Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Better Left in Memory?

I've started rereading a Series That Shall Remain Nameless so that I can (finally) get caught up with the newest book, a title I've been meaning to read for a couple of years now.

Turns out, I liked this series a lot better when I read it the first time.

I'm not sure what it is. Maybe it's the fact that I knew what to expect, and none of the events in the plot were all that surprising to me. Maybe it's the way in which everything unbelievably works out and no one gets hurt, except for the really really bad guy who we know is really really diabolical for...no particular reason really, except that he's bad.

Or maybe it's just my expectations. You know those books that you read - as a kid, as a less mature reader, at a different time of life, or even just a few years ago - and have this memory of absolutely loving every minute of them? It's really hard for a book to live up to those memories.

Despite the fact that, in this case with this series, I'm ruing my decision to reread, I still think rereading should make up a small amount of my reading time. Essentially, I reread on the off-chance that a book that spoke to me once will continue to speak to me, and even become an all-time favorite.

There are comfort reads like The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, and Pride and Prejudice, all books that I have read so many times that I can't rate them as anything other than comfort reads and all time favorites. They've become such a part of my mental makeup that reading them is as much a memory of where I've been when I've read them before as it is a rediscovery of plot details and characters that I love to spend time with. There are others like Crime and Punishment that so challenged me in one read that I know I will want to revisit it again in the future. Then there are my humorous and pick-me-up reads, The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner, The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde and Howl's Moving Castle to name a few. They're bound to put a smile on my face, a guaranteed already-know-I-love-it story when I'm in a bad reading mood.

So despite the odd book that turns out not to be as good as I remembered it, I'll still reread because I never know when I might be surprised by a new favorite story.

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