What is it about some books, or series of books, that makes us want to go back to them time and again? I don’t think it’s any one factor really, there are many reason and they vary from person to person. But while I couldn’t sleep last night I was thinking about this…right before I picked up my Kindle to read The Gunslinger for (I kid you not) the hundredth time or so. I decided to bore everyone with my reasons for reading some books over and over and over to the point where I know some parts of them practically by heart.
First off let’s start with The Dark Tower series by Stephen King. Some of you may think, typical she likes King. I didn’t read any of the DT series until I was in my twenties. (The seven book series also happens to be the first books I bought for my Kindle.) I committed the crime of reading Wizard in Glass before I read the first three. Only because the tiny library I had access to didn’t have the previous books on the shelves, I had to wait, and I was impatient for a new book to read. What the heck, why not?
I loved it. Being able to read the foreword to have a small idea of what came before was helpful. Within the next few days the first three came in and I made sure they had the others on the shelf and grabbed them all. So, I started from the beginning and even read the fourth again. By the time I finished all seven books I knew I would come back to them again. Right off the bat Jake was my favorite character. Loved it when he came back in The Waste Lands. Cried in The Dark Tower. Eddie is a trip, Susannah is bad ass in all her personalities, and of course there’s Roland…..and we must NOT forget Oy! Needless to say they all hold my attention in one way or another. Some of my favorite parts have to do with Roland’s memories/stories that include Cuthbert and Sheemie. There are a few things here and there that I dislike about the individual books, but not many. They keep me coming back because, regardless of the fact that I know how it all turns out, I want to see it happening all over again. There are so many lines that make me smile, giggle, even have goosebumps (the scene in Wolves of the Calla in the woods with Roland and Jake does this every time), when I read them. I love how it ends. King got a lot of grief from his readers for the way he ended the series, but I thought it was the best possible solution. (On a side note I do read many of his books more than once as I own at least twenty outside DT, but these are my favorites.) I don’t think I will ever stop reading this series.
On to the Shadowmarch series by Tad Williams. There’s Shadowmarch, Shadowplay, Shadowrise, and Shadowheart (the last two should have been only one but we all know how these things go sometimes). Love this series! I grabbed the first two from the library without even bothering to check if there was another one coming, the covers alone made me want to read them. So I take them home and start reading about Barrick and Briony Eddon. I was sucked in from the beginning. Finally, after a torturous wait, the last two came out and I was able to finish them…..and not long after they were the second set of books I bought for it. I thought then, and sometimes still think, that Briony seems a little too full of herself at times, particularly when she’s thinking about Vansen. But I still adore her. Which leads me to one of my favorite people in this series and I can’t even tell you why. Vansen, there’s just something about him that I’m drawn to. Barrick is my absolute favorite of the whole bunch. I look forward to reading about his parts of the books more than any others. Then there’s also Shaso, Qinnitan, all the Funderlings, Skurn, Yassamez, Ynnir, Sanasu, all the Rooftoppers, all the various Qar…..and let’s not forget the countless Gods and Goddesses in the story (I’m a sucker for those kinds of tales). So many others. The story intrigues me, the characters make me want to step into their shoes and go through these experiences. Even the bad ones.
EDIT: I forgot to mention his Otherland series, as well as Memory, Sarrow, and Thorn series. Tad Williams is definitely in my top five favorites.
Anne Rice: The Vampire Chronicles and The Lives of the Mayfair Witches. Enough said. I am partial to the witch stories, but still love the vamp stories as well. Granted, I don’t like the way Lestat’s character evolved in VC but, it is what it is. I also own and reread 95% of John Grisham’s books. About fifteen or so of Dean Koontz (Odd Thomas is epic) grace my shelves. I adore James Patterson and have many of his books on my shelves and my Kindle as well. I don’t think there’s one book I own that I won’t go back to at some point in my life. I will never stop buying paperbacks, no matter how much I like my ereader. There’s nothing like the feel of a book in your hand.
All in all, for me it’s a combination of the story lines and the people involved, that’s what keeps me coming back again and again. Some people prefer plot over character, or vice versa. I want both. I do enjoy more character driven stories without a ton of action. Just depends on the author, writing technique, many things really. When I delve into these worlds, it can feel like I really know these people, that I’m walking by their sides. To me, that’s the best part of a good book. It’s what makes me keep going back again and again…..and again…