Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Second Chances?

Lately I've been in a bit of a reading slump, going through three or four different books and not settling into anything. So I perused the upcoming/new YA releases at my library. There are a lot of sequels coming out soon.

Two thumbs down for me
And it got me thinking about this idea of author (or series) second chances. Sometimes I start a (popular) series or read my first book by a well-liked author, and I hate it. Like Looking for Alaska by John Green. Or Graceling by Kristin Cashore. Seriously, I'm afraid if I wrote what I honestly thought of those books, I would offend people.

But then I had lots of people encourage me to give John Green another chance. It was his first book, not all of them are as sweary/manic pixie dream girl-ish/whatever as Alaska, etc. So I read Paper Towns, and it was good. And I read The Fault in Our Stars and will never think another book about cancer is as good as that one.

All the thumbs down
So the second chance in that instance was a good thing. And then people told me how Fire was so much better than Graceling. Lots of interesting characters, and crazy abilities, and Brigan. It worked for John Green books, so I thought I'd give Kristin Cashore a second chance. And Fire was so, so, so much worse than Graceling for me. (It won my "Worst Read of 2011") I will not read another book of hers again. Her writing and my reading just don't go together.

So I'm at a bit of a loss as far as second chances go. How do you decide when you'll give an author/series another chance? Or do you not give second chances?

22 comments:

  1. Hmm, I think for me it depends on how much I disliked the first book. If I really didn't like it then I wouldn't try a second book. But if it was more that I didn't feel much either way about the book then I will normally give the author a second chance.

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    1. That's a good point. There are some books that have been (more than) enough for me to write off the author. And without feeling guilty about it, either! :)

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  2. I didn't really like Graceling.. I think I gave it a decent review... but the obsessive book buyer in me just had to buy Fire.. and I'm sure I'll be buying Bitterblue as well. They just look so pretty on my book shelf : / Will I ever read them? Yeah sure why not...Maybe someday when I'm all out of other books to read. I'm always willing to give second chances, although so far, I can't say I've done it for any books yet?? lol!

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    1. The covers really are pretty. Even for Bitterblue (which I probably won't even google to see how it turns out).

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  3. I would say always give second chances, because... you just never know! But if you've read two or three of the same author and it's not happening AT ALL then okay fine... you can drop it.

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    1. It's true! I was positive I would not enjoy another John Green book, but I really really did. (maybe it helps that I'm a big fan of contemporary in general).

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  4. Yeah, it just depends on whether your willing to give them a second chance, I think. BTW, I would LOVE to hear what you hated about Looking For Alaska. ;)

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    1. Oh man, there was so much. I think my two big problems were content (so much f-word and drinking and... other stuff). It was one of the first YA books I read, and I was under the impression YA was super clean.
      And the other was the way Alaska was portrayed. She was like a thing the whole time, instead of a person. I felt like she was supposed to be some sort of feminist or free thinker, but she spends the whole book being objectified. And that doesn't really get addressed.
      I should stop before I go on & on. :)

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  5. I really disliked Graceling, but gave it another chance (I reread it) and liked it much better the second time. I think, though, that it depended mostly on what I was experiencing at the time. So, my answer is: it depends. :) I'm all for holding off on reading stuff by an author I didn't like, until I hear many, many good things said by people who's taste I trust. It's not worth wasting my reading time on stuff I might not like, when there's lots of stuff I'm sure I will like. How's that for a non-answer?

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    1. I'll take it! :) I wonder if I would like some of my disliked book better a second time, when I knew what to expect. Maybe they wouldn't seem as bad?
      But I tend to trust my first impression when I write reviews because I know most people will only read it once.

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  6. Third time's the charm? Three strikes you're out?

    That's generally how I judge authors. It's only fair because when you think about it, each time they publish a book they've learned something (hopefully) from the previous book and they get better. With some people it's a learning curve. With others they have a gift of words. There's really no you shouldn't give this person or that person another chance it's more are you willing to see if they grew at all and learned from previous mistakes?

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    1. That's not a bad idea! Maybe I'll try that for authors who have several books out already.

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  7. I feel you. I get like that sometimes. I'd say no more than twice for me.

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    1. Good to know I'm not the only one. :)

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  8. I guess it totally depends on whether the other book by the author is the same or different... or whether I REALLY disliked a book or whether I just felt "meh" about it at the moment. For example, I didn't like Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater at all, so I wasn't planning on reading any more by her. But then I received a copy of The Scorpio Races and I decided to read it, and I totally fell in love with it. So I think depending on the book you can really like something by an author you didn't necessarily care for before. But then there are some authors you're just not going to like. I read a couple of books by the same author and both of them I just felt so "meh" about. Didn't hate them, but they just did absolutely nothing for me, so I've decided not to read any more by her.

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    1. That's a good point about The Scorpio Races. I'm reading that right now. I liked Shiver well enough, but Scorpio Races is something completely different.
      I think I'd be a lot more willing to give an author another chance if they can write books that are still in their style but very different from each other.

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  9. I give second chances. When I first read The Hobbit, I hated it! I hated Tolkien's writing. Loathed would be a better word. But, so many people told me that there was something wrong with me, lol. And, to be honest, I wasn't much of a reader back then. So, I reread The Hobbit and quite enjoyed it. I still don't love Tolkien's writing, but I love his world building and his characters and that's awesome for me.

    I also gave Fahrenheit 451 another chance. I still hated it. I understood it better and gained something from it the second time around. But, I still hated it.

    So, honestly, I think it just depends on the types of books we like if we'll like a book the first or second time around, I don't know.

    PS--I'm so very sad you didn't like Graceling or Fire. I loved them both. They're on my favorites list. :( Oh well. Too each his own. ;)

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    1. That's another good point. I can't really tell if Graceling/Fire are poorly written (I'm guessing not) or it it's just that I dislike high fantasy.... And how I felt it got kind of agenda-y at the end of Graceling.
      But I know most people really like those books, so I'm definitely the minority.

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  10. I'm really glad you gave John Green another go. LFA is definitely not his best book but his others are fantastic.

    For me, I think something has to really piss me off about a book to fully give up on an author. Like every time I talk about the book, I get angry all over again. I'm not really one for second chances unless it was a book I just wasn't feeling at the time because I was in the wrong mood for it. I did that with Patricia Briggs. Started reading the first in her series, and knew I'd like it at a different time when I was in the mood for it. Later I read it and loved it.

    Life is too short for reading bad books.

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    1. That's so true! I've put down a couple of books just recently that I think I'll probably enjoy more later on. (They're both about cancer, and I think I need like 6 months after TFiOS to pick up another cancer book)

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  11. I usually only give books/authors a second chance if I start feeling REALLY guilty because everyone but me likes them.

    While I do really like Graceling, I think Fire is definitely NOT as good, so I can see why it wouldn't win you over :)

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    1. I feel guilty, too! If so many people like it, I figure there must be something there that I'm missing out on. It's funny, but I don't feel that way about less-known series or authors. If I don't like one, I basically never give a second chance.

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