15 Beloved Books You May Have Hated the First Time You Tried Them

A book can hook us from the first page, and it can also lose us at any page. We’ve all abandoned books—it’s part of being a reader. But some books deserve a second chance…especially those classics you tried to tackle as a teenager.

We asked on Facebook and Twitter: What’s a book you love now but didn’t enjoy the first time you read it (or tried to read it)? Check out some of the top answers below!

Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen

“I got to the part with the first dance when Darcy snubbed Elizabeth, and I didn’t like him at all—so I quit reading it. I didn’t try it again for years.”

Guards! Guards!
by Terry Pratchett

“I was a fool who didn’t know a good thing slapping her in the face. I learned, though. Oh, I learned.”

I Capture the Castle
by Dodie Smith

“It seems insane to say it now, but I only got a couple of chapters in before abandoning this book. After I had my baby, I picked it up where I had left off and fell in love with it. So much so that after I finished it the first time I went straight back to the first page and read it again. I’ve read it countless times since.”

The Time Traveler’s Wife
by Audrey Niffenegger

“I found this really confusing, and I didn’t get why it was jumping all over the place. I abandoned it pretty early on. But this is one of the very rare occasions when I gave a book another go after seeing the film. Now the book is one of my all-time favorites!”

One Hundred Years of Solitude
by Garbiel García Márquez

“Only after closely observing the eccentricities of generations of my own family did I realize I could relate to this book.”

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
by Susanna Clarke

“I started this again in desperation when I ran out of books on holiday and discovered it’s a marvelous read.”

Julie of the Wolves
by Jean Craighead George

“My dad tried to get me to read it when I was young, and I totally dismissed it. But the copy stayed with me, and I just finished it—it’s a beautiful, intense book.”

Anna Karenina
by Leo Tolstoy

“I generally enjoy long books and older classics, but I think it was the Russian nicknaming that ruined it the first time for me. Who did what? Levin? Kostya? This time I’m listening to Maggie Gyllenhaal read it and I’m really enjoying it because she offers some differentiation in voice inflection so that I can tell who’s talking. Also, I made a name chart.”

In the Woods
by Tana French

“The second time I tried this I got the audiobook version. It was so much easier to get the book done this way. I listened when I walked the dog.”

The Fellowship of the Ring
by J.R.R. Tolkien

“I read it for the first time when I was 12 years old. I read it again when I was 28, and I saw a lot more bits and pieces and history—I enjoyed the story so much more with my ‘grown-up’ eye.”

Go Down, Moses
by William Faulkner

“It took me a few tries, but once I got to the third story in the book, I couldn’t put it down. Now it’s one of my all-time favorite books.”

by Diana Gabaldon

“I tried starting this book several times, but the first few chapters bored me to tears. I forced myself to stick with it, and once Claire went back in time, I was hooked. I’m so glad I stuck with it because Jamie Fraser is one of my favorite book characters now.”

Les Misérables
by Victor Hugo

“There were so many names and French words. I wasn’t used to his prose. The second time I read it I opened the book with an open mind and truly fell in love.”

by Joseph Heller

“It didn’t do it for me at first. I had the wrong mindset. But I tried again a couple of years later, and now I love it dearly.”

The Road
by Cormac McCarthy

“The first five (!) times I started reading it I had to put it down. But the sixth time I loved it. Sometimes it pays off to be persistent. LOL! I usually don’t try so many times, but this one was on my ‘Books to Read Before I Die’ list.”

Do you have your own tale of second-chance book love? Share it with us in the comments?

Check out more recent blogs:

The Season’s Hottest Debut Novels

How to Find the Love of Your Life in a Bookstore: The Ray Bradbury Method

The Best Young Adult Books of August

(Top image credit: The 1995 Pride and Prejudice mini-series)

posted by Hayley
on August, 23