In the early Nineties, I read and was impressed by Frank Herbert's Dune. I felt immersed in a really big invented universe where big events happen and where big sandworms swim about, and having read the first book I started reading Herbert's sequel, Dune Messiah. Didn't finish it.
Years later, I read some reviews and reactions to the Dune books, and felt better about not finishing the sequel back then. It's off-putting, by design. It feels smaller, less epic. Even sandworms are barely mentioned and only actually appear in the action once. It's also, more crucially, about the consequences of the often awful acts Paul Atreides was willing to do in the first book. Maybe I wasn't ready for Dune Messiah at the time. Still, it bothered me a bit that I'd read the 800-page first book with no problem, but couldn't make it through the 275-page sequel.
I just did so in four days. I got it from the library on Saturday, and finished it tonight. I'd made sure to get one of the three books I've been reading, the fantasy-comedy No Country for Old Gnomes by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne, done before diving in, then I mainly concentrated on the Herbert work. And got that immersed feeling again, enough that I'm excited to read the third book Children of Dune not too long from now.
(For the record, I'd remembered exactly two details from Dune Messiah: the opening interview and the scene where Paul's sister Alia trains naked. Maybe I shouldn't admit that I remembered that.)
I'd re-read the original Dune this summer, wanting to reacquaint myself with that work before Denis Villeneuve's film adaptation (the first of two by him, we hope) came out in December 2020. The film's since been pushed back to October 2021, and it occurs to me I almost certainly have time to read all six Frank Herbert Dune books by then. (The Brian Herbert-Kevin J. Anderson novels, a bunch of prequels, fill-in books and sequels they wrote from Frank Herbert's notes, are not on my reading schedule, at least not yet.)
Okay, my still-in-progress reading at the moment is a Lord Dunsany short story collection, a re-read of Caitlín R. Kiernan's Daughter of Hounds from 2007, and once I get them from the library, two Beverly Cleary books and John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. The Steinbeck will be a re-read. I can still read.