Do first impressions matter?
So I was reading a book recently, and I was about a third of the way in, and it hit me – I knew what I was gonna rate that book. I had 70 percent of the book left to go, but I am sure that my rating will be the one I decided on right then and there. And that got me thinking – how far into a book do we decide on the rating? How far into it can we say “this book is bad” or “this book is a new favorite”? And what does all of that say about our reading?
For me, a book has a really short span to grab me. I usually don’t dnf books, but I know pretty early on how a book and I are going to get along. I tend to not now a lot about the premise once I go into a book. I like to have a really vague, general idea, so the first couple of chapters is where I expect a book to tell me “this is what I am like”. I think that the first couple of chapter have to set the tone, and if the tone isn’t right, then the rest of the book can’t really match that for me.
I find that for me this is absolutely true. I am at that point in my reading where I am pretty confident in what books will suit me. I rarely give into the hype anymore, and I know what has the potential to be a book for me. For example, I would never pick up a historical fiction, unless there was something really special about it. Even then, I would go in with super low expectations. But otherwise, I know what I like – hence I have big expectations about books I do pick up. If a book sounds perfect for me, but isn’t delivering, I already know how the rest is gonna pan out.
I don’t think so. I find that it’s probably quite different for a lot of people, and it can be different for different books. There was a book that I realized wasn’t a one star read, but rather a four star one for me (Kill the Next One by Federico Axat, in case you were wondering). But those are super rare. And I think there are people who wait until the very end to decide. That’s just not how I function.
It affects it greatly. If I am not liking what’s going on in the first couple of chapters – my whole enjoyment of the book is ruined. I start nitpicking at it, and I start looking for things to confirm my hypotheses. It’s a difficult thing to combat and it always affects the way I read. If I am not feeling a book, I will be much more critical while reading, especially as I get further into and into the book.
So to sum up – I decide pretty early on if I am gonna like a book or not. I can be persuaded otherwise, but it’s hard. And it greatly affects how I look at books and reading.
So I would love to hear from you! Do you feel the same way? When do you decide if a book is working out for you? Can you set a rating early on? How do expectations factor in? Let me know!
Come hang out with me:
*Used Book Depository links are affiliate links which means I get a small commission if you buy a book through my link, which helps me out a lot!