Another Question

My last rumination regarding whether you read one book at a time, or sample multiple novels at once has produced a great discussion, and I’m amazed at those who can read more than one at a time. I’m in the middle of two concurrently and it’s making me batty. Watch – my reviews of Uncommon Vows and The Pirate Price will jump back and forth as I get confused – suddenly, the medieval knight is a pirate! An Italian pirate! Named Shropshire!

And is it me or does the word “shrop” make you think of puffy shorts? (“Stuffed for an authentic look”? What, with a tube sock and a banana?)

So the commentating going on in that previous entry leads me to my next question: When you have a book on your keeper shelf, how often do you go back and revisit the characters, or reread the whole thing? Do you wait until you forget salient plot points, or do you go visit every now and again because it was so good you get that “good book buzz” every time you pick it up?

And, what are your “good book buzz” books?

It’s not often that I go back and revisit a book’s characters, and now that I’m about to move AND pay movers to move my stuff because I’m too old and creaky to do it myself, I’m looking at tossing out at least half of my paperback novel collection. I have a bajillion and six Nora Roberts’, a bunch of Susan Elizabeth Phillips’, some various Catherine Coulters because I just couldn’t believe she really was getting that horrible, and I’m thinking: the whole lot of them are not worth keeping. How often do I go back to reread them? And of those books, which ones will I read?

Off the top of my head, I’m thinking that “Born in Fire” might make the move, because I love the main characters, though I have to ask myself whether I’ll keep the following two books in the trilogy just because they are a trilogy. But all sixteen bajillion of the rest? I think it might be time to let go. But talking about it now, and sitting down with a “donate” and a “keep” box will be two very, very different stories.

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Random Musings

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  1. 1
    Yummy says:

    I re-read my romances often mostly because I have found that I’m stuck on one author – Laura Kinsale.  Though I’ve tried and tried, no other author’s works engage me like LK’s do, and I am tired of the great disappointment whenever I think I might have found something new and good. Y’all are braver than me in that you will actually subject yourself to the horrible degredation of reading what’s published today. I just can’t do it.  LK favorites: For My Lady’s Heart and Sieze the Fire, the latter of which will likely be getting a review tonight.

  2. 2
    Candy says:

    There are books that I can’t just re-read parts of. Most Laura Kinsale books fall into that category. I can’t help it: once I start re-reading, I get dragged in and before I know it, it’s 3 a.m. and Olympia is touching Sheridan’s face in the pouring rain and I’m crying like a little bitch. One exception is Midsummer Moon. When I’m feeling blah, I’ll re-read the funny bits, especially the bits involving that damn peripatetic hedgehog. I love that hedgehog; he’s one of the best animal sidekicks ever.

    Other people I love to re-read include Lisa Kleypas, Jennifer Crusie, Patricia Gaffney and Dara Joy. Some of the scenes in Gaffney’s Wild at Heart, where Michael and Sydney touch or kiss for the very first time are incredibly intense, and I feel the loveliest pressure deep in my gut and down in my feet. Crusie’s Manhunting is so worth re-reading because Kate’s multiple bad dates just kill me, every time. Anyone But You also pretty much cheers me up instantly when I’m feeling bleh—it’s Prozac with an ugly purple cover and a dog named Fred. I used to compulsively re-read The Windflower by Laura London but I haven’t done that for a little while. I haven’t done ANY re-reading in a while, for that matter. Too much new stuff to read!

    I already did my harsh “donate every unnecessary book to the library!” clear-up the last time I moved, and so far I haven’t regretted a single book that I got rid of.

  3. 3
    Kristie says:

    I did TOO submit the word exactly as it was!  sigh.  Let’s try this again
    After the Night by LH is one of my “buzz books” I read every 7 or 8 months or so mainly for the bathroom scene.  One Summer by Karen Robards is a tie.  I skip most of the book since the mystery sucks big time but the love scenes between Rachel & Johnny – wowzers.
    Coming in as a close second is another tie between Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase and Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas.

  4. 4
    white raven says:

    I have a fe rereads that I consider my desert island books.  I tend to reread after long stretches of forgetfulness so that the book seems fresh when I reread.  Sometimes, I’ll just reread favorite scenes or chapters.

    Favorites that I read over and over would have to be:

    Night Magic by Charlotte Vale Allen
    Phantom by Susan Kay
    The Secret Pearl by Mary Balogh
    King Hereafter by Dorothy Dunnet
    The Time Master trilogy by Louise Cooper
    Ravished by Amanda Quick

  5. 5
    sybil says:

    I feel guilt when I reread, not that it stops me when I really want to but I always stop and think about the many books I have piled up tbr.

    What do I reread? hmmm I am so an Elizabeth Lowell whore, well the westerns and her medieval, haven’t read anything else really.  No that is a lie; I have the older contemps but no romantic suspense.  The Last Rogue by Deborah Simmons is another I reread over and over.  Jo Goodman, Madeline Hunter and Liz Carlyle are reread.  Seize the Fire, The Hidden Heart, For My Lady’s Heart and Shadowheart have been reread at least three times. 

    This might not see all that bad, except if you know I have only been reading romance books for about a year and a half.

    I have to say that the books that get read the most are not always the best books but books I love for reasons I am afraid to look at too deep.  Like Lawless by Diana Palmer.  I love that book, really.  I feel guilt over it.  DP is the writer that makes me shake my head and wonder what the fuck I am thinking but doesn’t keep me from reading them.

  6. 6
    white raven says:

    My God, how many times can I type ‘reread’ in a short space?  Redundancy much?

  7. 7
    Nicole says:

    Hmmm…I havent reread anything lately, but I do.  Early Julia Quinns are ones I’ve reread.  Johanna Lindsey, especially Angel.  Dunno why, but I love that book.  Most of my reread books are non-romance, like The Dogs of War by Frederick Forsyth and The Brotherhood of the Rose (and sequels) by David Morrell.  And my Clive Cussler books…  Earlier Anne McCaffrey books.  I’ve reread Robert Jordan’s WoT series a gazillions times and still like it.  Funny…not so much romance.

  8. 8
    Kate says:

    I reread when I’m sick or feeling sorry for myself. It always pushes me even further in to the self-pity mode because there is no f*cking way I’ll ever be as good as whichever book I’ve pulled off my keeper shelf.

  9. 9
    CindyS says:

    First, I should dig out those Laura Kinsale books I haven’t read yet – especially the ones mentioned.

    Re-reading was something I indulged in when I had no money or time (back in University) and Julie Garwood was my fav. author.  I swear I have read every one of her books at least 4 times.  Now that I am not so cash poor I re-read less but, I have kept around 200 books that I have read because I know that eventually I will want to re-read them.  They have survived at least two purges now.

    Anne Stuart – I don’t think I could ever part with one and I still have a few to find.

    Suzanne Brockmann – another author whose books I keep – even when they don’t work for me.

    Current keepers have been from Julia Quinn, Lisa Kleypas – yikes, did I mention Howard – all of hers but I finally gave the Mountain books away because I never really liked them.  I have purged most of JAK except for maybe 8 that I still remember the plots (15 years after reading them).  Got rid of all Quicks.  Still have my LKH collection but I don’t know if I would re-read them – maybe a few years from now I’ll re-visit them.

    For the most part I don’t feel like I have to keep every book an author writes (except for the few mentioned).  I have given some Roberts away even though I still have some in the TBR pile.

    All I can say is that the first time I purged my TBR pile I was in tears in the first 5 minutes.  Once I vented on one of the romance sites I was able to go back and purge almost 1/2 the books I had.  I even let go of books that I had never read because I knew that I would not get to them and they had been passed over for many years.

    So good luck and be prepared for some dark emotion but, when it’s done, it feels great and you know that every book in your collection is a gem (or a hopeful gem)

    CindyS (apparently feeling chatty)

  10. 10
    Bron says:

    It’s particular scenes that I pick up a book to re-read. Usually emotional ones, like the scene where Suyin hears of Mark’s death in A Many Splendoured Thing. Some of that book is hard-going, but that particular scene cracks me up every time – a brilliant example of less is more in writing emotion.

    To be honest, while most of my reading is romance, most of my re-reading isn’t – or at least, not straight romance. Ursula le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness; Darcy Niland’s The Shiralee; Ellis Peter’s Brother Cadfael’s Penance; they’re all about relationships, but not so much romance. But then again, my collection isn’t as big as most romance readers’ – one of the problems of small-town living and very limited budget.

    Oh, and Terry Pratchet is my other frequent re-read – whenever I need a good laugh. Although the Unseen University is alive and well at not invisible at all at the university I work at ;-)

  11. 11
    Yummy says:

    Dude, so I did what I said I would last night and at 12:45am after promising only to read the desert island scenes with Olympia and Sheridan, I was again skipping ahead to their next encounter.  It’s unusual for me to not sit down and re-read the whole thing cover to cover, but I am in the middle of a book that I really like and I didn’t want to put it down for too long.  Besides, I only needed a quickie to go with my ridiculous spring fever. 

    And CindyS, get your ass home and pull out those friggin’ kinsales!  The very idea of having a never-before read kinsale on your shelf!  Oh I’m so jealous!!!  She is working on a new one, thank the good Lord, and I’ll be first in line to read it.

  12. 12
    sybil says:

    I thought about that yesterday, I still have Dream Hunter, Prince of Midnight and My Sweet Folly on my shelf that I haven’t read.  And I rebought The Shadow and the Star because I couldn’t remember it at all.

    I really need to read these.

  13. 13
    jenreads says:

    I reread Theresa Weir on a yearly basis. I’ve read “Bad Karma” at least three times and “One Fine Day” more than that. I still stay up until after 1am each time I read One Fine Day – it’s like I’ve never read it before. A true good book buzz every time. I like her Anne Frasier books but I loved Theresa Weir.

  14. 14
    Giselle says:

    I used to be a champion re-reader. That is for every new book I read, I’d re-read an old favorite. Recently though I’ve found that books that were once DIK’s are barely a C or D read upon re-reading. That scares me so I stopped re-reading cuz im not sure I’m ready to give up my DIK’s. It’s just so hard to let go WAHHHH :long:

  15. 15
    Sarah says:

    Giselle I have the same problem. I go back and reread a book I thought was so boot stomping great, and I reread it and am totally left with a big “Meh.”

    Julie Garwood’s “For the Roses” is one of these. I read it years ago and loved it. I read it again last month and it was good, but I had a lot less of the “lovely romance glow” when I read it. I remember being over the moon about it the first time, and I was firmly terrestrial this time.

  16. 16
    Jay says:

    I rarely if ever reread. Usually when I do it’s because I’ve forgotten that I read that book already and then I only read far enough until I remember how the book ends. Even though I don’t reread though, there are certain books that I just wont get rid of. I base it on my memory of the book when I’m going through purges. If during a purge the book still makes me feel warm and fuzzy, I keep it. If it doesn’t, or it doesn’t as much as I used to, I’ll let it go. Linda Howard & Sandra Brown hold up remarkably well to the purge test – as does Kasey Michaels and Susan Anderson

  17. 17
    Sarah says:

    Oh Sandra Brown. I love rereading Sandra Brown for the comic quotient – she keeps describing the character’s wardrobes and when the book is from the late 80’s – oh, hilarity ensues.

    But you are right, Jay, about the purge rule. I’m going to have to do that very soon, and the process of deciding which books leave me warm and fuzzy will be a tough one. Once upon a warm and fuzzy then does not necessarily mean I get the warm and fuzzy now.

  18. 18
    Rinna says:

    I get into ruts when nothing on the new release shelf sounds good, my TBR pile seems “meh”, and I want a guarantee of a great read. That’s when I pull out the tried and true favorites.

    The Windflower by Laura London, the Valerie Vayle trilogy Lady of Fire, Seaflame, and Oriana (oh, guilty piraty fun!), Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett if I’m feeling epic, or maybe the first few Earth’s Children novels…

    I always, always have to have a book in my hand if it is humanly possible. Hell, I read when stopped at traffic lights. If I know I will be in forced idleness for any extended period of time (plane trip, doctor’s appointment, PTA meeting) I prefer to bring an old favorite that is sure to please rather than a new book that may end up being worse than boredom.

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