot of that flew over my head and I was just very, very confused, something which was not exactly helped by the fact that this is a novel that demands a lot of your attention.

honestly Patrick Radden Keefe’s Say Nothing saved my life; I understand so much more about the Troubles now because of it, and am finally able to understand the historical moment that Milkman is set in.

3. Girl, Woman, Other – Bernadine Evaristo

this is the only novel from this list that I haven’t actually revisited after DNFing it, and probably the one that I’m least sure about to be honest. I’m 100% still gonna give this a second chance though because so many people whose opinions I really trust have not only loved it, but have considered it their favourite novel of last year. also, there’s that tiny lil fact that this book won what is arguably the most prestigious literary award there is, aka the Man Booker prize, so that’s probably a point in its favour lol.

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AND THAT’S IT. this was a long post, but I had a lot to talk about, especially since last year was such a strange mess of a reading year for me. thankfully though, things have settled down this year reading-wise, and I’ve been much more immersed in a community that promotes books that are similar to the books that I’m currently interested in.

the bulk of what I read is now literary fiction, short story collections, and non-fiction (mostly memoirs and essay collections). and I’ve been so happy with what I’ve been reading and have been finding a lot of new favourites, so I guess last year’s reading crisis actually amounted to something.

anyway, I hope everyone is healthy and doing alright what with this ongoing pandemic and all. let me know if you DNF books and what your general opinions are about DNFing books. thanks so much for stopping by!!


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LET’S TALK BOOK COVERS (discussion)

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hello hello!! so today i’m doing a slightly different kind of post because honestly, i just really wanted to look at some pretty book covers. there are so many amazing book covers for a lot of upcoming book releases + some book covers that i just love in general, so i wanted to dedicate a whole blog post to take time and appreciate the art behind all these covers.


OKAY. so book covers!! i’m gonna start by saying that when it comes to book covers, i don’t really have a specific kind of style or trend that i love. i know an amazing book cover when i see one, and it doesn’t get much more specific than that.

there are, however, some book cover design elements that always catch my eye and draw me to a book, so i thought i’d explore some of them in this post. AND, as a bonus, you get to find out about some cool books that i’m excited for/that i’ve already read and loved!!

so yeah…let’s talk about BOOK COVER DESIGNS


#1: PAINTED BOOK COVERS

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THIS BOOK COVER IS SO BEAUTIFUL. it speaks for itself. the incredibly compelling and jarring mirror distortion effect, the bursts of colour you get from the eye colour, the eyeshadow, and the lips — everything comes together so beautifully. and it’s all PAINTED. 10/10 i added this book to my TBR solely because of the cover (and if it doesn’t get good reviews i will be devastated because how can a cover that good not come with a good book???)



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i did a double take when i saw this book for the first time because wow, that is a compelling painting; it immediately catches your eye. the original painting is interesting enough, but the sort of blue flare element they’ve added to it on the left gives it so much more depth. it evokes a feeling of memory/something that’s fading or been disrupted somehow, which is perfect considering that this book is a memoir.

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#2: COVERS WITH BOLD COLOURS

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LOOK AT THOSE COLOURS!!! the design is already so odd and compelling, but then add those extremely bright, vibrant colours and it gives the whole cover so much more character!! i love the little details too like the fact that her face is pink but the shadow on it is orange, and the cute little designs on her sweater and the mask on her head.



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again, SO MANY COLOURS. there is no way you walk past a cover that looks like that. and what is this wolf doing in this landscape of these whirly ultrasatured colours ??? i don’t know but i love him!!

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#3: FULLY ILLUSTRATED BOOK COVERS

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this book has got to have one of the most beautiful book covers i’ve ever seen. LIKE WHAT IS THIS !!!! I LOVE IT SO MUCH. the positioning of the woman’s body, her face (the blush on her cheeks, the detail in her eyes and eyebrows!!!), the ARROW IN HER BACK, the beautiful material draped around and on her, the shrubbery. it is a feast for the senses, and the colours go so well together too. it really is just a piece of Art.



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LOOK AT THIS!! how can you not be intrigued by a cover that looks like this!! and it goes so well with what the book is about too!! it’s eerie and implies hidden layers and secrecy: you see the woman only from the vantage point of a hole in the top of the house, and through the different layers that that hole made in the structure of the house. it’s so well thought out, and the typography of the title is the perfect cherry on top. 🍒

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#4: SIMPLE BUT EFFECTIVE COVERS

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like a lot of the covers in this section, this cover has a really simple design with very few colours, and I LOVE IT. i don’t know why this works, but it does. it’s a rock on a pink background, there’s not much to it, but it’s SO eye-catching. even if i hadn’t known about or read this book, i would 100000% recognize it if i saw it somewhere, like oh it’s that pink rock book!! i know that book!! this is definitely one of the more memorable book covers out there, and i think that’s really owing to the effective simplicity of its design.



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i just love this. again, it’s incredibly eye-catching in its simplicity, AND it goes with the content of the book too. splitting the tiger’s body onto the two sides of the book cover implies a kind of passing from one place to the next, or even a circular movement, like the whole tiger’s body is wrapped around the book cover. and that’s it. there’s nothing else to this cover. the tiger is beautifully illustrated, and the background is black. shows you that you don’t really need a lot visually to make an impact. love this cover so much.



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i don’t know why but i’m just in love with this cover. IT SUITS THE BOOK SO WELL. it’s a lovely picture of this ceramic animal figurine that implies a kind of harmless domesticity, like oh look at the cute lil animal decoration!! but the fact that the one on the left is lying on its back, with its bottom exposed, kind of ruins that cozy domestic feeling. like the dog on the left should be upright and standing next to its other ceramic dog buddy, but it’s not, and that is EXACTLY what this book is about: mundane, everyday-life things being unexpectedly thrown off their axes. and the colour scheme, too, is so lovely and muted. it all hangs together beautifully!!

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#5: HONOURABLE MENTIONS

these covers didn’t really fit into a theme, but i really wanted to include them because i love their design and, like i said, they need to appreciated, so here you go!! behold some appreciation-worthy book covers:

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and there you have it, some of my favourite book covers as of late. honestly i loved making this post because every time i see a beautiful book cover i’m like wow that’s a beautiful cover! and then i do nothing about it. but through the power of the blog post (and exclamation marks!!!!!) i have finally released my love for these book covers into the internet ether.

i hope you enjoyed!! let me know which covers were your favourites, and if you have any particular book covers that have stuck with you recently that you’d recommend i take a look at. c:


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EMMA MOVIE ADVANCE SCREENING (discussion)

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guys. guys. GUYS. i won tickets to the advance screening of Emma and last thursday i went to go see it and. IT WAS SO ABSOLUTELY DELIGHTFUL I LOVED IT SO MUCH. naturally i wanted to write a whole blog post about it to tell you about my experience and the movie, so here we are. there’s about to be a whole of gushing in this post so prepare yourselves

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PART 1: The Saga of How I Got Tickets to the Screening

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so i found out about the screening because Penguin Canada was holding a giveaway for it on their newsletter, then i proceeded to obsessively check Twitter every day to see if there were any other giveaways i could enter to increase my chances. i entered a bunch, and then, to my absolute surprise, I FREAKING WON TICKETS. thank you so much to Brief Take for sending me tickets to the event. i was at work when i found out i’d won and i absolutely and fully lost my shit. i wanted to go so bad and couldn’t believe that i’d actually get the chance to go 😭😭😭😭 so yeah, THANK YOU BRIEF TAKE

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PART 2: Waiting to Line Up for the Movie

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So i got to the Cineplex VERY EARLY (3pm lol) and killed time until the event, which was at 7pm. i finished my book, watched some vids, took some pics, and generally walked around to see if there was anything happening that was related to the screening.

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PART 3: The Lead-Up to Seeing the Movie

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Autumn de Wilde and Anya Taylor-Joy, the director and the star of the movie respectively, were supposed to come to the screening, but sadly because of the weather their flight was delayed (i think) and they couldn’t come. :c i was bummed for a bit but then the movie was about to start and i was so excited to just be able to see it so i was like its okay 🤷

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before the movie started, Jane Austen Dancing, a Jane Austen re-enactment group, did a little live dance for the audience, which was so cool to see!! they were all dressed up in Regency clothes and there was a man there playing violin for them to dance to and it was great!!

AND THEN!!! there were a couple of trivia questions that the presenter asked and if we answered them correctly we got an Emma goodie bag and I WON ONE!! I was so excited lol honestly i’m getting excited just typing this now it was such a fun day. in the goodie bag there was a paperback copy of Emma (which is beautiful!! and i didn’t already own this edition of it so it was a lovely addition to my Jane Austen collection), a compact mirror, two boxes of candy hearts, and the bag itself, which was a really nice heavy-duty canvas tote bag.

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PART 4: Seeing the Actual Movie (!!!!!)

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my review of the movie is: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. I LOVED IT SO MUCH. i mean i kinda knew this was gonna be a 10/10 for me but i don’t think i anticipated how much i would LOVE IT. this movie is my current obsession and i wanna rewatch it already. if you’re a Jane Austen fan, especially a fan of Emma, you’re going to love this movie. 

everything about it was perfection: the acting, the COSTUMES, the set design (so lavish and vibrant and colourful; a total feast for the senses), the comedy (it was SO funny in really small and unexpected ways), the romance (the chemistry between anya taylor-joy and johnny flynn !!!!!!!!!), the score (playful and pitch perfect)–there is not a single thing about this movie that i didn’t like to be honest. and they even added some new scenes to the movie which complemented the story and were so fun to watch. i’ve read and seen Emma like a million times so it was so fun to get to be surprised by an adaptation of it.

i also love how they were able to condense the story of Emma but still keep its essential narrative moments. i love the focus on Emma and Harriet’s friendship (it was so wholesome they’re so cute 💕💕💕💕💕). and the way they set up and explored Emma and Mr. Knightley’s dynamic was PERFECT. the tension, the chemistry, the buildup–it all unfolded beautifully and the payoff was *chef’s kiss*

i wish i could be more articulate and specific, but i have nothing to say about this movie right now other than “AAAAAAA I LOVED IT” lol. i expect that i’m going to be rewatching it a million times once it’s more widely available, so maybe then i’ll do a more detailed review. that being said, i feel like Emma (2020) did for Emma what Pride and Prejudice (2005) did for Pride and Prejudice: both masterful movies that are BEAUTIFUL as movies but are also really faithful to the spirit of the novels they’re based on.

this movie was just an absolute fucking delight. it made me so happy i was in a good mood for the whole day after watching it.

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PART 5: The End

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and there we have it: Emma (2020) yall. what a fun day. it’s been a while since we’ve gotten good, new Jane Austen content (i mean there was Sanditon but it was…not that great imo) so as soon i heard this movie was coming out + saw its trailer i was losing my mind. i’m so happy that i got to participate in the whole launch of this movie. it feels amazing to be part of the Jane Austen world as it’s happening.

PLEASE GO WATCH THIS MOVIE!!! if you love Jane Austen you’ll love it, and if you don’t love Jane Austen you’ll still love it. i’ve linked to to the (AMAZING) trailer below. the movie is out in the US and Canada now, and will be out everywhere on March 6. GO SEE IT!!