Great Books vs Favorite Books

First, before I start, does anyone know how to get rid of bindweed?  It is everywhere in my yard and it’s starting to kill my other plants and I DO NOT APPROVE.

(Also, remember to wear gloves when trimming rose bushes.  Yeessss.)

On to real business.

I’d say that once a year or so, I read a book that is fully satisfying, where the plot is logical and well-thought out, the characters are three-dimensional and relate-able, and, when I set it down at the end, I think, “Damn that was a good book.”

(Some examples: Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger)

Here’s the thing about Great Books, though – I never reread them.  I don’t know about you, but the initial reading is so striking that I don’t feel the need to.  Once is enough for a life time.

And, to expand on that, I don’t want to.  What if the experience isn’t as good the second time around?  I’ll have ruined the experience.

Favorite books, on the other hand, ones you read over and over, don’t even have to be good books.  They just have something about them that appeals to you on some subconscious level.

For example, as a teenager, I read a truly ridiculous amount of Star Trek novels.  Trek novels run the full gambit from brilliant gems of science fiction to cracked out out-of-character messes, but my favorite was an Original Series novel called Black Fire.  (I actually found the Spanish translation while in a book store in Madrid, so I have this insanity in multiple languages.)

This is not a “good” book.  The prose is laughable, but I loved it anyway (probably because Spock spends most of the book being a space pirate).

While I read maybe one truly brilliant book a year, I read tons of favorites.  I have go-to authors and series that scratch my itches when they need scratching.

And, while this may sound terrible, I would much rather write a favorite book than a great book.  Something that people will love and cherish and read til the cover’s worn off.

How about you, Squiders?  Do your reading habits echo mine?

Writers – what kind of book do you aspire to?


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