From DNF to LTS – a change in perspective

DNF. Did Not Finish. 

That’s the label we avid readers habitually use for books that we’ve set aside.

DNF. Did Not Finish. 

It smacks of a failure of will, of a target missed, of time wasted. It sounds like not finishing a book is someone’s fault: the writer for not engaging the reader or the reader for not having the focus or the stamina to finish what they chose to start.

So far, in 2019, I’ve added seventeen books to my DNF shelf. That’s about 12% of the books I’ve started. 

I don’t feel any sense of failure about this or any need to blame myself or the authors,

DNF. Did Not Finish needs a new name. I suggest LTS. Life’s Too Short.

When I look at my bookshelves, I’m filled with excitement at all of the things I have still to read… 

“But at my back I always hear 
Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near”


I read about 150 books a year. I’ve got time to read, at most, another 3,000 books.

I want those books to be a pleasure. I want at least some of them to surprise me or challenge me and to reflect the times I’m living in. So I’m going to have to try new things and not all of them are going to work.


Some of the books I set aside this year took me to places I didn’t want to go, some were written in styles or language I didn’t enjoy. Some just bored me. A couple were books in series that had lost its appeal for me.


Every time I set one of them aside, I gained more time to spend on books that brought me pleasure.


So, I can live with 12% of my books being LTS choices. My TBR shelf has a thousand books on it. If it turns out that I finish 880 of them, I’ll be very happy.

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