Weekly Geeks – Second Chance

15Aug09

wg-sticky-url6Today’s Weekly Geeks asks:

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.

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

This is an interesting question, and it’s something I’m still quite ambivalent about, as I’ve been ecstatic and disappointed on giving books and authors second chances.

Sometime in 2008, I read Anne Enright’s Taking Pictures – a collection of short stories. All said and done, it’s a great name for a collection of short stories, but, I found the book to be terrible. I almost wept while reading it, but ended up attributing my dislike to the fact that I don’t really like short stories that much.

Come Summer 2009, and I pick up Enright’s The Gathering – the winner of the Booker Prize in 2007. If you follow the link, you’ll see how disappointed I was (it’s the only book I haven’t finished this year!), and now, I don’t think I’ll be able to give her work a third chance. Life’s too short to keep giving an author a chance.

However, and here’s the BIG however:

I re-read Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children a couple of months back, and absolutely loved it. First time ’round, I found it extremely convoluted and difficult to read. Rushdie’s writing style is unique, in the sense that, the words meander around an idea, ’til they completely surround it, and only then is the sentence complete – I wonder if that made sense? Loads of the sentences needed to be read, re-read and read again, and I think back then, patience wasn’t my strongest suit.
This time ’round though, I persevered, and once I broke the 100 page mark, it was smooth-sailing. It’s like the rocky start to a relationship, when you’re still learning about each other. Once you’re past that, the love affair surges and rises above it all, and nothing can get in the way!

And my second re-read of this year was Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, another book I didn’t really enjoy the first time. I didn’t even bother re-reading it just before Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released. I did re-read it after seeing the movie though, and was quite satiated. Of course, the book trumps the movie – any moron could’ve told you that – but, the book is also more Voldemort-centric, which makes it darker and more interesting. It takes us back to the very beginning, and answers some of the questions I had while reading the first four books.
Why didn’t I enjoy it the first time? Well, because, I thought it was very commercial, and Rowling was making a play for the media, not for the fans of the series. I still stand by that sentiment – her first four books are far superior to her last three, but, I think this book needs a re-read to truly appreciate it! (Of course, I would say that).

How about you? Do you give books/authors second chances? How often are you disappointed? And how often, do you feel that it’s been worth it?

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16 Responses to “Weekly Geeks – Second Chance”

  1. I think I’ve enjoyed all the of the Harry Potter books the second time around a lot more. But I liked them all the first time around too!
    I’ve never read either of the other authors you mentioned, but I really should read some Salman Rushdie. I’m not a very patient person though, so maybe it’s not for me?

  2. I liked Midnight’s Children the first time I read it. Thinking of re-reading it soon.

    Weekly Geeks: Second Chance

  3. This has happened to me before with movies as well as books. I think a lot has to do with what mood we are in when we read/watch it.

  4. I gave up on the HP mid way through book #5. I just wasn’t enjoying the series enough to struggle through the end. I’ve only seen two of the films and don’t really care to see any more.

    My Weekly Geeks post is about Neil Gaiman.

  5. 5 Sarah

    My big revelation was Madame Bovary, which I despised as a teenager, but have now read twice in the last twelve months. I love it! I suspect that I would have a similar reaction if I reread The Catcher in the Rye and Anna Karenina. But as you say. life’s too short, and I will probably always be more tempted by something new.

  6. Mine’s about Margaret Atwood’s Blind Assassin. It’s also inspiring me to maybe give The Monsters of Templeton another try – which I threw against a wall part way through.
    Happy Weekly Geeks! :)

  7. @lahni : I first tried reading Rushdie when I was in my teens. It probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do. You need to be patient with Rushdie though, but, it’s totally worth it. However, I have been told that his other books are more long-winded, so I might avoid them for the time-being.

    @gautami tripathy : You should – I’d be quite curious to see what the second read of the book pans out like. It’s a book I’d definitely consider re-reading, specially as I’ll be able to enjoy Rushdie’s style of writing more second time ’round.

    @Vicki – True, and our age, and maybe preconceived notions! Can’t read something very heavy in our early teens.

    @pussreboots : Fair enough – life’s too short and all that. I wouldn’t have persevered with it, but I have this unnatural need to know how it all ended. I did love the first four books though.

    @Sarah : Catcher In The Rye is one of my all-time favorites. I can’t believe how much I love that book. I haven’t read Madame Bovary yet, but, it’s something I’ve been meaning to do.

    @Maree : Ouch! Poor Monsters :( I haven’t read anything by Atwood other than The Handmaid’s Tale, and I think I should change that!

  8. I absolutely love your assessment of Rushdie’s writing style! Many times I have tried to verbalize how he writes to those who have never read him. Your assessment makes complete sense to me. Rushdie is my favorite fiction author. I loved Midnights Children. I have read The Satanic Verses and vow to make this a re-read.

  9. I had a similar experience with Elmore Leonard. I started reading Rum Punch and gave up halfway through and lent to a friend, but I don’t think I inspired her to read it haha.

    THen I read his newest book Road Dogs, and loved it! He’s the to crime reader, and I finally understand why!

  10. Yeah read Get Shorty if you get a chance, or Road Dogs. Also I meant to say he’s the go to crime writer. Edit, elena, edit! I really want to read the Satanic Verses too but I’m a chicken :)

  11. I keep thinking I should give the Harry Potter books another go, I stopped after 4

    • I didn’t really enjoy any of the books after Goblet of Fire, but, when I re=read Half Blood Prince, I just thought it was much better than I remembered.

      Think it would be interesting to see how you find it second time ’round, so give it a go =)

  12. I think I enjoyed all the Harry Potter books more the second time through, just because I could see how everything slotted into place. They’re puzzle books, and I always find those a bit more fun when you I how everything fits together and can see how the author sets it all up.

    • True – although, with Rowling, I did think there were still some loose ends, which she meant to use, but never did. For instance, the significance of his mother’s eyes… the amount of times it was repeated, one would’ve thought it played a big role in the grand scheme of things!

      I’m going to re-read Order of the Phoenix and Deathly Hallows soon…. wish me luck


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