Monday, May 11, 2009

Living in a Rerun

No, not that kind.
I have a hard time re-reading books. Even if I like it. Re-reading just makes me feel like I am living in a rerun. I think it is because I am not totally engrossed by most books. I enjoy them as I am reading them but I don't really feel like I am part of the story. So re-reading most books is like watching a rerun on TV, not nearly as entertaining because you know what is going to happen and what each character is going to do. For example, I just re-read A Wrinkle in Time a few weeks ago because I hadn't read it since I was in Fifth Grade and although I found it interesting, I never went any further with the series. I was in the mood for something sci-fi, time travel easy read so I picked up Wrinkle for the first time in about 25 years. It was still good and I enjoyed it, but still a rerun. I knew what Meg was going to do and all about freaky little Charles Wallace. Sure, I might have forgotten some nuances but most of the book seemed like a review (which is what I wanted before I started reading the other books). Luckily it was a short and quick read because by the end even this 25 year old rerun was having trouble keeping my attention. My brain started going "I need NEW information, I am done with this."

Since Christmas, I have tried re-reading Stephen King's The Stand. I first read it in Seventh or Eighth grade. I liked it a lot and really set me up to love the Dark Tower series. Six months after I finished The Stand, the unabridged version was released. I was pissed! I always read and recommend the unabridged versions (with the exception of Les Mis). The extra details usually really pull me into the story. GF-Unit gave me the unabridged version for Christmas and since I did like the story so much, I thought I would be able to re-read. I was wrong. I got about 200 pages in before I had to switch to something else because it was boring me. I liked all the new detail and small side stories but the "original parts" were driving me crazy. I think I am going to try to keep reading it but it is going to be a little bit at a time between other books.

There have been a very small number of books that I have been able to read and highly enjoy more than once...and look forward to reading again. There are some similarities, I think...aka Big, Epic, Multi-Book Series, usually dealing with good and evil.

  1. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien - I first read The Hobbit and attempted LOTR in fifth grade. I read it about every 3-4 years since...although I haven't had much desire since the movies came out (although I read them right before their release). I just don't think I would get as much enjoyment since I will now always be reminded of Rudy being Samwise, Huck Finn being Frodo, etc... Or it might be that the movies were so pervasive throughout culture for several years that I am still feeling a little burnt out. And no, the 13 hour movie marathon on opening day of Return of the King - where I sat in a theater from 11am till 2am did not help things...although it was neat seeing the extended versions of the first two films on the big screen.

  2. The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King - I've always liked Stephen King but after reading for several years during middle school was slowly growing tired of horror books. I first read the initial book (The Gunslinger) in 1989 when I bought it with a gift certificate that I got for Christmas. I was in Eighth Grade and already starting to tire of Stephen King. This book however, drew me back with the amazing artwork in the first trade paperback edition. After just glancing at the cover, I knew I was going to buy it. Since then I would eagerly await each installment pre-ordering and starting to read it the first day it was available. Roland is the badass Jack Bauer of cowboys, just trying to save the multi-dimensional universe (or is he?). Yes, I was totally freaked out when Stephen King was hit by a car and I didn't know if he would be able to finish the series. I am still a little disappointed that the books took on a different tone after the accident, but at least there is some closure.

  3. DragonLance - Chronicles & Legends Trilogies by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. Being a geeky, slightly built kid who was relatively intelligent but liked things like knights and dragons (definitely a social outcast) and was definitely not very physical; I really identified with the character Raistlin Majere(beside who doesn't want to challenge the Gods to take their place?). Although I also identified strongly Sturm Brightblade and his honor code. These are a quick read and not as deep in details and histories as LOTR, but still more in depth with a feeling of history than most fiction. They always make me wonder what I would sacrifice for family, friends, and ambition. BTW - besides these 6 books (there are now like hundreds) most the books with the Dragonlance name are pretty much terrible.

                          4. Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (the Five book Trilogy) by Douglas Adams - These books always make me laugh out loud when I read them. They are consistently hilarious even after having read them 4 or 5 times. If I am feeling down and having trouble getting into any new books, HGTTG is always there to make me happy, smile, and remind me why I like reading.

                          There are a few books that I am tempted to re-read. So far I have not found enough desire to actually do it. I will probably go over some of those in the near future because there is some fabulous reading in there.


                          Aetraxx said...

                          I just reread the unabridged version of the Stand a few months ago for the first time since like 5th or 6th grade. (I picked up a brand new copy for like $12 at the book store by Southridge) I got even more into it than I did in the past mostly b/c of the Dark Tower series and the extra side stories. Granted I pretty much read it on lunch breaks so it was always more exciting than cubicle life...
                          I agree that the tone completely changed in Dark Tower after the accident. I freaked out about the series not finishing too! The current comics compliment the series well and delve into the younger Roland & life in Gilead, expanding on Wizard & Glass. I recommend them.

                          Michael said...

                          That was my plan it on lunch breaks. I started too early though, still too cold to go outside away from everyone and read. I kept getting interrupted and annoyed and didn't even get into the good Dark Tower tie-ins (no Walking Dude yet). I will get it finished but at the moment I couldn't take anymore Fran.
                          The Dark Tower comics are great. I've only skimmed a couple but I enjoyed them highly and look forward to getting the complete collection when I have some extra cash. I am more of a graphic novel type person now than individual that was my main reason for waiting.