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What books or series seem different to you over time?

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What books or series seem different to you over time?

Postby Bmat » Sat Sep 01, 2007 9:30 am

When I have re-read some books and series after years have passed, I have found that I must have changed. Some books that I formerly thought highly of were not so interesting anymore.

For example, Asimov was my favorite writer for years. The Foundation series, in particular, was what I cited as excellent SF. I re-read the series last year and felt that it was dry and dull.

Heinlein used to be my second favorite author. Last time I read one of his I felt that it was geared to a younger audience.

Niven's Ringworld I re-read earlier this year. It was still enjoyable but not the can't put it down enjoyable that I found before when I had read it three times in a row because I liked it so much. The characters seemed shallow. And the fun of the puppeteer was fleeting, which could have been because I knew what to expect, but the story was just not as epic as I'd remembered.

On the other hand, the Amber series by Zelazny and the Foreigner series by Cherryh have kept my interest.

I suggest that I have changed, since obviously the books haven't. I don't know what the change is. Whether it is because I have different life experiences or because I have read so many other books that I can make comparisons.

What do you think? Have you found that upon re-reading a book or series years later, that you have changed so much that the book or series is no longer the way that you thought of it before?
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Postby RHFay » Sat Sep 01, 2007 1:08 pm

I really enjoyed The Sword of Shannara when I read it many years ago, in my young and single days. More recently, I reread it as a book for home school reading lessons. I still liked it, but I found it seemed to pale in comparison to The Lord of the Rings in terms of language and artistry.

I had read The Lord of the Rings before the Shannara books before; Tolkien's works were what got me into fantasy literature in the first place. I think my tastes have grown more sophisticated with age. The Shannara books that I have read seemed great when I first read them, but they seem a bit lacking under my older, more critical scrutiny.

Now, I've also found that a series can change a bit in terms of subject matter and audience over the course of several books. I really like the Earthsea trilogy, even though it's somewhat geared towards a younger (teen?) audience. I found LeGuin's world and characters to be intriguing, and I enjoyed following Ged's development as a wizard. However, I was less intrigued by the fourth book, Tehanu, because of it's different style and more mature subject matter. It's a fine work in its own right, but it is not stylistically like the previous three Earthsea books.

I guess I prefer the more classical fantasy style.
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I've had a few thoughts bmat...

Postby Astaire » Sat Sep 08, 2007 12:40 am

At first I was thinking it was about television and its restless ever increasing pace of presenting brain numbifying flash-bang content, but then I thought

It could be you having read the books previously, and now plot twists are known in advance, but then

With the passage of time, what was once amazing-fresh-content turned out to be the new paradigm, so now books like Dune with ideas that stretched the genre, which are now seen as just another bunch of run-of-the-mill series of known-to-the-reader plot devices, but then

I remembered that books from the golden age were unpublishable and had to be proven in serialization first, then collected together, and anything that was too far out was looked down upon. I seem to remember that Isaac and Fred Pohl et. al. had to hide their consumption of (now very very dry) pulp fiction from their parents who forbade spending 25 cents on such a waste of time fantastic amazing crap, but then

I was thinking that the new time waster for the young is the on line interactive video game where user generated content enriches the experience beyond what the written word could possibly generate, but then

I got tired and just a bit depressed, heh
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Postby Ariel » Mon Sep 10, 2007 5:31 pm

Welcome Astaire! :flower:

There are so many books I'd like to read and don't have the time, so re-reading anything has always been out of the question for me.
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Postby Astaire » Tue Sep 11, 2007 2:13 am

Since my memory seems to resemble a sponge, (in the holey way, not in the soak up way) sometimes a reread can hold my attention. But sometimes I find myself skimming along over the pages and lose interest, so is it any wonder that the books I reread are precisely those that I currently find most interesting, hmm.

I suppose there is never a lack of new material, one can always find the right mix of character interaction-fantastic-plot-fantasy-space-opera on the current shelf of the local bookstore/library to occupy the mind for a few hours.

I guess I would call those types of reads: bus-books since they fill an empty time. More and more of this time I find is filled with podcasts, nintendo ds or psp iphone smartphone stuff, so bus-books don't end up getting the reread treatment, too much of a waste of time.

Then there are favorite classics that I will make time to look at every couple of years. For me I think the power they have is to transport me back to maybe a less hectic time for a little while, so while they are a little dry perhaps this is just what the doctor ordered.

Maybe in the near future the genre's business model will dictate a limited time rental of fiction where you won't get a chance to go over the material a second time without buying it again.

Would you then feel a little betrayed if your favorite author's publisher licensed a cherished series into a world-of-warcraft second-life interactive scenario where all the kids disdainfully played the crap out of it?

I can see it now: George Lucas presents Peter Jackson's Lord of the Star Wars Ring starring King GodzillaKong limited edition Burger-King collectors action figure sets Get Them All!

oops went too far again I see--sorry ;)
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Postby aldan » Tue Sep 25, 2007 11:36 pm

Really, for me, I feel that some authors, due to the way that they write, and what they focus their writing on, are very good at creating re-reads, while others simply are not. I'm a very character-driven reader, so novels that are more story-driven will generally only be read once or twice. However, well-written character-driven novels, for me, are ones that I will re-read quite regularly.
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Postby berry » Wed Sep 26, 2007 4:31 am

There are some books that are definitely best left for the memory to enjoy. I remember reading David Eddings when I was much younger, the 2nd reading when I was in my twenties however showed me just how lacking in imagination and vocabulary he really was. I re-read Charles de Lint's 'Moonheart' also and found that once there was no longer the grip of suspense the writing was clumsy and jarring. However I read Steppenwolf (Herman Hesse) again as an adult and I realised how much he understood misanthropy and the general difficulties of being different or unusual in our society.
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Postby Dark Knight » Thu Sep 27, 2007 5:40 pm

Ariel wrote:Welcome Astaire! :flower:

There are so many books I'd like to read and don't have the time, so re-reading anything has always been out of the question for me.


some here... I have only read one book twice.... over the yrs...

It was part of a set, and my mum got me book 2.... so years later when I finally had the whole set I of course read it again...
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Postby Violanthe » Thu Oct 11, 2007 4:35 pm

A Wrinkle in Time was my favorite book as a kid and I was happy to discover that it held up to my memories when I re-read it this past year.
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