When one reads a book they dislike, there are two optional reactions:
(Well, there are more than two, but we’re talking about two specifically right now because I said so.) MOVING FORWARD. You can either (A) decide never ever ever eeeever to read from that author again because it didn’t work out between you, or (B) you can try an alternate book of theirs later because maybe it was just a fluke you didn’t like the first one.
When faced with these two options: WHAT WOULD YOU TYPICALLY CHOOSE??? That is my question of the day, and yes, it’s a difficult one because life is full of difficult cupcakes to consume.
DO YOU GIVE AUTHOR’S BOOKS SECOND CHANCES?
Does an “I hate this book” mean all the author’s works are now in the “NOPE” list? Are you a stubborn apple and refuse to give up on an author if they’ve written multiple and different-sounding books?? Do you take risks? Or is life too short for retrying nonsense?
“CAIT, IT’S TOO HARD,” you shout most pleasantly. “HOW DO I KNOW IF RE-TRYING AUTHORS IS WORTH IT???”
Well, lucky for you, I am in your life to write pros and cons lists.
P R O S
- It could’ve been a bad apple. Not everyone has a good hair day or a good writing day. And honestly you’d be surprised at how much hair and writing are alike. (Both are unruly and tend to shed.) Not all author’s books are created equal!
- Writers can get better as they go along! Debuts might not be as strong as a later written book. GIVE IT A GO. Plus writers often try different styles as they continue writing because #variety.
- At least if you’ve read two books by an author and decidedly disliked them both…no one can say you didn’t give them a fair chance! You did. You are done now. Goodbye. Someone leave you with your popcorn and tears of regret.
C O N S
- You might go into the book expecting to dislike it. Which can actually lead to you disliking it BEFORE GIVING IT A PROPER CHANCE. Because brains are rude sometimes.
- There is definitely a higher chance for it dying in your face. Which equals wasted time, wasted money, wasted chocolate that you must eat to get through it. (Actually lies — chocolate eaten is never wasted.) Because sometimes an author + reader = just don’t work out! Which makes sense because everyone is different.
- There are SO MANY other new books to try! Why would you try a book that you’re preeeeetty sure isn’t going to click for you because, ya know, YOU HAVE EVIDENCE TO THIS FACT??? Life is so short and the books call to you.
I, personally, am a big believer in trying something twice.
I try lots of things twice. Like can I stack my TBR halfway to the ceiling without it falling and killing several small civilisations??? No? OKAY BUT I’M GOING TO TRY IT AGAIN JUST TO SEE. (Same with eating pumpkin soup + wearing white. I mean, the first 87 times I splashed myself orange mean nothing.) Apparently this is the definition of insanity but hush. Don’t let that bother you.
My vague motto is: always try an author twice. Although it’s not a hard and fast rule, because if a book really really hugely catastrophically makes me rage, I will put it on the “politely blacklisted” pile. Yes the pile is polite. I’m not a monster. *
* Except through Tuesdays to Fridays. I have a roster for evil, I might remind you. The days and hours rotate though, because I like to keep everyone surprised.
So how has retrying authors worked out for me in the past?
OH OH. I’m glad you asked so eagerly because this is something I definitely wanted to analyse. Well it’s something I wanted to make pretty graphics about, but that’s the same sort of thing, yes?
I was so underwhelmed by Mind Games I thoght Kiersten White books might be a NO DO NOT GO category for me. But luckily (A) I never listen to myself, and (B) I tried And I Darken which was a complete genre switch and a complete amazing feast. I AM STILL THINKING ABOUT THIS BOOK I LOVE IT SO.
Noggin promised me beheadings but was JUST AN AWKWARD ROMANCE but then I tried Highly Illogical Behaviour and WOW. I highly adored it. (Get it?? GET IT?? Okay okay don’t roll your eyes at me like that, I was just checking you didn’t miss my stunning wit.)
Of Metal and Wishes is a Phantom of the Opera steampunk retelling…sounds so cool right? WELL, IT DIDN’T MAKE ME SING LIKE THE ANGEL OF MUSIC. I sung like a rusty spoon of unhappiness. But then I tried The Impostor Queen and love love love loooooooooooove.
I spent 97% of my time reading Panic yelling “USE YOUR GOD GIVEN BRAINS YOU DELINQUENT AVOCADOS” and generally stressing. But come along Vanishing Girls and I think my heart gave out…in a really good way. Like there is Bad Book Pain where you want to turn the book into a hat. And then there’s Good Book Pain where you are DYING but not sad about it.
But let’s talk about how Lauren Oliver girls need to brush and maybe tie back their hair?
Taken is about a city where all the boys disappear by the end I just felt like “Well good riddance” SO THAT WAS AWKWARD. But Vengeance Road??!?!??? Like all the stars and numerous snort/laughs from me while reading this masterpiece.
I mean…obviously IT DOESN’T ALWAYS WORK.
I thought The Alex Crow was the most confusing thing in the universe and lowkey hated it. But then Winger???? JUST AS BAD. Like when you say “ooh I’m in love with fictional boys!” just go read these fictional boys and you’ll be cured. They’re gross. The chances of me trying another Andrew Smith book are very low.
(I still actually intend to re-try Legend and finish the series BECAUSE DANGIT, I FEEL LIKE I SHOULD LIKE MARIE LU BOOKS SO I WILL KEEP TRYING.)
Since Richelle Mead is sooooooo famous I figured my unhappy frolics with Soundless must be a fluke. So I tried The Glittering Court. I would rather have sprinkled glitter in my eyes. But I tell myself I’ll at least try Vampire Academy before retiring…
In this case, it’s the writing that really does it in for me: I connect to it as much as I connect to an empty pizza box. Which is to say “not at all but just vaguely disappointed in its existence”. Matched was meh, and Atlantia didn’t improve things at all. Chances of trying again are dwindling into the single digit possibilities.
When it comes to books, I am an avidly curious risk-taker!
It comes from this need to read all the books of ever. (Shh, no I still haven’t given up on that goal and my people are working on immortality right now.) And I HATE the idea of missing out on a potentially good book. But. It honestly depends for me. If the author’s second book option is: (A) a different genre to the first, and (B) a premise that sounds so good I WANT TO EAT IT IN TWO BITES — then I am 100% more prone to try it.
And other times I do just leave well enough alone because #sensible.
how likely are you to try an author again if you didn’t like their first book??? is life to short for that or are you a stubborn apple? is there an author you’ve tried and felt “meh” about but then re-tried and loooooved??! SPEAK WITH ME, FIENDS.
** EDIT: Just wanted to add (and can’t believe I forgot!) that I’m talking about the authors’ WORKS and not the author themselves! I never want to bash an author. Books are subjective and me liking/disliking a book is not my opinion on the author as a person. Authors are glorious creatures and are all to be commended for their work.