Familiarity

There is nothing quite like the feeling of picking up a book that I have read many times, an old favorite, and sinking into the familiarity. Remembering the dialog, anticipating favorite scenes. The tension of not knowing what is going to happen next as I watch events unfold is gone, and yet still something that I didn’t notice before, or didn’t appreciate fully stands out. I re-read books a lot, and I mean a lot, but in perhaps in the past six months I have been reading quite a number of new books and new authors. Sure, this is great; I was feeling tired of the old favorites, and needed to branch out, but it does make that feeling of familiarity ever so much sweeter.

The book in question today is Green Rider, by Kristen Britain, which I must have discovered some time in high school. (For temporal reference, I just graduated from college in May.) I don’t think I’ve read the Green Rider series in at least a year, save for the fourth one, which came out this year. I think I read it in May or June.

What’s great about this series is that across the four books I actually have four different levels of familiarity. The first one, since it’s been around the longest, I’ve naturally read the most. While it’s certainly not to the “practically memorized” point (only a couple of my “old favorites” are), I definitely know what’s coming and when it’s coming, and all the dialogs ring with familiarity. I remember the details as well as the larger plot, and can predict them as I go. (But each as it comes, not the whole thing from the start. Parts, but not the whole.) Each book then has a drop of familiarity, to the last one where subsequent (large) plot points come to me only as I am reading, and not always then. The ending (say, the last 30-50 pages), at least, I had entirely forgotten. In the case of the third book, I know the overall plot, and some of what’s going to happen next, but the details, even some of the larger ones, of how it’s going to play out are a mystery to uncover with each page turn. The second book, being my least favorite, fades from immediate memory already.

Well. Reading a new book is exciting, thrilling, engaging, intriguing. Reading an old favorite is no less engaging, but solid and comforting. Reading a new book by a familiar author? The next in a series; something set in a familiar world with new characters; something entirely new. These can be nothing less than engaging, but certainly I shall have to think about what else they can be, as I read new books by old authors in the upcoming months.

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