I've just been reading, and enjoying, Janet Evanovich's latest Stephanie Plum novel, Notorious Nineteen. It's entertaining and funny and a good read. But do we really need to be told that Lula used to be a "ho" in every one of these books? When we're re-introduced to Granny Mazur, do we need to be told she loves to attend funerals? We already know these characters very, very well. There has to be a less clunky way to remind us that Stephanie lives in the Burg, and what the Burg is like. Or maybe Evanovich doesn't even need to remind us at all!
J.K. Rowling didn't re-explain Hogwarts with each new volume in her series. Of course, the Harry Potter books have to be read in a certain order, and the Stephanie Plum books don't. But still -- the boilerplate is jarring, it knocks us out of our reading bliss.
I'm reminded of the sameness of the first chapters of all John D. Fitzgerald's Great Brain books. Once you'd read one of the books, you could almost skip the first chapters of the others. All the boys have the middle name Dennis. Sweyn doesn't like tomatoes. The father often brings home unexpected guests for Sunday dinner. And so on. I know editors must think this stuff is necessary for the first-time reader, but maybe it really isn't. The reader is going to figure it out.