Friday, March 25, 2005

Being wary of the reread

I love rereading books. I think I reread a book for every four new books I read. I planned to reread every one of the 1,711 books (at last count) I have stashed in every nook and cranny of our house. Yea right, if I live to be 182 maybe. I may have to rethink that plan though. A few months ago I dug out some of my old favourites in an attempt to at least start on this gigantic feat. I started off with Til Dawn Tames the Night by Meagan McKinney in honour of pirate time. Loved it the fourth time around. The previous three rereads were all years ago. Next up was Honor’s Splendor by Julie Garwood. Many years ago I loved her writing and went on a major glom in order to make sure I had her entire backlist. I drove all over the city to every bookstore there was in search of them. And I did it. I found them all. I was a happy little Garwood camper. I read them and reread them and eventually moved onto other books. They were put away in the corner of the basement, kind of like the Velveteen Rabbit. When I went searching through her section for a reread of course the one I chose was Honor’s Splendor. It was terrible. I hated it and wondered what on earth I ever liked about it the first time around. I tried analyzing what had happened; that a book I once loved so much, I now loathed. Was it that I had aged in the fifteen or so year since I last read it? (well of course I have chronologically), but was it that I had matured so much that I could no longer enjoy nincompoop heroines or was it really that bad all along and I just didn’t know it. Judging by the number of recommendations she still gets from other readers, there are still a lot of people who enjoy her writing so I don’t think that’s it. It must be me. More and more I enjoy less and less the sweet little young (oh gawd so young) nincompoop heroines. Have my reading tastes changed that drastically? Now I don’t quite know what to do with the rest of my Garwood’s I hunted so hard to find. They were all printed in the late 80’s and early 90’s. They have been reprinted a number of times so I would never get my money out of them at a UBS. And do I even want to get rid of them? I know I won’t read them again, but they brought me so much pleasure at the time.
And another question I have. Do I really want to go back and read the books I loved so much from so many years ago? What if this happens again? On the one hand I loved the McKinney book. It was a very good visit. It can happen again with my old favourites. On the other hand though, how many of them will I not be able to finish? Many of the other older books I dug out of my pile from the basement have remained in a pile upstairs – somewhere.
Most of the books I reread have been written in the last five to seven years. However some are much older. Susan Anderson’s Exposure was written in 1993 and I reread that one not to long ago and it still held up over time. I think my old Putney’s will too. I’m kind of leery about my old McNaught’s though.
Well, I guess I will just have to try them and see – one book at a time (yea right)

And while I have your attention, can anyone help me with showing links to other blogs? I would love to add links to the other blogs I read and enjoy but have no idea how to do it.


McVane said...

Here's a link: How do I edit my link list? at

If you get stuck, give me a shout. I'd be happy to give you a step-by-step guide.

If you'd like book covers on the sidebar as well, try my blog entry that I wrote for Nicole [bloghappy]: By My Side

A fellow reader once said, to an effect, "Re-reading is a box of chocolates because you never know what you'll get". I think it's quite true. A re-read may reveal bits you forgot; how moronic the story is; how wonderful the story is; or it's a lot better than you thought.

I have never been a Garwood fan, but I find it interesting that your comments [after that re-read] are exactly how I view her three books I read. So what was it that thing that made you fall in love with her books in the first place? Why didn't whatever that thing happen to me when I first read them? I find this quite interesting.

Kristie (J) said...

Thanks for the help Maili. I'll try working on it this weekend. I may have to take up your offer for help :)
As to why I had such a different outlook on Garwood I’ve thought about it and I think part of it might be innocence and naiveté for both me and the heroines of her books. After I progressed from my “kisses only” books, hers were some of the first with sex scenes that I read. Years before I had read a very few of the Rosemary Rogers type books that had sex yes, but very nasty heros/heroines. When I first read Garwood, her heroines were innocents that enjoyed sex and after a brief hesitation were willing and eager partipants. That was kind of like where I was at in my return to romance. As I began reading more and more and branching out I gained “experience” so to speak. Many years later when I did the reread I was so much more mature as a reader. I just didn’t have the patience to read about her twitty young heroines anymore. Maybe that's why they don't appeal to you. You were already a mature reader when you tried them.

McVane said...

What? Mature reader? *outraged look* MATURE reader?! Now you listen here, YOU cheeky mare ... !

:D No, seriously, although I wasn't a mature reader when I first tried Garwood's books, but I still think you may be right. Garwood's heroines had absolutely no chance of winning me over because I was already 'corrupted' by the likes of Linda Howard's MIDNIGHT RAINBOW. :D

MIDNIGHT RAINBOW is my first 'proper' American contemporary romance. I was about 16 at the time and I tried a Garwood book when I was about 19. Although obtaining American romances wasn't easy back then [no internet!], I did read enough to form a dislike for child-like and/or Disneyfied heroines.

So, there may be something to your theory.

Kristie (J) said...

Acckkk, I meant experienced not mature, experienced! We're both experienced romance readers. Phew I feel better now.
You help prove my point though. You tried her after Linda Howard and I tied her after kisses only. Thank heavens though I have been'corrupted' since then by Howard, McKeena, Holly etc. etc.