Monday, 15 August 2016

Mystery Monday: What is a DNF book?


DNF stands for Did Not Finish, but what it really means is that you have GIVEN UP on a book.  As a kid I read what I wanted and if it didn't work for me I moved on.  Then somewhere along the way I would always finish a book even if it didn't work for me.  There is a part of me that hates to be a quitter on a book...but with a TBR list like mine I have to be practical. 

When I start a book I will give it at least 50 pages before I think of DNF-ing a book.  Sometimes I can tell it is just my mood, or a funk so then I stop reading immediately and put it back in rotation for another time.  Stone Diaries was one book I had put back into rotation a few times, and when I did get into Canadian fiction, it turned out to be one of my favourite novels.  Sometimes I find myself impressed with the writing but the book just doesn't engage me, is too slow, the characters are too annoying, the plot is too ridiculous or I just do not care anymore.  If I have read only a few chapters I will not bother making comments on it, but if I have invested at least 50%  I feel I should at least say why I DNF-ed a book.

Written by Graham Moore

AUGUST 16, 2016; 384 Pages
Random House
Genre: Historical fiction, history, based on true events

(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY in exchange for an honest review.)

"A thrilling novel based on actual events, about the nature of genius, the cost of ambition, and the battle to electrify America—from the Oscar-winning screenwriter of The Imitation Game and New York Times bestselling author of The Sherlockian

New York, 1888. Gas lamps still flicker in the city streets, but the miracle of electric light is in its infancy. The person who controls the means to turn night into day will make history—and a vast fortune. A young untested lawyer named Paul Cravath, fresh out of Columbia Law School, takes a case that seems impossible to win. Paul’s client, George Westinghouse, has been sued by Thomas Edison over a billion-dollar question: Who invented the light bulb and holds the right to power the country?

The case affords Paul entry to the heady world of high society—the glittering parties in Gramercy Park mansions, and the more insidious dealings done behind closed doors. The task facing him is beyond daunting. Edison is a wily, dangerous opponent with vast resources at his disposal—private spies, newspapers in his pocket, and the backing of J. P. Morgan himself. Yet this unknown lawyer shares with his famous adversary a compulsion to win at all costs. How will he do it?

In obsessive pursuit of victory, Paul crosses paths with Nikola Tesla, an eccentric, brilliant inventor who may hold the key to defeating Edison, and with Agnes Huntington, a beautiful opera singer who proves to be a flawless performer on stage and off. As Paul takes greater and greater risks, he’ll find that everyone in his path is playing their own game, and no one is quite who they seem." (From Publisher)

This is my first book by Graham Moore and I was a bit sad that I had to DNF this one.  First, I will say that Moore is a great writer.  He brings the time and place alive with his words. I learned a lot about Tesla and Edison as scientists.  Where it fell apart for me was that the pacing was very slow.  You get a lot of information and description but the action itself seems to be barely there.  I found my mind wandering away from the book and would put it down too often.  It also didn't help that I thought there would be more of a thriller/suspense.  I kept waiting for something big to happen.  By the time I made it to 50% I kind of didn't care where the story was going.  And, it was seeming more like a chore.  In saying all that, I am not discouraging readers against this book at all.  If you are a fan of historical fiction, real characters and good writing this novel might work for you.  I am only suggesting that IF it doesn't engage you, you are not alone and you may want to DNF.


GRAHAM MOORE: is a New York Times bestselling novelist and Academy Award-winning screenwriter. His screenplay for THE IMITATION GAME won the Academy Award and WGA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2015 and was nominated for a BAFTA and a Golden Globe. The film, directed by Morten Tyldum and starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley, received 8 Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture.
Graham’s first novel, THE SHERLOCKIAN (2010), was published in 16 countries and translated into 13 languages. It was called “sublime” and “clever” and “delightful” by the New York Times, “savvy” and “entertaining” by the Los Angeles Times, and lots of other nice things as well. Graham’s second novel, THE LAST DAYS OF NIGHT will be published in fall 2016 by Random House.
Graham lives in Los Angeles.

I also started Family Tree last weekend and could not get through it.  In four days I only made it to chapter six.  It was a bit too romance-y and too much like Wiggs' previous books - Bella Vista series and Just Breathe novel - that I was not getting into it.  I usually enjoy Wiggs' novels so I am putting it back into rotation for another time.

k (My Novelesque Life)


  1. Sorry this didn't work for you. Wish I knew how to DNF a book:(

    1. Thanks, Jonetta. As a reviewer, I am in awe of you always finishing a book.