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(Re)Reading / Book Recs / Fanfic
tumbled hair, girls rule, austen
innie_darling
Hi, everybody!

I'm feeling chatty, and I wanted to talk about books. I had a discussion years ago with an acquaintance who described herself as an avid reader, and yet looked completely baffled when I said I frequently reread favorite books. I can't quite get my head around the concept of reading a book you love only once and being done with it. Even when I was little, I always had a couple of old favorites in the stack I took home from the library every Saturday morning. Do you guys reread? If so, do you reread the whole book, or just the "good parts"?

Possibly this is on my mind because I've been having a little orgy of rereading going on. I take the subway to and from work, which translates into anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes of reading time per day, guaranteed, and I've been too hot when I get home to turn on my laptop, so I've been stretching out under a ceiling fan and opening well-loved books.

Recently reread: The Hunger Games and Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. Wonder Boys and The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon. The Sherlock Holmes canon. Good Night, Mr. Holmes + Good Morning, Irene + Irene at Large + Irene's Last Waltz by Carole Nelson Douglas. The Confession of Brother Haluin by Ellis Peters. Next up for rereading will most likely be something from Gillian Roberts's Amanda Pepper series, another book from the Brother Cadfael series, the two-book Mordant's Need series by Stephen R. Donaldson, or Sarah Monette's Doctrine of Labyrinths series. And maybe Adam Rex's The True Meaning of Smekday, if I don't want to get sucked into a whole series.

I surprised myself by wanting to write fanfic for the Hunger Games series (specifically, a meeting between Cinna and Gale - NEEDS MORE CINNA AND GALE!), because I've never been all that interested in fanfic based on textual canons. I tried explaining this once before, to my lovely beta, and I don't think I said it very well, but basically my feeling is that fanfic based on a show or a movie is clearly work in a different medium, possibly able to do certain things that the original medium could not. Textual canon precludes that possibility of transformation. Which is not to say that fanfic based on textual canon is worthless or stupid or presumptive or anything like that - I certainly don't want to call the wrath of the entire HP fandom down on me - but just that it's different in a way that feels alien to me. What do you think?

Anyway, enjoy the book recs above, and let me know if you have any for me? I'll be on a plane in a few weeks, and will need something to see me through two very long trips. Thanks!

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I don't know why I'm surprised that you've read the Hunger Games, but OMG. That's the first book in a while that I've read all in one sitting, compulsively.

I KNOW! That book is the definition of gripping. I didn't realize it was the first in a trilogy, so I was expected resolution on the love triangle, and I SCREAMED when I got to the end.

OMG Mordant's Neeeeeeeed! \o/ I did a paper on some aspect of that series for college, be damned if I can remember it now.

ETA: Re-reading I used to do constantly on a rota. Not just bits and pieces, but the whole series whenever a new book came out, or everything by that author I owned in chronological order. I still re-read Dark is Rising every mid-winter now. Just last night I re-read Good Omens because I'd been meaning to since Crowley turned up in SPN. Not as much time for re-reading now. Or reading in general. I have about a hundred books in the 'To Read' category. :-/

Recommendations... I quite often recommend 'Curse of Chalion' by Lois McMaster Bujold, and her Miles Vorkosigan series.

Edited at 2010-07-17 11:18 pm (UTC)

Mordant's Need is just awesome - I love that series so much, and for a long time, it was the only fantasy series I could say I loved whole-heartedly. I'm jealous that you got to write a paper about it!

Ooh, rereading a whole series each time a new addition comes out is commitment! And thank you for the recs!

I really enjoyed The Little Sleep by Paul Tremblay, if you like detective novels.

And I'm definitely liking The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood a lot, though since I'm not done, I can't give it a full rec yet (the ending could still making it all fall apart); I do like how it plays with four different levels of storytelling, and also it's one of the few stories about writing a story where the in-story novel is as interesting as the frame story. Usually when people write stories like this (i.e., about a famous novel that someone in the story wrote), the in-story novel is never as great as its press makes it out to be, and here so far, I think it is. At least, I'm as interested in the two stories going on in there as I am in the two other stories going on.

Oh, I liked the Tremblay book, which I read when you posted about it. And it reminds me, that I had a rec in return for you - Patrick Neate's City of Tiny Lights.

And I adore stories about stories, so I'm looking forward to reading the Atwood. Thanks for the rec!

I posted about my summer reading post here http://saberivojo.livejournal.com/40301.html. There are some great recs there. I personally loved To Kill a Mockingbird. It is an oldie but a goodie.

In terms of re-reading? I do it all the time. Sometimes it is a comfort thing to me, curling up with an old friend. Many times I just re-read bits and pieces that are remind me of well-loved characters.

Just read The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Good stuff.

I *adore* To Kill a Mockingbird!

And thank you for the list and the specific rec!

Rereading is totally a comfort thing for me, too.

Oh, yes. I re-read constantly. In fact, being *able* to re-read is a wonderful bolster when any book i look at in the 'real world' either makes me cringe or bores me to tears.

I have re-read these books - and highly recommend them - at least twenty times, if not more:

Captains Courageous, Watership Down, the Laura Ingalls series, The Changeling, The Secret Garden, A Little Princess, Gone With the Wind, Out of Africa, every Dick Francis mystery, everything i own of Tanith Lee and CJ Cherryh, Romeo and Juliet, The Jungle Books, most of the Discworld books, emphasis on the Tiffany Aching and Watchmen books, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, Dandelion Wine, Brave New World, Brideshead Revisited and the poems of Maxin Kumin and Robinson Jeffers.

I re-read as a kid, too - new was awesome, but old favorites were just...comfortable and happy-making.

Oh and - i pretty much read the whole story when i re-read, occasionally skipping bits but not often.

Edited at 2010-07-17 07:03 pm (UTC)

oooooooh totally seconding watership down. in fact, i'm gonna reread that right now!

It's interesting to me that I don't really re-read things, anymore, unless they are beloved books from my childhood. And I do still read some fiction, but 90% of the time, I'm reading non-fiction -- history, biography, travel essays. My brain seems to be rebelling against working too hard. *g* Anyway, that means I don't have many current recs for you, unless by some chance you haven't read The Road by Cormac McCarthy, in which case, I recommend it highly. I did just recently read The Given Day by Dennis Lehane, and I enjoyed that quite a bit.

I just downloaded Hunger Games for my Nook, so I will eventually read that, and your post made me more excited about that.

That's funny, because for me, non-fiction is much more WORK than fiction - or, rather, the work of reading fiction is something that comes naturally enough to me that it doesn't register as work to me, but rather as pleasure.

Thank you for the recs, and enjoy The Hunger Games - but be prepared to lose a couple of hours, because you will not want to put it down.

Ha! I'm planning a book post, as it happens... but it's been too hot to construct sentences lately.

Yes, I most definitely reread things. Was actually planning a Sherlock Holmes re/read. I remember loving the 2nd Brother Cadfael book, but I haven't read any other.

And no, I'm not interested in textual canon fanfics either. OTOH, I rarely read any kind of fanfic these days; when I do it's usually gen or het in dead tv fandoms.

Hound of the Baskervilles was way better than I remembered, but The Valley of Fear remains my favorite of the SH novels (and "A Scandal in Bohemia" is my fave short story, if only because Irene Adler RULES, and Holmes is so fascinating).

One Corpse Too Many was the first Brother Cadfael I read too! I recommend the whole series, but they very much follow a formula, so maybe not all in a row?

I'm watching a greater variety of stuff now, and I'm not always able to find fic, but when I do, it's so much fun.

I re-read a lot of things, favorites from childhood, like the Dark is Rising, or Dune. The first time I read Ender's Game I pretty much read it again immediately upon finishing (though I was also English deprived and living in Panama at the time, which may have had something to do with it). Sometimes I just get in the mood for a certain kind of story, and then re-reading is perfect because I know where to get it. New books are always a risk with that, not that I don't love them to pieces as well, but there is nothing quite like the disappointment from expecting a certain kind of story and getting something completely different in a not good way (or worse, the kind of story you are expecting/desiring but not the kind of writing, then its all--this could have been so good if only I could stand the prose).

My mom is with your friend though, she thinks I'm weird for owning books so I can reread them later.

I haven't read Ender's Game (can't seem to find it in my library), but I had that must reread immediately impulse with Wonder Boys, which remains on my all-time favorites list.

I have been burned, even by rereading, when I've let years lapse, and when I come back to it, I'm disappointed.

I have a friend who doesn't reread, but who will rewatch movies compulsively. I do not understand.

man it has come to the point that i re-read more favorite books than i do read new books that i have never seen before in my life.
i have literally read three copies of prisoner of azkabam to shreads. same goes with fanfic with less raggedy pages. i constantly stop in the middle of a new fic, think hey this reminds me of the fic where... and promptly open a new tab and find the old fic, read it then finish the new fic, if that makes any sense

I usually have a couple of old favorites going while I've got a couple of new-to-me books going too. Azkaban remains my favorite Harry Potter book - the Peter Pettigrew reveal just blew my mind.

Your fic reading habits sound delightful! If I had a better memory for fic titles, I might do that too!

I re-read all the time! Both fanfic and pro-fic, though fanfic stories tend to get re-read much more often. There are maybe half a dozen books that I tend to re-read at least every few years. I'll also pick them up and read bits and pieces more often than that. There is one book that I only read about the first half or third of because, well, that's the part that I love and it takes a sharp turn afterward--Moon Palace by Paul Auster.

I have a list as long as my arm of books that I can reread at any time for an instant pick-me-up - it all started in my childhood because my local library had BEAUTIFUL editions of Pride and Prejudice and Little Women that were just a pleasure to behold, let alone read.

Our four book cases attest that both GM and I like to reread. My copy of Dune is a bit of a mess from much love :)

I reread from cover to cover.

As for recommendations, I'll preface this one by saying I usually don't read detective novels. But this series below is bloody fantastic.
John Connolly's Charlie Parker series Detective stories written with an underlying thread of supernatural menace. Cannot rave about these enough. Charlie's friends are just as vivid as the main character and add to the richness of his text. These include two gay hitmen and the walking disasters known as the Fulci brothers.




Thank you for the recs, fellow rereader!

(Deleted comment)
Thank you for the recs!

I hear you about mysteries, though I do like to reread them to see all the clues I missed the first time around, and usually the characters speak enough to me that I'm happy to reread.

I re-read but my dad doesn't. He's mildly dyslexic, so he reads slowly but steadily and retains a great deal of the book on one read.

Textual canon is not always comfortable as something transformative to me - some books are completely satisfying (or just complete) in a way that multi-creator media does not present. Maybe more than one creator leaves more gaps? Even just two people on a comic book leaves spaces. But some texts, like Harry Potter, have a big, open canon that provides lots of space; others, like His Dark Materials, have a lot of hanging questions and can be crossed into other fandoms.

Huh, interesting! I retain a lot of what I read, but I reread for comfort in general.

I think maybe that I'm less comfortable with textual canons because not only would fanfic be the same kind of work, but also because movies and shows require so many people to create, but writing stories can be very individual work, and I haven't gotten an invitation to that individual author's playground.

i re-read all the time! i've pretty much memorized my favorite books, which, lessee --

Amnesia Moon, by Johnathan Lethem. in fact, all of his stuff is genius, genre-blending Phillip K Dick style, but this one is my favorite.
The Oracle Glass, by... Judith Reily, i think. yay for historical fiction.
Stranger in a Strange Land -- nuff said.
The Poisonwood Bible -- just amazing.

those are the ones i re-read the most, i think. like old friends, or a nice cozy blanket the way that sliding into their world can feel.

Thank you for the recs! Yes, rereading is so wonderful, I cannot imagine denying myself that pleasure.

I LOVE re-reading old favourites, and am always taken aback when people tell me they don't. My sister doesn't re-read and can't understand why I'd want to - to her, once you know what's going to happen, why would you want to read it again. To me, that's WHY I want to read it again - because it's comfortable and familiar and I loved the world of the book.

But then I feel that way about favourite movies and tv shows too.

I'm like that with everything - books, shows, movies, songs, but especially books. It's very comforting to know what you're going to get, maybe particularly when there's not much else in your control.

Thanks!

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