Monday, August 17, 2009

Weekly Geeks: Second Chances

This week's topic:

There have been times in my life where I reread a book (or author) I hated--or thought I hated--but the second time around ended up loving. Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever changed your mind about a book or author the second time around? Have you ever given a book or author a second chance?

If you have, I'd love to hear your stories. Blog about your experience(s) in giving second chances.

If you haven't, I'd like you to consider giving a book or an author a second chance. You can blog about your intentions to do so--or if you're a quick reader, maybe you can even squeeze something in!

Can't think of a single book or author? Don't worry, you can stretch this one to include movies or music if you prefer.

It is just very interesting to me how time can change tastes and perceptions. How subjective the reading experience is and always will be.

How I Came To Love A Monster, A Rambling Review of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

The True Meaning of Smek Day by Adam Rex. Glowing review (second review). Not so glowing review (first mini-review). One was written November 9, 2007...the second was written November 18th, 2007. Short amount of time between the two. But oh-such-a-difference those days in between must have made in my mood.

Octavian Nothing by M.T. Anderson (the first book). The oh-I-hate-it review from November 30, 2006. The oh-I-love-it-so-much-I-want-to-read-it-for-my-book-club review from October 24, 2008.

These books represent different 'cases' of why I gave a book a second chance:

  • Giving assigned reading from years-gone-by a second try. Hated a book (or author) when it was assigned to me in high school. Curious to see if my "adult" self will appreciate the book more. Frankenstein falls into this case. As does Silas Marner.
  • Series books. Didn't particularly care for the first book in the series, but for whatever reason, felt compelled to read the second. Octavian Nothing by M.T. Anderson is a good example of this. I needed to read the second novel, for Cybils purposes, and knew that I'd have to reread the first one in order to be fair. It'd been too many years since I'd read the first one. And I felt I would have a hard time picking up the story again. The Shadow Thieves is another good example of this. The link is for the newest review...here's the link for the first review.
  • Completing Abandoned Books. Sometimes I give abandoned/discarded books a second try. These are books that I've read some in. In the case of The True Meaning of Smek Day, I was only seventy-five pages from the end. But I was hating it so much, I stopped reading. About eight or nine days later, I revisited my decision. Couldn't I finish it? It wasn't that much further after all. Surely those last pages could be done quickly. But I found myself confused. When did this character get introduced? When did that happen? How did I miss that? After a few pages, I decided to start from the beginning. I was just looking to re-orient myself to the story, the characters. But I found that I couldn't put it down. I ended up loving it. Really loving it. I couldn't believe that this book that had annoyed and frustrated me so very much just a week or two before was now my new favorite. But it happened.

It's a bit scary (in a way) to realize how big a role moods can play in how much you like, love, or hate a book.

Now, I have read a small handful of books that didn't improve upon second reading. (Wuthering Heights comes to mind.)

Which book will I never, ever, ever reread no matter what? JUDE THE OBSCURE by Thomas Hardy.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

6 comments:

Ceri 12:17 PM  

I definitely think a book depends on your mood and especially where you are in your life at that point. :-D I hated Jane Austen when I first picked her up as a teen. I fell in love with her in university and now love all the books!

Amanda 1:29 PM  

I have really disliked books and never went back to attempt to at least enjoy them. Gotta change up that habit!

Suko 5:31 PM  

I can't really think of any books or movies that have sort of "grown on me" with time. But I've definitely had this happen to me with music CDs. I had to wait for the right time to listen to them. Suddenly they were fantastic! You're right, mood comes into play.

Carl V. 10:43 PM  

I'm really racking my brain to see if there was anything I have went back to and liked. One thing off the top of my head is Deep Space Nine, which I ignorantly wrote off when it was on television and hold in the highest esteem now, after watching all 7 seasons. I miss that show so much now. The most recent book I gave up on was Mainspring by Jay Lake. I'm a big fan of steampunk and this got really good reviews but I just wasn't getting into it. I read over half of it and just stopped. I had just finished Asimov's Foundation trilogy and was blown away by it, so perhaps any book read right after that was bound to suffer by comparison. I should probably go back and try it again.

Melissa 8:49 AM  

I've been trying to think up a post for this week's topic, but have yet to figure out which books to feature...

Anyway. I totally agree with you about mood, and I'll add that time and circumstances also factor into a reading of a book. I read P&P first when I was 14 and hated it. Read it again at 20-something and loved it. The book didn't change, but I certainly did.

Though, like you, there are some (like Wuthering Heights!) that I refuse to try again. I guess I'm getting pickier as I get older!

Anonymous,  1:08 PM  

About Jude - Hear, hear! :) L.

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
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4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
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