When was the last time you read something your didn’t like but thought that if you should read it again, you might warm up to it, just one bit?
When’s the last time you gave a book, a poem, a text, another chance?
The best works of literature, and by that I mean the most enduring, the most influential, the least fading, have been those which were given a second chance. Where readers return, views change, patience prevails.
We’re transacting in an attention economy, which incentivizes first glances and permanent verdicts, no looking back. There is scarcely time to look around past the first row, the first Pagerank lineup, let alone behind and again. It is the reader’s existential crisis, a sense that a blink of an eye is not enough and yet that’s all there is.
For a reader, FOMO, the fear of missing out, declines in the oblique case of fear of looking again, the angst that giving a book extra time removes other rewards down the road, other books that may never be opened.
And yet, that’s where the magic is, in revisiting, in insisting, in grappling with unyielding texts, in pushing and pulling, knocking on the door again and again.
Giving a book another chance is giving oneself another chance to be transported, to start an unsuspected journey, to challenge one’s own views about what the outcome might be. It is a way of stepping into the unknown, a sea of possibilities lying within reach, and yet beyond.
Books are fixed reference points. But engaging with them alters the reader as much as the book, giving the latter a new lease of life, a new beginning.