The Reread Factor

One of the things I learned about myself and my reading habits in the past year is how critical I’ve become when it comes to books. I used to be very easy to please when it comes to books. When I started my book blog, I hardly rated anything below two stars, and I always feel guilty when I give books low ratings. Now the first month of 2011 is barely over and I’ve already decided not to finish a book and gave my first negative review for the year.

This brings me to something I’ve been thinking about for a while now. You know how sometimes you love a book so much on the first read that you’ve elevated it on your most favorite books list? Then a few years later, you decide to pick the novel up again and reread it, and you realize that it wasn’t as good as it was when you first read it. Has that ever happened to you?

I named a lot of books as my favorites last year, but their reread factor kind of worries me. I wonder if I would still love them again if I reread them a few years later? Some of the books that are my absolute favorites have that re-read factor. They’re the ones I consider as timeless books, the ones I know I will re-read every now and then and emerge loving it still. For the others…I’m not quite sure yet. In a way, I’m afraid to reread some of them because I’m afraid to lose my love for them. I know I will never know until I do so, but I guess I don’t want to lose my initial enchantment over them. Is that weird? Maybe it’s a sign of growing up?

Some books that has passed the reread test for me, off the top of my head, are: This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness by Frank Peretti, The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen, Fairy Tale Fail and My Imaginary Ex by Mina Esguerra, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen, The Hunger Games and Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, Invisible Lissa by Natalie Honeycutt and A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett (this is a classic, so I think this shouldn’t count?).

What about you? What books have you reread and still loved? Do you have any books that you ended up not liking on a second read?

The Best Friend and The Other Guy

I finished reading The Iron King by Julie Kagawa last night and found myself surprised at how I enjoyed reading a paranormal romance novel again. I’ve mentioned it many times already that I have started avoiding paranormal romances and some contemporary romances because they always seemed to have the same thing: girl meets guy with a secret, they fall for each other, but girl has a guy friend who is also in love with her and is always the safer choice. Or roles can be switched too — guy meets girl, guy and girl fall in love but there’s a girl best friend who knows the guy better. And yes, I understand, there are other variations, so I’ll let you guys fill that in.

Photo by iann7 – from deviantArt

A bit of a spoiler for The Iron King — the same kind of love triangle is also there, although it wasn’t that pronounced yet in this book. I have a feeling it will be expounded on the next book, though, and right now I already feel sad for one of the guys because I am sure who the heroine would end up with. I realized then as I was reading that for fictional love triangles, I always seem to side with the best friend. I never really declare my “teams”, but I always find myself more sympathetic to the plight of the best friend. Case in point (slight spoiler warning for the books listed):

  • Twilight – I liked Edward in the first book, but when Jacob Black made his presence known, I liked him more. In the end, though, I felt that Bella did not deserve Jacob, so I wasn’t really rooting for Jacob to win in the love triangle but to be able to move on. Still, on the overall love triangle arc, I liked Jacob more.
  • The Hunger Games – I have no problems with Peeta, but I liked Gale more. Sure, Peeta is the golden boy and I liked him as he was, but I honestly thought Katniss and Gale was the better pair. But as I always say whenever people asked me which team I was for in The Hunger Games, I never made a real choice, except that I am just partial to the best friend. Come to think of it, that just meant I’m Team Gale. :P
  • Song of the Lioness QuartetAngela asked me about who I wanted for Alanna while I was reading the books in the series, and I said I was for Jonathan, who ended up as Alanna’s best friend. I liked who she ended up in the end of the quartet, even if I liked Jon more than who she chose.
  • The Mortal Instruments – A bit of difference for this one, since I actually liked Jace for Clary. I did feel a bit triumphant for Simon when Clary paid more attention to him that is not platonic. Although I didn’t root for their love team as much, I don’t think I would have minded if Clary ended up with Simon.
  • Privileged (TV Show) -While my friends and I agree that Will (played by gorgeous Brian Hallisay) is extremely hot, I felt myself gravitating towards Charlie, Megan’s best friend, who has always been in love with her. And true enough, I was heartbroken when Megan told him that he’s just a friend. :( (Note: the book that the TV series based on has no love triangle, so I had to specify the TV show)

And finally, The Iron Fey. Like I said, I don’t know what’s going to happen in The Iron Daughter since I haven’t read it yet, but I have a feeling that the love triangle will be explored more here. And I already feel bad for the best friend.

I don’t really know why I favor the best friend in the fictional love triangles I read/watch, except maybe because I am kind of sympathetic to the best friend plight. I can’t say I have been in an almost similar situation before (maybe, but since I am a girl, I doubt it’s as painful as the ones I have read). Or maybe it’s just because I tend to gravitate to the underdog because I always hope they’d win somehow? Or maybe it’s just because I always thought that a boyfriend who is your also your best friend is a really good thing?

But then again, what do I know about that? I’ve never been in a relationship before. *shrug*

What about you? Do you “fall” for the other guy, or do you find yourself siding with the best friend?

Edited to add: I just realized there was one love triangle that defied my “best friend” example – Brigan, Fire and Archer in Kristin Cashore’s Fire! Although I thought Archer was a pretty sweet and charming guy, I was for Brigan and Fire all the way. :P