I've long known not to judge a book by its cover (even though I do, God help me, as do many), but am only recently learning to not judge a book by its first impression. Consider Nancy Pearl's Rule of Fifty: read 50 pages before giving up (unless you're over 50, in which case subtract your age from 100). When I first attempted The Buried Giant, I gave up on page two(!). The prose seemed clunky and the fantasy elements half-baked and superficial. But a few weeks ago I saw Hanya Yanagihara read from her novel A Little Life, and during the Q&A she stated emphatically that The Buried Giant was her favorite book of the year. As an admirer of Yanagihara, I decided to give it a second try. How many pages did it take? 20? 30? Certainly not 50. I understood quickly that The Buried Giant was a special and incredible book about memory, devotion, love and warfare. For pages and pages I read as if in a trance. Readers out there: take it from me. Or, rather, take it from Nancy. Not all great books will hook you on page one. Or, in my case, page two.