Giving Books Second Chances

Posted July 6, 2015 by Carlisa in Discussion, Let's Talk / 6 Comments

Discussion (3)Second chances are hard things to come by. It’s hard to receive second chances and it’s hard to give them out. Talking about books specifically, second chances are even harder for me to give. If I don’t like a book or I don’t finish a book, I will usually never give it another glance.

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But I’ve been thinking lately…there are some books that I might want to give another chance. And it makes me wonder when are there times that you should try giving books second chances? When you should revisit a DNF or try reading a book you just didn’t particularly like when you read it years ago? Let’s think about it.

The DNF books

I don’t often not finish books but when I do, there are many different reasons. Definitely just felt like that meme guy. Okay, I gave in. I had to make it a meme.

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But seriously, I’m not really one to not finish books. Which sometimes results in excessive amounts of eye-rolling and guffawing when a book really annoys me. But it does sometimes happen. I’m planning on writing a post with these reasons explained in-depth, but I think each person has different things that would cause them to close a book for good.

But, like I said, many reasons. But what if I would have finished the book and loved it? What if I just didn’t give it enough of a chance? This is something I always wonder, especially with popular books that I didn’t like. Buuuuut, what if I try to read a DNF book again and you hate it just as gone girlmuch…or more?  Let’s talk examples here. Because the Gone Girl movie was about to come out, there was a ton of hype surrounding that book. About how it’s crazy and twisty and you-won’t-see-that-coming. Honestly, that sounds like my kind of book. So I started reading it. And I couldn’t get past the first 15%, I’d say. It was so crude. And I feel like it didn’t need to be crude. And sometimes I could get past that because the story sometimes overshadows it…but I just couldn’t. So I closed the book. But then the movie comes out and again: hype. So I thought to myself, Maybe I didn’t get it a fair shot. Let’s try it again. I check out the book. I open the book. I make it to about 20% when I close it, sighing over the same thing. Disheartened. I sincerely wanted to like this book. But it just didn’t work for me, even the second time around.

But I think that’s just one book. I think there are probably many books that would change how you think about a book on the second go-around.

The Okay or Disliked Books

So there are the DNF books. But what about the books that you read all the way through but didn’t particularly like? Or actually disliked? Cause these books have me wondering all the time. What if I’d like it this time? Why does everyone else like it? Did I miss something that made it great? You know. Again, this usually happens to me with hyped books. Why didn’t I like it if everyone else did? And then I start to want to read it again. miss peregrine

This happened to me recently with Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. I read this right when it came out, so like four years ago, and I just didn’t like it. I don’t remember hating it. I just remembered not really liking it and thinking it was kind of weird. And just recently I heard that Tim Burton is making it into a movie. Tim Freaking Burton. And now there’s a sequel to the first book. So automatically I’m like Psh, four years ago I was only 16 years old. What did I know? And I’m itching for a re-read to see if I would like it now. BUT WHAT IF I STILL DON’T LIKE IT? These questions haunt me.

The Hated Books

We all have them. The hated books. The ones that make you so agitated you could throw it against the wall (and, honestly, you may have already done that). This section of books is a lot easier for me to just say no. It’s like drugs. Just Say No. If you hated it that much the first time, you honestly probably won’t like it the second time. Unless you’ve 360ed as a person.

One example, though, where I’ve actually contemplated this is the Divergent series. So, I enjoyed the first one but then the following two were enough to make me hate the series. Seriously, I can rant about that book series for awhile. And I wanted to write a blog post about it. But I read those books about two years ago before my blogging days and therefore didn’t have any notes or anything. So I felt like to write a post about why I dislike Divergent so much, I’d have to re-read the entire series. To be accurate, you know. But I haven’t re-read them. I can’t bring myself to do it. And the post is still sitting in my drafts. So we’ll just have to see what happens.

Why We Might Want to Try Giving Books Second Chances

I don’t think every book deserves a second chance. Badly written books are going to stay badly written. Books that you hated are not suddenly going to become 5-star favorites. Buuuut, there are some things that do change that may affect it. Like time and age and experience. The person who read that “meh” book five years ago isn’t the same person who’d read it today. The characters or story might affect you differently now. But with giving books second chances, we risk wasting time on a book that we still won’t like or that we still might not finish. But we also take the chance on finding a book that will touch us. Will change us. And sometimes, that’s a risk worth taking.

What do you think? Have you given books second chances before? How did those turn out? Or do you not like to give books another go-around? Let me know!


  • I give books second chances pretty regularly, mostly because I am an extreme mood reader (it feels good to get that off of my chest.) I could be really excited about a book one day, but the next I would rather read a dictionary than continue that book. My reading mood swings are terrible and can happen more than once a day. So, most of the time, I stop reading a book and start it again when I am in the mood for that kind of particular book again. This happened recently with The Orphan Queen. Everyone and their mother is raving about that book, but I could not make it past 30% (but in my defense, it is a pretty long book so that is a significant amount). I just felt myself dreading reading it and longing to read something else. The writing was great, the characters were interesting, and nothing was really wrong. I was just simply not in the mood for a high fantasy type book. Of course, I am going to give it another try when my reading hormones finally decide to settle.
    On the other hand, some books I just cannot read and will NEVER get a second chance. For example, I just could not read Talon by Julie Kawaga (or her Iron King books either). The main character was extremely haughty, conceited, and plain ignorant to anything in the world except herself. I got like 20% before I was tired of hearing her voice yammering on about her problems.
    That turned into more of a rant than I expected, but I love your discussions! They always get me thinking!
    Tessa @ Crazy for YA

    • I love your long comments!

      I’m jealous of your ability to come back so quickly. Most of the time if I stop reading a book, I get absorbed by the next one and then have no desire to go back. Like that exact thing is happening right now. I was reading Crimson Bound and started re-reading Fangirl in the middle. Just finished Fangirl and now I’m just sitting here debating whether or not I want to continue with Crimson Bound or start a new book. I’M SO TORN.

  • That’s true and something I didn’t think about that much: some books we don’t appreciate as much the first time. I think this happens to me a lot with books I read for classes. I’m an English major so I am forced to read a lot of things that I wouldn’t necessarily pick up on my own…and because I *have* to read them, I think it loses some of the appeal for me. But then if I go back and read them on my own, I am better able to appreciate it for the great work that it is!

  • I do give books second chances, and sometimes it works out well, other times I’m not sure of yet, because I’m not feeling them yet, BUT, I plan on giving them a chance soon. I do think some books are mood ones – you’ve got to be in the right mood to read them, and that’s fair enough, so sometimes you just gotta give it a chance. Great post Carlisa! 🙂

  • Jessica Samuelsen

    As always… Fantastic Article! Love reading your discussions. I am sad to say… I do not give books second chances. It’s one and done for me. If it didn’t impress me the first time, I’m moving forward fast and there is no time to look back.

  • Carlisa I used to be like you and couldn’t put a book down regardless of how much I didn’t like it I would still persevere, but since I’ve become a book blogger I’m actually faster at giving the dreaded “DNF” rating as there are just so many books out there that MUST BE read and not enough time in my lifetime LOL however, the strange thing about me, is that when it’s a series and say book 3 is released I’ve got to re-read book 1 and 2 before reading 3, I think I’m going to stop doing this, and just start being thorough in my reading the first time around ie. writing proper notes etc. just so I can just go back and re-read my notes.

    You are totally right though your life and tastes change. I’ve given away two whole bags of books, many unread because it was no longer what I want to read so I think that you can revisit if you feel that it appeals to you more at that particular time in your life.