You may or may not have heard of Sabriel, which Shanti fangirls about with alarming frequency, as do some of our other friends. However, I picked it up in 2014 (I think. A long time ago, anyway), got about 40% through, and the DNF’d it. I recently finished the audiobook and really enjoying it, which made me think about giving books second chances.
You know the feeling. There’s a book everyone’s talking about… but you’ve already tried it and didn’t finish. Someone’s just published a new book, but you haven’t enjoyed the author’s other works. You
Reasons not to give the author/book a second chance
- You don’t have the time. There’s lots of other books you have to read or review and you don’t want to waste your time with something you don’t think you’ll enjoy.
- There is a seriously off-putting aspect of the book. Maybe it had really horrible rep, or was racist or misogynist, or just really really annoying.
- You don’t think you mesh with the author. Maybe you’ve read several of their other books and didn’t enjoy any, and maybe something about them and their writing just doesn’t work for you. (It’s okay! It will work for someone else!)
I’m quite glad I gave Sabriel a second chance, like I said before. I don’t know what my past self was thinking to DNF it (and complain about how dumb it was) for so many years.
But this doesn’t always work. For example, I was kind of meh about Bookishly Ever After, but I reread it (and kind of liked it more?) before trying Dramatically Ever After, which I was really not a fan of. And I didn’t really like quite a few Kasie West books, tried them again, and consistently kept not liking them. (Please note this was giving authors, rather than books a second chance. But sometimes it’s the same idea).
In that light:
Reasons to give the author/book a second chance
- If you’ve read it before, chances are it’s easily available at your library/on your bookshelf/belongs to your friend/on your ereader, which other books you want to read may not be.
- Your friends might have really liked this book/author, and constantly harass you about reading it. Maybe you didn’t like it orginally, but they’ll be happy if you give it a chance, and you’ll be able to join in discussions about it (such was the case with me and Sabriel). (Although I do have friends who really want me to give Sarah J. Maas a second try. I have so far refused)
- You might have changed since you tried reading the book. Maybe you’ll like it now when you didn’t before. (I suspect this was also the case with Sabriel). Look up reviews or ask friends who’ve read the book to find out.
- The author might have changed since you last read their books. Maybe the newer books are more your type. If you think this may be true, then I’d suggest looking up reviews and synopses to see if there are aspects you might enjoy now.
- You can try another format. Maybe you didn’t like it as an audiobook, but you’ll like it as a physical book or vice versa? This was the case for me and Blue Lily, Lily Blue. I DNF’d several times with the audiobook (I’d listen to a few chapters, give up, start again because I’d forgotten the plot) but eventually finished it (and low key enjoyed) as an ebook.
In conclusion, I think giving a book or author a second chance depends on several things. Firstly, you’ve got to have the time to prioritise it over everything else you might want to read. Secondly, you have to work out if what you didn’t like originally is something that has changed, or if you have changed to like it. Also, I’d say that if you give a book/author a second chance, and still don’t like it for whatever reason a few chapters in, you are still perfectly justified in stopping it immediately, because you’ve got better things to do. And if the first two chances don’t work out, don’t bother with third chances. You’ve got better things to do, and someone else can enjoy the book.
Do you give books or authors second chances? Why or why not? Do you have any reasons to add to either side of my list?