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Passion and Pleasure

I saw a tweet that someone was going to be rereading the Malazan books by Canadian author Steven Erikson in anticipation of the forthcoming book in the series, The Crippled God. Five years ago, this wouldn’t have even pinged on my radar, but when I read that today, I kind of had to pause.

You are talking about rereading what, 9 books in the series? And these are not quick reads – they are fairly thick tomes, so dedicating the time to reread them all is no small undertaking ad quite the time investment.

Five years ago I probably would’ve done the same thing. Heck, I DID do the same thing – Not with Malazan, but with other series like the Wheel of Time and the Sword of Truth, for example. Today, even contemplating rereading those massive books gives me the willies. I mean, I have a ton of books sitting on my night stand waiting to be read for the first time, so committing the time to reread stuff to prep for the new book coming out? Isn’t that what WikiPedia is for now?

(c) Patrick Hester

Don’t get me wrong, I understand pleasure and passion; the book industry (among others) relies on it, on passionate fans who cannot wait for the latest, greatest book in their most favorite series to come along (Mockingjay, for example?), but I think there comes a point where there’s just too many other things you could be reading, new worlds you could be experiencing rather than going back to reread nine or ten books in a series just to get ready for the next one.

I admit that I have reread certain books for pleasure. The Lord of the Rings is an excellent example of this, as is The Hobbit. There was a time, probably a ten to fifteen year period from high school on, when I would crack at least one of those books open once a year and read through it. For someone who wants to write scifi and fantasy, rereading these classics is akin to training with Yoda.

I even reread the Wheel of Time books. Once. Now, I either skim the last book or check WikiPedia (or the most excellent Wheel of Time FAQ) when there’s a new book coming out, just to refresh my mind on where things were left and what’s going on. I also got over the Sword of Truth series – pretty much stopped reading or being interested in it around Faith of the Fallen – which is a whole other post.

Today, I don’t think I have that same, intense, ravenous hunger and need to reread any book. To be honest, finding a book that I haven’t yet read that invokes that kind of need to read (we call these page turners, folks) is getting harder and harder. Maybe that’s just something that softens over time as we get older – I don’t know. Maybe I’m crazy weird off the norm here, but there it is.

What do you think? What series makes you salivate when you think about it? What series must you reread before the new installment comes out – and more importantly – why?

~P

@atfmb