Saturday, December 22, 2012

A minor disappointment

A few years ago I thinned out my personal library. I'm not sure just how many books I owned, but it was a lot. I'd spent  several decades accumulating them and rarely discarded any. When the time came for the move from Omaha to Atlanta, though, the herd needed culling. I decided to get rid of any book that didn't pass the "I know I want to re-read this some day." This is a test the S.O. doesn't understand -- once he's read something, that's it. Doesn't matter how good the book was, once he's read it, he's never opening it again. I, on the other hand, enjoy going back occasionally and re-reading favorites. There are books on the shelves that are falling apart because I've worn them out through multiple readings.

Which brings me to my current reading material, A Game of Thrones. I am a huge George R. R. Martin fan. I started reading his short stories back in the '70s. Not surprisingly, I loved A Game of Thrones when I first read it back in 1996, and I've liked every other book in the series. I also like the HBO series. I've been meaning to go back and read the entire series (or what there is of it so far; Martin plans a total of seven volumes but has completed only five to date) ever since reading A Dance  with Dragons last year. Well, this week I finished everything I had checked out from the library, discovered said library is closed until December 26, so decided this would be a good time to re-read A Game of Thrones.

That's when I discovered a horrible thing has happened since 1996. Back then, once I started reading I had a hard time putting the book down. It was one of those novels where I'd start reading in early evening, get sucked into it,  and then discover the clock said 4 a.m. Now I'm having the opposite problem. The book has turned into a hard slog. Is it because seeing the series reminded me that Catelyn Stark is a stupid bitch, and I really don't care much about what happens to her or her self-centered, whining older daughter? Is it because I know Eddard Stark is going to die, and he's one of the few characters I actually like even if he is pigheadedly stupid? Who knows. The bottom line is that suddenly I'm looking at the other four volumes and wondering if hanging on to them was a mistake.

Even worse, I'm viewing the other books on the shelves, the non-Martin works, with suspicion, too. How bad was my judgement 10, 20, or 30 years ago? How disappointed am I going to be in a novel I thought was a keeper back in the '80s but turns out to be dreck now? How many books do I own that I've wasted time and energy toting around the country that could have just as easily gone to Goodwill? I'm going to try not to think about it. . .


  1. I had the same experience with a re-read of Ken Kesey's Sometimes A Great Notion. Very disappointing.

    We also have kept decades worth of books. Instead of Goodwill, I contacted a small private school and asked if they were interested in the books for their library. Yes they were so it was a win-win deal.

  2. There hasn't been many books that I've read more than two times. What is my favorite book? Maybe the next one I read.

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  4. I read the first two books before the HBO series started. I liked them but I quickly realized Martin is not a great writer but he is a good storyteller. I got half way through the third one and had to put it down because I got burned out on it.


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