Monday, April 5, 2010
Is Your Novel Re-Read Worthy?
I love revisiting my favorite shows, movies, and books. There is something magical about picking up a book for the second (or third...or tenth) read and knowing that you will be returning to that comfortable, familiar place, or even finding something new that you didn't notice the first time. And since you already know that you loved the book, there is zero chance that you'll be disappointed by the ending. You can just savor every moment.
I'm definitely a re-reader, and I always have been. You could always tell which books were my favorites growing up - The Monster at the End of this Book, The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, anything by Daniel Pinkwater or Roald Dahl, and in high school Youth in Revolt, got thumbed through so much that the copies I have today are literally falling apart. I'm glad that my tendency to re-read has followed me into adulthood, although I have much less time for it now than I used to. There are so many great books I want to read, I don't have the time to dedicate to the old favorites anymore.
I know it used to drive my mom crazy when I re-read books. She didn't see the point. She wasn't a re-reader. She enjoyed a book, then moved on. But she also made her way through the library more than once. My husband also fails to understand my desire to re-read - part of the reason I'm listening to HP this time rather than reading (aside from the awesomesalsa that is Jim Dale) is that I don't want to hear it from the hubs.
But all of this led me to thinking...what makes a book re-read worthy? Is it simply a great plot with outstanding characters? Or is there more to it?
I think a big factor in the re-read is whether the book is a series. HP is easy and fun to re-read, because I want to see how all the pieces connect and interweave throughout the books (and boy do they!) The HG series will be a definite re-read, right before Mockingjay comes out, and again and again over the years. Many of my favorite re-reads are series books, but Youth in Revolt was a stand-alone for a long time before I got the sequel in my hands - and I still re-read that so much that my friend bought me a new copy. But that book was simply laugh out loud funny, ridiculous, and unlike anything else I had read at the time. Plus my big brother recommended it to me, and I pretty much worshiped him when I was 15.
Then again, some of my favorite recent reads I probably won't pick up again. Some Girls Are was fantastic, but I'm not sure I'll read it again. I may. I own it, and I want to...but it would be difficult (or maybe not, since i know what's coming. Or would that just make it worse?)
I think YA writers are in a unique position because they are writing for a demographic that is much more likely to re-read than adults. Not that you should only write something that is re-readable, or make that your sole goal...but you definitely want it to have a certain re-read factor. You want to create a world that readers want to come back to, that they want to send their friends to, and that they want to have on their bookshelf for years to come.
Are you a re-reader or not? What do you think makes a book re-read worthy?
P.S. I'm planning a vlog for this week, but I'm short on ideas. I have a few, but I'm afraid they're lame. Any suggestions? And no, I won't just do whatever you say - I'm going to be selective. I'm not Shannon Messenger, after all.