Completists' Club discussion

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Completion Procrastination Principle

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message 1: by David (new)

David Merrill | 36 comments I'm curious if any of you do this. When it comes to authors who are dead, if I really like them a lot, I have a tendency, when I'm getting down to their last couple of novels, to stop and put them aside to be savored someday. I know there aren't going to be any more after that, so I sort keep one or two in reserve for when I've really got the itch for that writer.


message 2: by Aloha (new)

Aloha | 148 comments Nope. If I really like something, I enjoy it with gusto, scraping the bowl and licking my fingers. If I don't like it, it either goes in the trash or I forget it existed. If I feel too guilty to throw it away, it sits until it gets moldy in the fridge and I'm forced to throw it away.


David wrote: "I'm curious if any of you do this. When it comes to authors who are dead, if I really like them a lot, I have a tendency, when I'm getting down to their last couple of novels, to stop and put them ..."


message 3: by MJ (new)

MJ Nicholls (mjnicholls) | 211 comments I should do this, but my completion instincts tell me the canon must be complete. The pleasure for me in my dotage, hopefully, will be re-reading the works I have the fondest memories of.

(Never end a sentence on a preposition).


message 4: by Nate D (new)

Nate D (rockhyrax) | 120 comments I rather automatically do this as I always tend to be developing multiple areas of interest -- too many to just pow through any one author all in one go. I think it helps me savor, too, to break up a canon.


message 5: by David (last edited Sep 22, 2012 05:46PM) (new)

David Merrill | 36 comments Scott wrote: "Unlike exercise, where goal orientation is going to make you healthier, goal-oriented (except for sheer volume) reading isn't going to actually make you any less ignorant than reading a wider variety of stuff you enjoy more. ..."

I have to completely disagree with this statement and it's interesting you picked PKD as an example. A few summers ago I decided to read the rest of the PKD science fiction novels I hadn't read yet, about 25, in succession. My only goal was to read them all, but as a consequence I was reading some of his best novels against some of his worst. It was reading the novels that failed that showed me why the great ones worked. That combined with the collected letters, biographies, and interviews I read taught me more about writing than anything else I've ever done.


message 6: by Cecily (new)

Cecily | 31 comments I do this.

I'm not particularly a completist, but when I've read most of the works by a dead author I like, I do deliberately hold back.

Rereading is wonderful, but it's a different sort of wonderful from a first encounter.


message 7: by Aloha (new)

Aloha | 148 comments If I do a reread, it has to be worth it. That means it's a book that requires deeper exploration, with additional notes and research. I don't do a reread based on emotions alone since I prefer to remember an emotional book from my first unadulterated encounter.


message 8: by Cecily (new)

Cecily | 31 comments I know what you mean. On the other hand, if you read an emotional book a decade or two after first reading, your life experiences in the interim can give you a very different reaction.


message 9: by Aloha (new)

Aloha | 148 comments True, Cecily. My reactions to romance and sentimentality are different now. Your brain changes as you get older, too. The emotional and impulsive brain becomes more analytical.


message 10: by Cecily (new)

Cecily | 31 comments Absolutely. I've also noticed that the way I relate to stories involving motherhood changed once I became a mother.


message 11: by David (new)

David Merrill | 36 comments And there are some books that pretty much force you to have a different experience each time, simply by the way they're written. Dhalgren is like that for me. Other than that, it's rare for me to re-read unless I'm doing it for a discussion group I like. Though, I'm finding as I contemplate re-reading Dhalgren next month, I find myself thinking about re-reading Nova, Triton, the Neveryon cycle, Babel-17 and a few others. I can definitely see myself re-reading most of Delany's work over the next few years.


message 12: by David (new)

David | 25 comments You will be able to amaze a small number of people at dull parties though.

I can see Scott's point. But it is a total drag if, at the party, you say "My favourite author? I would have to say I totally love x." and someone says "Yes, I loved 'y'" and you're like "Oh I haven't read it because I heard it was a dud." and they're like "Oh, so you love the author but not enough to form your own opinion about each of the works?" "..."


message 13: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl | 123 comments Yeah I do this. My reading of Bellow has slowed to a crawl. I have a few more P.D. James (Dalgliesh series) to get through. The woman is in her 90s, I think she's most likely pushed out her last book. And I have only one more Forster novel left, sadness....there are so few...


message 14: by Antonomasia (new)

Antonomasia Hmm. Completism does funny things to you. I'm watching Wham in China streamed on a possibly dodgy far eastern website, not because I really want to see it, but because I'm within sight of completing the films of Lindsay Anderson. And it's also only an hour.

Next step after this weekend ... Not sure I want to spend over a tenner on a hard-to-resell DVD I may not even enjoy. Hmmm.


message 15: by Bill (new)

Bill (kernos) Before Goodreads, I generally would find an author I liked and then read them in toto, usually in publication order. Since Goodreads, I've discovered and acquired so many new books and authors, I am reading a lot more randomly or impulsively. I now have so many TBRs, I figured it would take me about 20 years or more to read them all if I could read 10 hours a day which would put me well into my 80s, if I live that long, and that's just fiction and doesn't could what I need to reread.


message 16: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl | 123 comments You should quit your job, if you have one, and read all day.

I don't read authors in chunks usually, but I read topics in chunks. I'll read 5 books on the financial crisis, need something new and fresh, and read 5 books on classical music, followed by 3 books on religion.


message 17: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 296 comments Those are very interesting chunks and juxtapositions, lg.


message 18: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl | 123 comments You need to alternate salty and sweet sometimes.


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