The Joys and Pitfalls of Re-Reading

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Have you ever read a book, let time go by, then have these fond memories of said book arise and then get the sudden urge to read it again? It happens a lot to me, which is why plenty of my reading is actually re-reading. I always try to cut down on this simply because it means that I have less time to read NEW STUFF.

I have very fond memories of many books, and I’ve re-read so many novels I lose count. One of the authors that I find is easy for me to return to is Peter Hamilton. He tends to write BIG SPACE OPERA, but isn’t limited to this. Most of the time I find that reading his stuff a second (or third, fourth, fifth..) time around adds more to the story, especially over his series’ (the Commonwealth books are a very good example of this). Yes, I know what’s coming up, but that foresight allows me to look at the smaller details and add more pieces to the puzzle along the way. It’s the little things that matter.

There are also books that are just so easy to re-read, that I can get lost in for a few hours and not even realise the time flying by. I’ll probably say Eric Brown is my favourite in this case. He writes characters that are complex and interesting, and the time spent with them is what makes the experience worthwhile. It’s not just about the story, though he regularly delivers plenty on that front too.

the-rise-of-endymionHowever, re-reading also has its pitfalls. The Rise of Endymion by Dan Simmons is such a book. I have really fond memories of the whole Hyperion Cantos, though my recent re-read of the last in the series has left me wondering why I thought I enjoyed it so much in the first place. I read the whole series around 7 or 8 years ago, and since then I’ve re-read them all, though over a period of years and not all together. Endymion, the third book, is one I read early last year and enjoyed just as much as I remembered, so moving on to The Rise of Endymion was a no-brainer. I really wish I hadn’t. For a novel that doesn’t actually have much happening in it, this is one long book. Not only that, but the info-dumping that was sparse in previous volumes comes to the fore with a resounding BOOM! Was it interesting to hear about some of the things only hinted at during the previous novel? Well, yes. BUT, damn. Talk about overload. It seemed like Simmons wanted to get all his ideas out in this one, explaining pretty much every detail. It’s left me mightily disappointed, and unlikely to read (and re-read) any of his novels again.

It’s a real shame when things like this happen, but I’m thankful that it’s only the odd book here and there that falls into this category. Will it stop me from re-reading other books? Not a chance.

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