A Fall into Reading question and Book #16-ish

Fall into Reading Wednesday Question

Katrina asks: How often do you re-read books? What does it take to make you re-read?

Funny thing, I joined a “Read Me, Baby, One More Time” challenge, thinking I could easily toss in a monthly re-read, but it hasn’t happened! Too many new books have come my way this year. I am re-reading, slowly, A Game of  Thrones and the rest of George R. R. Martin’s Song of Fire and Ice.

Why re-read? Sometimes it’s just the enjoyment of the book. I re-read Paul Kidd’s Greyhawk novels because the make me laugh. I re-read Ray Bradbury and Peter S. Beagle and Harlan Ellison because they write so beautifully. I re-read Shakespeare to puzzle through the language. I re-read Helene Hanff because I have to have a role model in writing that it wry and witty and loves books.

Most often, I re-read to learn about writing. If I want to know how to write a great opening chapter, I pick up Robert Jordan’s The Eye of the World. Tension? Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House (hmm, might re-read that…). Action? Maybe some Richard Laymon or one of the Horus Heresy books. I’m always on the look out for pieces to pick apart, analyze and put to work.

Book #16a – New X-Men, Ultimate Collection Book 2 by Grant Morrison

When I was at the library most recently, I ended up by the graphic novel and comics shelf. I figured, “What the heck!” and checked out a couple collections. Due to the library being, well, the library I ended up with a sort of random selection.

Yep, that’s right, Book 2. (It wasn’t exactly easy to tell what volume it was anyway…) But it’s X-Men. I’ve read a little X-Men in the past, so I know vaguely what’s going on.

I was again reminded how similar comics are to daytime soap operas. In some ways they are produced in a similar manner. A certain quantity of material needs to be produced within a relatively short period of time. Story lines are alternately highlighted and then shuffled to the background. Occasionally, quality suffers. And you can kind of drop in at any point and time and just go with the flow, but you won’t get a very satisfying experience unless to spend a good deal of time in the world.

Book 16b – The Sandman: Endless Nights by Neil Gaiman

I’ve read a little Gaiman in the past, but no Sandman. This collection is a group of stories about other characters in the mythos. Each section is about a different Endless, illustrated by a different artist. Again, I just had to jump in and go with the flow. The art is at best gorgeous and at worst appropriate to the story.

I have a feeling that I wouldn’t necessarily like other The Sandman books, because there are a couple of the Endless that I really like that I don’t think are very influential to the rest of the stories. (It’s kind of like when I started watching Heroes again just because of Christopher Eccleston and then realized he was only in three episodes.)

In any case, both of these collections were a nice change of pace as I switch to a winter groove.

Book I’m giving up on:

Doc by Mary Doria Russell. I don’t know how to read this book. It’s not a biography, it’s fiction based on a real man, John Henry “Doc” Holliday. And I would rather it be a biography or a narrative in the style of Erik Larson’s books. Larson takes primary sources and weaves them into a compelling narrative. I guess my point is, all I know of Doc Holliday is penny dreadful fiction so why do I want to read another fiction?

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