Monday, April 18, 2011

(Re)Readable

When you started writing your novel (short story, poem, how-to book), did you give any consideration whether what you were writing down would be rereadable?

Most of us think about making a book enticing enough to get a reader to read it once, to choose it over all the other offerings on the Barnes & Noble shelf or Amazon.com page view. But, shouldn't we, as authors, want to make a book rereadable?

I have a confession:

I've reread J.D. Robb's Conspiracy in Death upwards of 20 - 30 times. In my adult life, it's
probably my most reread book, though a couple other books in the series, or possibly Eleven on Top by Janet Evanovich come in pretty close on its heels.

Why do I reread books? I know a lot of people who don't. Surely it's not because there's nothing good out there to read. I have a list of books I want to read longer than my arm, so I know there's new material out there.

I have several reasons why. First, there's something about the character(s) I really love. This is why I typically read a lot of series in the first place. I sort of know what I can expect, and there's not a steep learning curve where new characters are concerned. I already am familiar with them.

The story offers something that not just every other story does. For instance, in Conspiracy in Death, I almost always come to tears when, near the middle of the book, the main character, Eve Dallas, is ordered to turn in her badge by her superior. In another favorite reread, Portrait in Death, I get a huge kick out of a scene where Eve gives her husband, Roarke, a sedative (which is a bit that is done a lot in the early books in the series, just usually in reverse--Roarke gives it to Eve.)

With both of these things, I'm usually observing things a little more closely than I did on the first read or two, which means I am honing in on details and learning something I can use in my own writing. Sometimes, I just catch things I didn't notice before. This happened on my most recent reread a couple weeks ago of Portrait in Death, when I spotted something I'd never noticed before (which I can't recall at the moment.)

Then, there's the lazy me. The part that is tired, weary, or maybe even sick. I need something to distract my brain, but reading something new doesn't appeal to me. That's when I go for an old favorite. I may even start reading a book a few chapters in. (I've skipped the first 50 or so pages in Conspiracy several times.)

I just hope right now that when Homebody, Cora's Song, or Beyond Dead are on the shelves, some of my readers will want to reread them.


A brief aside...

I managed to find the stats section of my dashboard for Word Wanderings this week... I was a little stunned to see some of the countries where I've had visitors this from in the last week. So, to my readers in Iran, Slovenia, Russia, China, Brazil and the rest of the places I've spotted, I thank you wholeheartedly for stopping in. (And, of course, I thank those that stop in from the good ol' U.S. of A., too.)

Question of the week:

My question for you is two-fold: Where are you reading Word Wanderings from? And, do you reread books? If so, what are your top rereads?

Until next time,

3 comments:

Tommie Lyn said...

There are a few books that I reread periodically...like, anything by Rex Stout. And I feel very blessed when a reader tells me they are rereading one of my novels.

Chila Woychik said...

I'm a strong believer in this too, Liberty. If you can't read it more than once, it's probably not worth keeping, and "keepers" are my 5-star books. :)

Chila

Liberty Speidel said...

@Tommie, I hope to hear that one of these days!

@Chila, couldn't agree more. I love it when I find a book I *know* I'll be rereading... in fact, I'm trying to figure out which box has a couple of books I want to reread... since nothing on my Kindle right now is currently holding my interest!

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