Sunday Salon: On Goodreads and Abandoned Books

I’ve mentioned before, maybe on the blog, maybe elsewhere, that I tend to finish books. I don’t typically discard them, even when I’m not enjoying them. The reasons why are not really the point of this post – it’s just an explanation of my reading style. Another part of my reading style is that for the rare books I don’t finish, I don’t count them as “read.” Maybe that’s because if I do give up on a book, it’s usually within 50 pages. I’m not going to read 150 pages of a 200 page book and then stop. That’s just me.

Book cover, Legends of the Fall by Jim Harrison. Movie tie in version.
A recent DNF. Even Brad Pitt’s face
on the cover couldn’t save it.

However, since starting to use Goodreads last year, this has presented me with a bit of a problem. I have to count books as either “to read,” “currently reading,” or “read.” Where’s my option for “dnf” (did not finish)?

Well! I figured out how to account for those books. I was tinkering around on the site (when really, I should have been reading) and I came across a solution. Apparently you can mark a shelf as “exclusive.” A book can only be on one of the “exclusive” shelves at a time. I created a dnf shelf and marked it “exclusive.” Voila:

Notice how the dnf shelf is above the shelf divide? Now when I add a book, goodreads automatically asks me if I want to add it to the “read” “currently reading” “to read” or da da dum “dnf.” This has made me disproportionately happy, for some reason. Why, I really don’t know, since as you can see there are exactly zero books on my dnf shelf. But now it’s there the next time I need it. I guess I could go back and add books to the shelf, but I’m not feeling that at the moment. Although it would be nice to see how many books I abandon this year. There’s been one (maybe two?) already.

So tell me: Am I the last person to have discovered this? Do you even use Goodreads (probably, if you got this far)? Do you count abandoned books as “read”? Are you outraged I couldn’t finish Legends of the Fall? Did you discover any little tip or trick this week – related to books or not? Feel free to weigh in on any of that, or whatever else you may desire 🙂


16 thoughts on “Sunday Salon: On Goodreads and Abandoned Books

  1. Congrats on thwarting Goodreads! I have a similar feeling about abandoning books. I almost never do, but on the rare chance that one is too awful to continue, I don't count it as read. I've only recently started using Goodreads on a regular basis, and need to find some time to finish cataloging my book collection on there.Happy Sunday!

  2. I found this about Goodreads a little while ago as well, and it's great. I not have a TBR-own shelf, so I can keep track of the books that I bough, which is especially helpful for ebooks, because I sometimes forget I have them.Also, with your dnf shelf (I may have to steal this idea btw) it would be interesting to see what recommendations Goodreads comes up with for that shelf!

  3. Thank you so much for writing this post—I've had the same issue when it comes to Goodreads. I mean, I'm a similar reader to you (in that I don't tend to abandon books), but in the rare case that I DO turn tail and run, I'd like to mark that down on Goodreads. Brilliant—thanks for your help! 🙂

  4. My reading pattern is similar to yours…I have a "didn't finish" shelf on Goodreads, but didn't know you can make it exclusive. So I've been marking books as both "read" and "didn't finish", which is not entirely satisfactory. Thanks for the tip!

  5. I can't seem to stop reading a book before I finish it either. The book I'm reading now is taking me over a week to read. I wish I could break that annoying habit!!Thanks for the info about the DNF shelf. Hopefully I'll need to make me one soon!

  6. yea, cool!! I just figured that out this past week!! I really hate not finishing a book, too. I called mine "un-finished" in hopes of gettin' back to it some day, but it's a relief not to keep it in "to be read" or "currently reading", you know?!

  7. Very helpful post! I have a Goodreads but haven't kept up with it. Maybe I will now that you explained how to make a DNF shelf! I could've filled that shelf last year. I think I was the problem, not the books though.

  8. What a great solution. I rarely give up on a book, either, but it's nice to have an option if I do. I assume you could move a book if you decide to give it a try at some later date?

  9. Wow, I'm certainly glad my tinkering around will come in handy for some others!@jesspoole: I love the recommendations idea! It'd be like a to-avoid list ;-)@Lisa: Yes, you can certainly move them to another shelf later if you want to give them another try.

  10. Only in the last few years have I been able to stop reading a book at any point if I simply cannot/don't feel like finishing it. I'm curious: Are you planning to mark books DNF that you hope to return to, or all books that are DNF? I love the idea of this category for books I want to read but just can't get through for some reason. (I'm a moody reader!) There are some books I'll probably never pick up again, though…I won't name names to protect the innocent. 🙂

  11. @eveningreader: I'll probably use it for all my DNFs. I can see having two separate shelves, though – may a "return to later (maybe)" and a "stay away from all costs" shelf. Sometimes I do put down a book for an extended period of time, but so far I've just kept it on my "currently reading" shelf as a reminder to get back to it.

  12. Oh, this is great! I always put books into read and DNF and then substracted them from the read numbers. How awesome that you found a way around it! Thank you!!!

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