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PostPosted: Sat 26 Sep , 2009 5:36 pm 
of Vinyamar
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This is gonna be one of those odd posts so please give me some leeway while I try to figure out what I'm asking!

I just read the "Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever" by Stephen Donaldson after about 20 years and I found myself in a strange position. The books were old enough not to be readily remembered, but i found myself remembering every key plot point before it happened, ruining the story for me. Now this might not have been a problem if the stories were better crafted, but the writing itself holds no joy, merely a construct to support the telling of the story. Yet! The fact that I remember these plot points so well after 20 years surely says something about the writing. I'm just not sure what.

So, in comparison, I'm now reading the Belgariad by David Eddings. A book (or series) that when I first read I found simplistic and childish. And yet, I'm thoroughly enjoying them because I remember very little of the story, and as an adult I find his writing much more "knowing" than I perceived as a kid. The sum total of my memories of this series are of Belgarion trying to lift a rock and sinking (which may well be Pug from the Magician and not this series at all), and a princess wanting a bigger bust on her Armour. Thats it. Everything in these books are new to me, like I'm reading them for the first time.

So, my question is, which is better? Books that I can remember every plot point before it happens, but which give me no joy to read, or books that I'm enjoying with fresh eyes, but that failed to make any significant impression on me after the first reading?

If you were a writer, which would you strive for?

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PostPosted: Mon 28 Sep , 2009 2:25 pm 
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The books I forget, I assume were not worth remembering. I usually make a point to remember the author's names in those cases, so I can avoid them next time- but I'm not always successful. Lots of times the author's name goes, too.

It's not a compliment if I find someone's work is so completely forgettable. There have been some books I've bought that I forgot completely and re-read years later... and I promptly forgot them again. :shrug: Some are near total forgets, like the whole "Amber" series by Roger Zelazny that I picked up in a garage sale a few years back. I can't remember much of that at all. Dimensional travel, maybe- gradual changes like in Piers Anthoy's Mode series? Elves? Still, that's better than a complete brain dump. I know I have it and won't be tempted to get it somewhere else.

Some books I remember quite well, such that rereading them is kind of tedious. Some are old favorites that I re-read every few years or so, and each time I find that I forgot some details that make the re-read fun. There are those I retain a plot outline on, and the near totally forgotton ones and the completely forgotten ones.

I don't think any author can predict how different people are going to react to a story. Some people's brains will find deep meaning in the tale and will record as much of it as possible for future reference. It's all in how your brain prioritizes the data. If it's important to you, or at least tagged that way, you'll remember it. I doubt if people can choose to be forgettable in their writing, since people are so different in what they find important in a story.

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PostPosted: Wed 30 Sep , 2009 7:48 pm 
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I'd strive for deeper writing than simply being able to recall the plot points. If the book is not enjoyable to read, that is dangerous for re-reading. There should be extra layers beyond the plot that keep a reader wanting to come back to the book multiple times, or at least providing new insight 20 years later. The Great Gatsby is a great (no pun intended) example of a book where I re-read it for class this semester and while I started remembering many of the plot points, I found new layers to the book, new motifs that I had not seen the first time. I'd strive to write literature.

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PostPosted: Thu 29 Oct , 2009 7:20 pm 
I took the stars from my eyes, and then I made a map, And knew that somehow I could find my way back; Then I heard your heart beating, you were in the darkness too - So I stayed in the darkness with you
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I'm the type that can read a book (or watch a movie) and enjoy it but some months later I won't be able to tell you what happened. And yet there are some books that I've only picked up once that I could tell you about in great detail and yet have no desire to read ever again.

To answer your question reading a book with fresh eyes is better. The book might not have been that remarkable the first read through but you liked it enough or it was interesting enough for you to read it again and you found new details that you previously over looked making the experience enjoyable. Why would you want to re-read a book that won't give you joy?

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PostPosted: Thu 09 Aug , 2012 8:54 am 
Milk and kisses
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I love re-reading books that made a lasting impression on me, because I like re-inhabiting those worlds. It's why I love to re-read LotR starting in the autumn, when Tolkien's descriptions of the Shire match the beautiful British countryside around me. One of my favourite books is a little known fantasy tale by a scottish author, Graham Dunstan Martin (sadly deceased a few years ago), called Giftwish; I read it translated into Spanish, and for once the translation was superb and created vivid imagery in my mind which I love coming back to over and over.

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PostPosted: Thu 09 Aug , 2012 9:40 am 
of Vinyamar
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Hmm. Must look for that on Kindle Ber.

I am currently on a Graphic novel kick, since my iPad allows me to read the best of the best over the last 6 or 7 decades. However, sometimes its difficult to figure out what the best of the best is, if you have no real knowledge. I mean, sure, you can google "Best graphic novels" and you'll get Watchmen, V for Vendetta, Sin City, Sandman all popping up regularly. But that's only the tip of the iceberg. Luckily, Marvel Comics have spotted this niche in the market and are producing a partwork of their best Graphic novels. Each volume is hardback and contains a major story arc from the Marvel back catalog. So far I've read a JMS penned Spiderman arc that makes the whole radioactive spider thing a more mythic event, the Dark Phoenix story arc from X-Men and the Iron Man Extremis arc.

Available here if anyone's interested: http://www.graphicnovelcollection.com/collection.html

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PostPosted: Thu 09 Aug , 2012 10:04 am 
Milk and kisses
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Sadly it's out of print and not available on Kindle: https://kindle.amazon.com/work/giftwish ... 0862672236

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PostPosted: Thu 09 Aug , 2012 10:28 am 
of Vinyamar
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There's always Abebooks!

http://www.abebooks.co.uk/servlet/Searc ... =t&x=0&y=0

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PostPosted: Thu 09 Aug , 2012 10:43 am 
Milk and kisses
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Ohh! And I think I have an Abebooks voucher... :cool:

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PostPosted: Fri 21 Sep , 2012 8:15 am 
of Vinyamar
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I like how the merge bumped some old threads!

Just to mention Ber, after seeing you recommend it in another thread I'm now listening to the audiobook of Red Mars on my daily commute. Really enjoying it!

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