Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Let's Ride It Again by Andy Scheer

That's what I heard from my family years ago at Disney World after first riding the Thunder Mountain Railway. We'd enjoyed everything about it, so let's do it again.

Often if I've enjoyed something, I like to repeat the experience. Vacation destinations, restaurants, favorite movies, novels. Especially novels.

But with books, I usually let some time pass before re-reading. Until this weekend, I can remember only one book besides the Bible that, as soon as the ride ended, I immediately returned to the front of the line.

The book that prompted that response was Stephen Bly's Paperback Writer. The tale was so quirky, so audacious, I immediately re-read it “Just to see if it ends up the same way the second time,” I said. It did, but it still left me amazed.

Nine years later, it happened again. Saturday I finished the novel, then re-read the conclusion—and decided I needed to read it again. Sunday I started back into the book.

The first time I read it too quickly. I wanted to see what happened next, and next, and next. A few times I took note of some aspect of the craft—a new subplot or a fulfillment of some foreshadowing. But the story was too well told for me to read it analytically. This time I want to savor the tale more slowly.

There's an old saying that a bad book can't be too short, or a good one too long. This time the latter certainly applies, though Stephen King's 11/22/63 weighs in at nearly 850 pages. Already the second time promises to be just as good.

Have you encountered other books worthy of an instant replay?


Linda Glaz said...

Yes, one I just read as an agent. (I signed her asap) I could have read, kept reading, and read some more. Amazing story I can't share here with you yet! But will revisit this post once she's pubbed and I can let you all know about the story. But yes, I enjoy the feeling of: is that it? Maybe if I go back it will take me on the same ride. Hurrah for excellent books.

Rick Barry said...

I don't think I've ever immediately reread any book (other than the Bible). However, sometimes I'll quickly turn back to specific portions to study what the author did (or did not do) in foreshadowing, developing characters, recording dialogue, etc.

Jenny McLeod Carlisle said...

Thanks for the reminder about Paperback Writer. I need to find a copy of that one and read it again. Fascinating!