So how does the passage of time change our feelings about a book? Or specifically- if a book has a huge impact on us, or a great twist, or whatever- does that recede over time? This kind of dovetails with my earlier discussion of When Do You Review Books? Because as I mentioned I often write my review right away rather than waiting- and if I do wait the review can be very different. And that's what I mean- that big emotional impact or reaction may over time not be the big deal it was.
I'm including How Will I Know You? in this discussion because I've read it recently and the ending is a gut punch. I read it a few weeks ago so I've had time to digest it. The ending is emotional but as I was thinking about all this stuff I wondered how would I feel in six months- or a year?
Do you find upon later reflection, or perhaps a re- read, that your feelings have changed? It could be little things or it could be the whole book. The entire experience. This also kind of got me thinking about re- reads. Not to get off on a tangent but many of us have discussed whether books "hold up" on a re- read. Take Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty for example. I loved that book, mainly because of the quirkiness of the protagonist and the absolutely catty way all the parents conducted themselves. It was one of my favorite books of 2015. If I read it again would it still be that good?
So let me know what you think. Are there certain books that have a huge impact but later you're like meh?
I find that my feelings about some books definitely change over time, which is why, when I review books, I write down my immediate reactions and thoughts after I've read them, and put the review on ice for a several days before I finish it. That way, I find I get a more balanced review than if I were to write only my first impressions.ReplyDelete
I have been blown away by a book and after a few days of thinking about it have discovered that while it did have an impact, it maybe wasn't all that great. I have also returned to books I loved when I was younger and when I read them again with older, more experienced (and cynical) eyes, they don't hold up to my previous opinion of them.
I do think reviews are often more balanced when we take time to let them sit. I have a tendency to review right after but sometimes I do let em sit and tweak em. Time definitely helps to make the review more balanced.Delete
If a book actually emotionally impacts me and affects me, then I still remember it and keep thinking about it for a long time. But, I mean, emotions for every book eventually start to get more subdued. Even our memories for actual people and life events do that, so it makes sense. But just if I thought a book was great when I read it? No, that doesn't mean it'll be memorable. That's why I like series. Even the best standalones I've read often end up losing that punch they had really quickly because they don't usually emotionally affect me much and I just forget them and don't really care anymore after a few months.ReplyDelete
I think this year the final book in one of my favorite series is coming out. It's been two years since I read the books, I still think about them a lot, so these are books that definitely made an impact. But I'm going to reread them before reading the final, and I'm so afraid they won't live up to my memory lol.
Same here. A book has to really affect me to have that longevity (and those are the ones I give 5 stars to). Good point about series. I think (unless they take a nosedive and then suck) that a series, continuing the story, definitely builds on what has gone before and that can make the impact so much more affecting.Delete
And I hear you, I'm always afraid a re- read will be disappointing. :)
I think it depends on the book... for example, I've read Pride and Prejudice at least 20 times. And even just thinking about it right now, I could gush. But then there's books I've pretty much forgotten, but if I look up my review from when I read the book, I thought it was THE BEST. If I've forgotten it, I guess it didn't have that enduring quality. I think some could have to do with the type of story. Things that have twists endings and major shocks are probably more a temporary greatness and probably wouldn't hold up under rereads. But books that are great because of a deep emotion they create, they probably last. IDK, that's my guess lol. Great topic Greg!ReplyDelete
I agree, and i do that . I'll rave about a book I really liked, but later I may be less generous. :) And good point about the twisty ones- yeah sometimes a good twist definitely gets my attention, and I love how it pulled off, but if it's just the twist and th whole story doesn't stay with, then yeah it's just temporary.Delete
My feelings about a book can definitely change with a reread. I read and enjoyed a lot of books at the time but in the last five years my reading tastes have changed and I think I might find some of them too slow now or not a subject that would interest me to read about again.ReplyDelete
My tastes have changed too, or expanded. And I don't re-read much, for some reason- I will re- read an absolute favorite but by and large I don't.Delete
I think time can definitely effect your thoughts. I just went back and adjusted a rating for a book I read in early January because as time went on, it became clearer and clearer that I didn't really like it much. Plus, it caused a huge slump. Some books leave a long last impact too. I loved The Shining more the second time I read it - of course I was older and could appreciate it more. Great discussion!ReplyDelete
I think so. I've thoguht about adjusting some of my reviews too- some books I still absolutely feel the same way, and others have definitely declined in terms of how much I liked them, or how I feel about them.Delete
I think it depends on the book. A reread can mean seeing new things you missed the first time. It can also mean a totally different feel because you aren't in the same place as you were before. I do tend to write my reviews right after a book so I don't accidentally incorporate another book in it (I've done that once b/c the plots were similar) and it gives it the best chance to stand out to me. I think we do tend to look at first impressions since that is what we are showing to others who have yet to pick up the book.ReplyDelete
That's a good point! A particularly dense story (or lots if subplots) can definitely reward a re- read. I re- read GoT a few times and discoverednew things when I did.Delete
And I do the same thing- I review right away because I prefer to and because it's fresh. If I wait a week or two I may have a different take but I also may not have the frshness, the recall of all the details. And I think you're right, to an extent I do want my fresh impressions
I have had this happen, like somehow it loses its impact with time. And the reverse, a book I thought was good but not great will seem to get better with time so I ended up later wondering why I didnt rate it higher.ReplyDelete
I've done both!Delete
So, yes, I think it definitely is a thing sometimes. Which is usually how I can tell my true feelings about a book. That is part of why I almost NEVER rate a book until at least a couple days have past (the other part is because I am super lazy, but let's pretend). I find that I know that a book is a favorite if I am STILL thinking about it weeks later. As for the rereads, I think that is how I know I love The Hunger Games so much- every time I read them, I love them just as much. Some favorites I am afraid to reread for that reason though- what if they don't hold up?ReplyDelete
I think for me, the mark of a really strong book is one that when I think about it down the road, it still is somehow emotionally provocative. Of course, sometimes we've already reviewed and rated, but I think that's okay- obviously our thoughts will change over time for a ton of reasons.
That's a great point. The books that stay with us, those are the truly great ones. The ones we think about - I like how you said it. And even if time does change our view our thoughts at the TIME of the review are still valid, after all that's how we felt right after being in that world right?Delete
Exactly about re- reading. I'm that way with Game of Thrones- whenever I re- read it I love it. and books like Big Little Lies I HOPE I would love on a re- read, but who knows??
This is definitely the case for some books, if I wait a few days then my review changes but for some books it's the opposite the more I wait the more I love them and I can't find the words to review. It depends on the book but now when I revisit old reviews I question them LOL.ReplyDelete
This is an interesting post -- there's a book right now, that I desperately wanted to review ASAP but I found I couldn't quite articulate what I wanted to say. A coupe of days later, it was much easier to write the review after thinking about it and digesting what the book was trying to say. But, with thrillers and the like, I often write asap to hold on to that thrill of the ending, which if I wait, I know it'll be diluted by the time I write.ReplyDelete
For me, a truly great read is one that leaves a strong emotional impact -- one that I still feel even years later when I think about it, or re-read it. Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier is my favourite book, and honestly even thinking about it makes me emotional, hahaha.ReplyDelete
When it comes to reads that are just good rather than great though, sometimes big plot twists or crazy reveals are what make the story fun...those definitely loose their "oomph" with time. And they're not nearly as enjoyable to re-read!
For me, I think it's less the passage of time and more where I am at that particular point in my life. A book may hit me at a time in my life where I need what it's trying to say, but then later, at a different point in my life, it doesn't hold the same power. Does that make sense?ReplyDelete
While sometimes my opinions on books can change, I think it's mostly because what I'm looking for in a book or what I think makes a good book changes and less the distance I am from a book. For example, last month I tried rereading a book that's the start of what I usually consider my favorite fantasy series. (I read it in 2015 and not since.) And I couldn't get even halfway into the book before I lost interest because what I'm looking for in books NOW is different than what I was looking for in books THEN.ReplyDelete
I'm one of those readers that doesn't get all analytical about books. If I liked something, I liked it - even if there were reasons for me not to. But I have noticed that some of that emotional response often dulls a little with time. (Except, sometimes, hate. Sometimes distance doesn't make the heart grow fonder.)
What a great discussion! I do find that the impact a book has on me can change over time--not always, but often enough. I was curious about this and decided to keep track of it last year by rating the books I read twice--once right after I finish reading it and then again after a little time had passed.ReplyDelete
There have been books that I liked immediately upon completion, but then, on reflection, all the flaws come to the surface and I don't like it as much. I think that's why I don't like to post my reviews right away. While I jot down my initial thoughts as soon as I can after finishing a book so I don't forget, I also like having time to mull over the book and really think about what I liked and didn't like--how the book impacted me. My favorite books tend to still have a strong impact on me even after some time has passed.
I think Michelle makes a good point as that can be true for me too. When I read a book can make all the difference.
I like to review right away too or I lose steam on conveying my emotions and everything feels blah. Also, I noticed if I don't review right away I start getting swayed by other people's reviews. Like I'll love a book, but then read someone's review pointing out something annoying and I'll be all "yeah, that part was super annoying" and it'll creep into the feeling of my review.ReplyDelete
I also KNOW that my feelings change over time because I have total ratings regrets when I look back on books. Like HOW DID I GIVE 2 STARS TO A BOOK I HATED?? Or I CAN'T BELIEVE I ONLY GAVE 4 STARS TO A BOOK I REGULARLY REC 3 YEARS LATER??!!?!?!
I think it's true of a lot of books. At the time the feelings and impact of a book or shocking and they really stay with you for a while. But the impact does wear off of some. I know sometimes if I leave a book a while my feelings can completely change. What seemed like a really smart twist can later seem absurd and leave me questioning why I liked it.ReplyDelete
I think it all depends on how well written the book is and also how much time has passed. Sometimes if it's a couple of years your opinions change partly because you don't remember the story so well and sometimes because you've realised there are flaws in the book you didn't notice at the time.
Time definitely plays a factor for me. Sometimes I will grow to love a book I was so-so about after having time to reflect. Other times I will think back on a book I really enjoyed and can't really remember why.ReplyDelete
I usually review much later. If the book is good it sticks with me. My reviews always depend on how much free time I have at the moment I finish the book.ReplyDelete
I've definitely noticed this. There are some books that I LOVE but then sort of forget about a bit. Then there are books that I LOVE that stick with me---not necessarily all of the details, but that feeling sticks around and I still feel enamored with the book even after the "just read" glow starts to fade. Strangely, I've also had the opposite experience where a book grows on me the more I think about it. I've actually struggled with that a lot when it comes to my reviews. Reviews that I write right away might be more glowing than ones I hold off on---and it seems "unfair" somehow. But honestly, I don't know how to solve the problem (I'm not organized enough to stick to a reviewing "schedule.")ReplyDelete
Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction
I think time can affect a books impact in different ways. If it was just the case of reading the right book at the right time, well rereading it could easily dull the effect if a person is no longer in the same place he or she was when they first read it. When we're talking about all-time favorite books, I don't think time can do anything to dull the impact.ReplyDelete