Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Reading Miles Again: It's okay if you don't love Miles as much as I do (we can still be friends [probably])

I am introducing a friend to the Vorkosigan books, and he likes them well enough for a single read but doesn't love them like I do.  (He had to take a breather after reading a bunch over break.  He left off with "Labyrinth."  Was it an email or a text that he sent when he kind of couldn't believe what was happening?  I don't remember, but it made me laugh hard.)  I am using his reading as an excuse to re-read, and I am giddy and full of MilesQuotes.  My friend seems apologetic about not being as enamored with Miles as I am, but I really do understand.  How could he be?  They've only just met. 

He is in his mid-twenties and meeting the younger Miles.  I would think that wouldn't be the stuff of epic book crushes.  I've known Miles for years.  I met him when he was 17 and I was 12.  I watched him grow up.  I watched him while growing up.  I've read some of these books more than a dozen times.  The kind of relationship that creates is completely different from the one created by a one-time casual meeting between two young men. 

The act of reading the same stories as a different person is a powerful one.  Miles, Ender's Game, the Bible: these are the books I've read so many times that they have to have affected me. 

My favorite Miles stories now are not the same as they were when I was in high school.  Or college. Or graduate school.  Growing up with Miles shaped my world; not only did the way I saw the stories change as I aged, but the way I saw the world changed as I looked at it through Miles as I changed.  I might be getting a bit out of hand . . .

One of my friends once said after reading Miles for the first time, "You're a lot like Miles."  I don't think he ever explained, but I was too busy basking in the glow of what I perceived to be praise to really push.  Years later, I think I asked him, and he didn't remember why he said it.

I tell my new friend that I understand that he doesn't love Miles like I do.  I suspect that his opinions may change a little further on, but I don't know.  It's the darkness in Miles that makes him tired, and the darkness doesn't really go away, at least not until A Civil Campaign.  So for now, we'll wait and see. 

I wonder whether I can hold off jumping ahead and reading "Borders of Infinity" . . .  Willpower!

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