“The Casual Vacancy” Tops Goodreads’ List of Popular Abandoned Books

BoingBoing brings our attention to one of the hidden features of Goodreads. Lots of people like to use GR’s “shelves” feature to track the books they gave up on, and they frequently label their discard shelf with the name “abandoned”.

Goodreads has collated those shelves and come up with a list of Popular Abandoned Books. Of the top ten titles on this list, I have finished two and abandoned 3:

While that’s an interesting list, it’s far from a comprehensive one.

I did some digging and found that this list does not take into account other discard piles, including the shelves DNF, DidNotFinish, etc. Of the shelves I found, the DNF shelf was the most heavily used and Did Not Finish the least, and no two lists had quite the same selection of titles.

In any case, if you are looking for the next book for you to give up on after 50 pages,  you should check out these shelves.

Do you have a DNF shelf? (I would if I were more interested in keeping track.)

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Bill Peschel8 December, 2019

    This assumes that everyone accurately records their reading. I don’t, by a wide margin.

  2. Rusty8 December, 2019

    I’m like Bill. I only buy books when they’re not available from the library and it’s an author I like. I check out many books every week and have gotten very good at quickly telling which ones are duds for me. So my DNF list would be huge if I recorded every one.

    The name of my DNF list is did-not-finish. Too bad they don’t have page of an aggregate of the various names people use. For the books I really hated I also have sorry-i-read-it.

  3. Mike Cane9 December, 2019

    I had to click through to the BB list. What a bizarre list! Girl with the Dragon Tattoo? The Martian? I can understand dumping Atlas Shrugged, but Orwell’s 1984?! Ready Player One is definitely a Sorry I Read It one for me.

    1. Nate Hoffelder9 December, 2019

      I gave up on RP1 after 15 pages.

  4. Bob N9 December, 2019

    Yep, I have an “abandoned” shelf on Goodreads. The Casual Vacancy was the reason I created it in 2012 and the first book I added to it.

  5. Frank9 December, 2019

    No surprise, the author is known for Harry Potter books and this book is nothing like those.

  6. Aaron9 December, 2019

    Honestly, I’ve gotten to where I don’t even add a book to my currently reading shelf until I’m like 20% into it so I know whether or not I’m going to abandon it. In my mind, it’s not worth putting on Goodreads if I can’t either get that far or don’t see myself finishing it.

  7. Bob N9 December, 2019

    I made it through Ready Player One but Ernest Cline’s next book Armada is on my abandoned books list. I dumped that book after two chapters.


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