Friday, December 17, 2010

Books that are hard to re-read

I finished my latest "re-listen" of the OUTLANDER books at the end of November, and decided to listen to some of the Lord John stories again, just for a change of pace, before I dive back into OUTLANDER.

So, this week I've been listening to LORD JOHN AND THE PRIVATE MATTER. And finding it very tough going, as usual. There are occasional bits that I like:
  • the long flashback of John's experiences at Culloden
  • all of the scenes involving Tom Byrd or Harry Quarry
  • the confrontation between Lord John and Trevelyan where John tells him he can't marry Olivia
But overall, I have always had a very hard time getting through this book. I'm not normally a reader of mystery novels, and this one has so many different characters and so many different plot-threads to keep track of, it's really hard to follow what's going on. Lord John doesn't really have a personal stake in solving most of the mysteries in this book, so it's hard to see why I should care about any of them.

So anyway, I was just wondering, do the rest of you have any particular book in the series (or part of a book) that you don't like to re-read? Whether because of the subject matter (Wentworth, or Claire's miscarriage, or the abduction/rape in ABOSAA) or because of the way the book is structured (the Paris section of DRAGONFLY, the Very Long Endless Day in FIERY CROSS, etc.), or because you just don't care for it?

I'm not trying to be negative here. Diana has often commented that "not all books are for all readers", and I think PRIVATE MATTER is one of those, for me. Just wondering what the rest of you think about this?

6 comments:

Hev said...

All of the Lord John books are difficult for me to read. I don't know why other then I just don't care for the character. There is just something about him that just doesn't set well with me. The stories are really good, but I just don't like Lord John. But then I have a hard time reading the parts about William (Jaime's son) too. Though that is because I disliked his mother & I feel that Lord John has to much influence on him.

Anonymous said...

I actually have a big problem with every single book and yet I adore the stories and characters. I've only reread Outlander so far. I don't like the Wentworth scenes (I felt exactly the same way as that blogger that Diana recently posted about). I'm sure that I'll be skipping over all that boring French politics in Dragonfly in Amber when I reread it and I'll be skipping all that ridiculous voodoo stuff in Voyager. Yet, I'll still be happy to reread the books.

--Amy in Atlanta

Jane said...

With the exception of the first book, I find sections that are hard to reread in all of the Outlander series. Those sections usually have to do with scenery rather than characters or specific incidents.
But, some of the sections of Jamie and Claire in France and Jamaica I have to trudge through on reread.

There is one section I would not care to reread for another reason. I hope I am remembering this correctly, because I have not reread it on purpose. But, that is when Jamie shows Claire where the gold is hidden and tells her how he and Jem were nearly trapped in there once. I remembered, in an earlier book, about the entwined couple's remains in another cave and I instantly feared that would be how Jamie and Claire would die. I wondered if it was a foreshadowing and I hated it.

I am a huge LJG fan, so the things you mentioned you find hard to reread in LJ and the Private Matter, I enjoy. I do agree that at times the different characters and plots have been confusing. I also found that to be true of LJ and The Brotherhood of the Blade, which is my favorite so far.

I especially enjoy the relationship between John and Tom Byrd. IMO, Tom knows about John and that is one reason is he so devoted. I believe Tom's brother is gay, which Tom also knows, and that is why he always has John's back in addition to being a loyal servant.

I find both LJ and Jamie very interesting for very different reasons. Diana has really captured my imagination about both of these men and their relationship, so I am really looking forward to LJ and the Scottish Prisoner.

slfisher said...

I feel similarly to you about Private Matter and, to a lesser extent, to the Lord John books in general, for the same reason; I'm not into mysteries and they tend to devolve into lots of arcane discussions. I love Lord John as a character though.

Sara said...

I'm rereading The Fiery Cross right now, and I have to say it is my least favorite. I skip a lot of the politics and letters from Gov. Tryon. I hate what happened to Roger and how he reacts to it. This book seems to be a lot of filler to me (Sorry, DG!). I like Dragonfly a lot, but I hate, hate, hate the way it begins with Claire and Bree 20 years in the future! I can't say that it would have been better to pick up immediately where Claire and Jamie went to Paris or not, but I sure had to force myself through those early chapters until Claire started telling the story!

Susan said...

About the post above from Jane: I love scenes with Tom Byrd myself, and that is such an interesting theory you have about his brother!

I find myself not so much rereading the books, as just picking them up and reading parts at random, or going back repeatedly to favorite scenes. However, I also have some of the audiobooks, which I listen to carefully while driving. If I miss something, I replay it. So that way I'm getting all of the books reread. The Fiery Cross is also my least favorite, and the mysteries are also less interesting/confusing to me, fond as I am of LJ.

Another interesting question, Karen.