A Book Within A Book: A Rant In Two Parts

Sorry, everyone, but I feel the need to rant for a moment.

I was re-reading a book the other day (no big surprise there), and I ran into a section that bothers me every time I read the book. The one or two other times I’ve read this one, I’ve skipped over it (including the first time), and normally skipping sections doesn’t bug me at all. This one does.

I figured out that there are two big reasons that it annoys me:

  1. It is text taken directly from one of the previous books in the series.
  2. It is by an author who usually writes much better.

Using text from another book in the series doesn’t sound too heinous until you know that the author used several pages worth of the previous book. It could have been its own chapter (it practically was). I have no problem with reminding readers of an important line or even a small paragraph. Pages, however, is too much.

I already bought that book once. I don’t need another copy inside the new book.

If you think that the reader may have forgotten something important, reference the idea in conversation. Have the character think about it. Slip it into the description. There are plenty of ways to make sure that the information is there without blatantly repeating full pages of text. In italics.

That’s not only sloppy writing – it’s lazy!

And that’s the other reason for the agitation. Not one of the author’s previous works has done anything like that, and many of them have been parts of series. The author clearly knows how to write that kind of information in.

Knowing that adds insult to injury.

At this point, I’m going to hope it doesn’t happen with future books. If it does, this author might get crossed off my reading list. You know, after I rant about it again.

*Long, deep breath*

Thank you. I feel much better now.

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