Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Danger of the Mega-Series

I went through all my books yesterday, making room for the many books that I intend to read for this blog, and I noticed an interesting trend. The series that I set aside for the used book store were all series that I enjoyed, for the most part. But they had two things in common. Each book was ultra thick and each series went on for more than three books. I realized that -- even if I really enjoyed them -- I would most likely not invest the time in reading them again.

Into the pile went my Tad Williams Otherland series. I love everything Tad Williams has written. However, the only novel I kept is Tailchaser's Song. I have already sold Memory Sorrow and Thorn. I also am going to sell the volumes that I have left from George R. R. Martin's A Song of Fire and Ice and I've already sold my volumes from Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time.

I kept most the shorter series, even if they weren't my favorites. My favorite book by J. V. Jones is The Barbed Coil. But I also kept her The Book of Words series (that series title never made sense to me). I have Deborah Chester's The Sword, the Ring and the Chalice and Holly Lisle's The Secret Texts. I enjoyed them all, but if I lost them in a fire, I wouldn't replace them.

Which brings me to my point. When it comes to my favorite series, I have actually gone through the expense of replacing worn-out copies. I have purchased no fewer than three copies of Dragonlance over the years, including two omnibus copies and one copy of each individual book. I have purchased two omnibus copies of The Deed of Paksenarrion. I have purchased at least three copies of The Once and Future King, including standalone copies of The Sword in the Stone and The Book of Merlyn.

Why did I replace these? Because I read each series so many times that I actually wore them out. This has turned into extra sales for the authors. True, these aren't mega-authors. But most authors aren't.

Which brings me to Acacia. The jury is still out for this one. The first book took me three weeks to read, but David Anthony Durham has promised only three titles in the series. This alone makes me more likely to keep them.

Do you reread the novels that you love? What titles have you purchased more than once, if any?


Graeme Flory said...

I don't think there's anything on my shelves that I wouldn't re-read (although there's stuff that I haven't reread for a long long time...)
I am also really anal looking after my books so I haven't had to buy second copies yet. Having said that though, a couple of my Terry Pratchett books have had the sellotape and super glue treatment...

Tia Nevitt said...

I admit to being really rough on books. My books are well-loved! I used to have a book webpage called The Broken Bookspine.

My time is so limited these days that I can't imagine being able to reread a monster series before my daughter is out of high school, and that's years away. If the time comes and I really want to reread a series, I'll purchase it again.

Kimber An said...

Oh, yes, I re-read books I love. That's why I keep them. They have that elusive qualitive of showing some new perspective on the story each time I read.

There are different kinds of series. I prefer the planned series, typically in trilogy form. I think this is because there is a definite beginning, middle, and end, even though each book can pretty much stand on its own.

Tia Nevitt said...

"They have that elusive qualitive of showing some new perspective on the story each time I read."

Oh, well put!

Robert said...

When it comes to books I'm very anal and try to keep them in as good a shape as possible :D

As far as re-reading them, I don't do that as often as I once did when I was younger, but that's partly because there's so many new books that I want to read, I don't have time to re-read all of my old ones. That said, I do get rid of books, but only the ones that I didn't enjoy enough TO re-read them.

My plan is, that whenever I'm old & decrepit I'll have my own little library to keep me busy for a while. Also, if my son shows an interest in reading, well I'll have a nice selection for him to choose from ;)

Tia Nevitt said...

That sounds like my own story. Had time then, don't have time now. I don't reread much at all anymore, unless the author is Jane Austen.

My books usually still look pretty good after the first reading. But after the 7th or 8th (or the 15th, in the case of TOAFK) it begins to look awfully tattered.

Lisa Shearin said...

I'm a book packrat. I have a shelf each devoted to David Eddings, Raymond Feist, and Terry Brooks. And if you've read any of those guys, you know their series' will take up an entire shelf (or more) by themselves. Other authors I read, like Tad Williams, take up sections of a single shelf. I've only read his Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series, but I loved it.

Tia Nevitt said...

I've read and enjoyed all of those authors as well. I guess I moved so much in my young adulthood that I lost the packrat compulsion.