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Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Luxury of Rereading

Well, better late than never!  It's been one of those really full of family time Easters, so I'm only just now settling down to write my post.  Pardon my tardiness.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about rereading...

It all started when a good Twitter friend wrote a blog post about a favorite book of mine and mentioned a concept that I had not seen during my multiple readings of this particular book.  I, naturally, wanted to respond to her thoughts, but decided I really needed to read the book again myself to see if I pick up on it.  That's not to say that I am reading to prove her wrong or anything; but I want to respond with a close memory of the book.
I recently reread The Great Gatsby for an event and realized how much I love that book.
I recently found out that The Good Earth--a book that I always think fondly of when I remember that I've read it--is actually part of a trilogy.  Of course, I need to start the trilogy from the very beginning!
I recently have been thinking a lot about John Steinbeck because of a project at work and really want to read his magnificent works--East of Eden and The Grapes of Wrath.

It seems that I am surrounded by the impulse to reread books from my past the summer that I'm 25 (rather, the first summer that I'm 25, because I plan on "being" 25 for a few years).  Ooh, and now I'm thinking that maybe age has something to do with it...Ugh.  I'm too young to be that nostalgic.

Anyway!  I know that within the book community there is a pretty good sized debate about rereading books.  Some people are working to read allthebooks and life is too short for rereads.  Other people like to look back on books they remember fondly to see if things have changed as their lives have changed.

A favorite blogger of mine has posted about doing a Summer of Rereading.  I like this idea.  In Oklahoma it's usually this close to being too hot to think during the summer.  You don't want to have to tax yourself with something new, unfamiliar, and challenging!  You want to curl up at the pool and read something familiar.  Or curl up in the AC if you are so inclined.  You aren't as busy because there's no school and summer is a time for fun, not work and blah.  The days are longer so you have more time to read.  I don't know what it is about summer that makes it a good time to reexplore and reevaluate, but I am definitely going to do it this year.

If reading is a luxury, a chance to get away from the blah-ness of daily life, then rereading seems like the ultimate luxurious act of pleasure.  I already know what's going to happen in these books.  I already once felt favorably towards these books.  Yet I am reading them again for the absolute and utter sheer pleasure of reading them.   It sends shivers down my spine.  I have hundreds of unread books on my shelves, but I am going to spend three months reading books I've already read.  I love it.

I have several ideas of what I want to reread, but no definite list.  Summer feels like a good time to do it, but summer seems so far away!  There's that whole thirty days of April and a part of May that I have to live first.  I may go ahead and start summer early.

So, where do you fall on the topic of rereading?  For it?  Against it?  Why?

39 comments:

  1. I'm all for re-reading, although I have not been practicing what I preach until lately. When you get so many ARCs your primary goal is to stay on top of those so you can get them read and reviewed in time. Well, I just decided the other day to pick up an old favorite and I did and it feels great. Sure I'm a bit stressed about the other books I 'have' to read but it feels good to read something you know you'll love. I think sometimes it's best to revisit old favorites to remind you that reading/blogging/reviewing isn't a job and that you started doing this all for the love of reading.

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  2. I'm an avid re-reader. There are some books that are so suspenseful, I rush through to get to the end, so I re-read for the nuances I missed in my hurry to finish.
    Also, some books always surprise me no matter how often I re-read them - Rebecca is one, and the Poisonwood Bible is another.

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  3. I am 100% for it. I actually just finished a marathon re-read over the last week of C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia. I think that if a reader finds a book that really stands out or really connects to life in somewhere or even just really challenges in a good way then there is nothing wrong with returning to it over and over again. I have read Tolkien and Lewis countless times in my the short 12 or so years since I discovered them and I am sure I will countless times in the future. And you are completely right about the summer-time and how much nicer it can be to re-read things in those relaxing days.

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  4. I'm all for re-reading. I've read my Harry Potter Books, and a bunch of others at least 50 times each. They're the reading equivalent of comfort food!
    - Kimberly @ Turning the Pages

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  5. I am 100% in favour of rereading. I just don't consider myself smart enough to get everything in the first reading. And then, of course, when you re-read, it's not always the same book and you're definitely not the same reader.

    Favourite rereads include Bridge to Terabithia, Moby Dick, Les Miserables and anything by Georgette Heyer.

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  6. Great post, Lori. Rereading definitely has been something I've always wanted to do for some novels but others . . . not so much. The only key concept is the boundary of time and the fact that there are more books that I have to read that I have hours in a day. I do like your idea of taking the summer days to just sit out with a previously read book and just take it for another spin; I might have to take the offer up while I'm tanning out by my pool. Let's just hope work doesn't get in the way of this glorious idea :)

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  7. I am all for rereading. There are a few series I like to reread if not every year, then every other year, because I love them. I love the characters and I love revisiting the worlds created by their authors.

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  8. +JMJ+

    I love rereading! In fact, I'm currently rereading The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury; but because I only read it once, over ten years ago, I'm definitely appreciating it in new ways today. =)

    A few years ago, I met someone who said she had made a personal decision never to reread a book, because (like the other readers you mention here) she knows it would keep her from getting to all the new books she also wants to read. I respect her decision, of course, but I could never do that. Many of the books I read in childhood got reread dozens of times, because at that age I didn't have enough money to get new ones on a regular basis. That's how they became old friends to me. =) I would like to continue building similar friendships with other great books, even if I discover them later in life.

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  9. I love rereading too! It's funny because I never get rid of books but rarely reread them as I've got a whole pile I want to read. I'm currently rereading the first discworld novel though and am loving it.

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  10. Some people don't understand rereading, I know a few whose thought process is 'Well you already know what happens'... But reading a book is not just about the plot, it is the experience that goes along with it too. There are just too many books out there nowadays to read all new releases! So why not explore books you know that you love?
    I usually reread classic novels mostly... But I like this idea of rereading during the summer.. I may just have to steal this idea!
    A lovely post.

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  11. I love the idea of rereading but I find myself thinking "oh, I have too many other books to read"...which is slightly ridiculous. I think that the ones we want to reread are the ones we love and we should make time for them. I'm doing a Sarah Dessen challenge this year and it's been great rereading all of her books because I read some of them over 10 years ago. I've also been thinking of rereading some other books this summer, specifically Harry Potter. It's been too long since I read the series cover to cover.
    Good post! :)

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  12. I LOVE re-reading but I'm not a fast reader so I never feel like I have time to do it much any more. I think I should do something like this though -- maybe not the whole summer -- but definitely give myself permission to enjoy a few re-reads just because. A great idea!

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  13. I love rereading- to me, the mark of a great book is one that I can come back to again and again. I love finding new elements of a story that I missed the first time, or being able to see the clues in a mystery come together, or knowing how awesome the happily ever after is going to be. The idea of a summer of rereading is just fantastic. :D

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  14. I love rereading! I always pick up something new...something I didn't notice the first (second, third) time through. Rereading my favorite stories are a chance for me to live once more in a world I love, surrounded by friends. Plus, I get so caught up in the story the first time through that I tend to read too fast. The second (third, fourth, fifth) time through, I can slow down...take my time...pace myself. I know how the story ends, so now I can enjoy the ride and not worry about the race to see who-done-it-does-he-get-the-girl-do-they-save-the-world. I don't do this with every book, but my favs I'll re-read once a year or two, just to see old friends.

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  15. I'm totally for re-reading. Especially if it's part of a long running series. I'm contemplating re-reading the entire Diana Gabaldon Outlander series in anticipation of the next book because I just realized it's been over 10 years since I read the first book.

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  16. I have only reread two books that I can remember at the moment at least. I have nothing against rereading, but the only books that I want to reread are my absolute favorite books (in this case, the need to reread marks to me an amazing book), and the books I feel I need to read another round to understand everything. I feel that not all books are worth spending time on again, and there are so many books out there that I want to read. I have a few books I want to reread at the moment, but I get to them in pieces - in between new reads.

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  17. I used to reread when I didn't know what to pick up next. OR when I was slightly depressed and needed my feel-good book. Since I started blogging I haven't reread much of anything (at least I haven't finished) and have been itching to do so. Enjoy your idyllic summer of rereads! I think I am going to start working some in as well.

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  18. I always reread on car rides. There's something incredibly calming and relaxing about being in the car or on the bus and reading something familiar while surrounded by so much that is unfamiliar. I could never read a great book and then never return to it. I just keep thinking about my favourite scenes and the character's growth and journey and just know that I have to return to them again.

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  19. I love re-reading my favorites. I don't do it as much as I used to before I discovered Goodreads and book blogs and my TBR started getting out of control, but I definitely make a point of making time for several re-reads over the course of a year.

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  20. Re-reading is such a gift! Sometimes, I sit down and just read a quarter of a book I've alreayd read, then a couple weeks later, finish it. I always find new things that I missed before. Even though I love re-reading, I always try new books! So many books, so little time!

    www.booknerdsjourney.blogspot.com

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  21. I love re-reading but don't do it nearly as much as I would like. I probably only manage one or two re-reads a year - I get seduced by new releases!

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  22. For me personally I can't understand how someone wouldn't want to reread something. I have a very good friend who, once she's seen it (movie wise) or read it, that's it. She's done and has no interest in it again. Crazy! I have plenty of books/series that I have reread over the years. Sometimes I discover something I've missed but every time they still make me feel the same way they did the first read through.

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  23. Totally for rereading. There's always something new to take away from a book no matter how many times you've read it, not to mention that sometimes you just need the comfort of something familiar :)

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  24. I DEFINITELY don't think life is too short for re-reading. It's one of my New Year's Resolutions to do it more. Although it's always disappointing to not enjoy a 'favourite' book as much, it's lovely when you end up enjoying one even more. I enjoyed TFiOS even more, for example, because I wasn't rushing through it, and The Time Traveller's Wife I've read about 4 times and enjoy it just as much each time. And of course there's HP.

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  25. I used to reread books ALL the time - until I became a Goodreads addict and started adding new books at an alarming rate. Since then, I feel like I don't have the time to re-read, because of all the other books that I really want to be able to get to... I'm actually kind of sad that my re-reading has been shoved to the back burner, but I do really enjoy finding new favorites, so I guess I shouldn't complain too much. ;)

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  26. I used to reread all the time, then felt like I didn't have time if I needed to get through my TBR pile. Recently I decided that rereading is just what the doctor ordered and am hoping to reread a few faves soon. :) Great post!

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  27. Funny you should mention it, because I *just* finished my month of concentrating on re-reading. I set the rules ahead of time that I was allowed to read a few books I already had in my possession (ARCs or owned, but no library books allowed unless they were re-reads), but the focus was on re-reading.

    In general, I do re-read more frequently than some people, but I never feel like I do it enough, especially since I started getting involved in blogging and Goodreads. There are a LOT of books I want to read again, but something new always gets in the way. So I dedicated a month to it. It was a great amount of time for me. Honestly, though, I don't think I could do an entire summer. By the end, I was ready for a new story.

    As for my feelings toward re-reading itself, I am a HUGE fan. If I wanted to watch a movie only once, I would rent it; I wouldn't buy it. Why would I do it for a book?

    Great topic! :)

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  28. Strange you should bring this up right now, as I realised only last night that I've been rereading an awful lot this year. Usually I'd LIKE to reread certain books but never get round to it. I'm not sure if this year I'm more laid back or whatever, but I've reread six books already when usually it's two or so for the entire year!

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  29. I'm on the fence with re-reading. I generally don't do it as there are so many new books to get to, but I do have a few favourites I re-visit every few years or so. The sad thing is that you can never recapture the feelings of the first read-through — once you know all the plot twists, your reading experience is forever changed. I wish there were a way to re-set my reading brain!

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  30. My perspective of a book always changes on a re-read, but I'm always torn between that and all the shiny books I haven't read yet!

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  31. With so many books to read, I barely have time to reread, but when I do, it's usually older books from my high school or college days. I have been itching to reread Little Women and The Secret Garden. I remembered loving those books when I was younger. I hope I still feel the same after all these years.

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  32. I love the idea of rereading but since I started blogging, I barely have the time for it. I always feel pushed to move on to the next thing. I am hoping to reread The Hunger Games trilogy this fall but could move it up to the summer to participate in this.

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  33. I am a huge rereader. There are books I have read 20 times, I'm sure, and I still enjoy them every single time. One thing I like about reviewing books I reread is seeing if, and how, my thoughts change about a book.

    I tend to reread when I'm in a bad mood or need a pick-me-up, or just want to revisit a favorite world. Sometimes I do get behind on review books, but two things: 1) it's not fair to read a review book if I'm not in the right frame of mind, and 2) I don't want blogging/reviewing to be a job.

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  34. I just started to reread recently. I originally never had a desire to reread but once I did, I got more out of the book the second time (if it is a good book). I plan on doing a summer of reread s too! I may do summer of rereads by genre (YA this year and classics next year).

    I did not know THE GOOD EARTH was a trilogy. Lovely post.

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  35. I actually started a blog and named it repeatreads because I think the best books are ones that your not done with after one read. As the description of my blog says: “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

    If a book isn't decent enough to read again then I don't think its very worthwhile. I never give a book 5 stars unless its something I will read again.

    Anyway that is my opinion :)

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  36. I'd definitely do this too, if I didn't have a mile long TBR list that I'm also excited to get through. I've been looking forward to rereading the Harry Potter series for quite some time now, I haven't read them since the Deathly Hallows came out and that's 5 years ago now, so much in my life has changed since, and I really want to rediscover them. Maybe I'll do that this summer after all!

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  37. I love rereading, and it makes me so sad that I have so little time for it now that I'm blogging. I love revisiting old friends, and I often pick up on things I missed the first time through.

    A few months back, I floated a Rereadathon to my followers, and they were all really enthusiastic. I may have to change the date (due to an overwhelming influx of unexpected ARCs), but I still want to do it.

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  38. I love rereading books that are worth rereading. Some books are just potato chips and are one-and-done. Others stick with you for years. I'm lucky to be a very fast reader so if it's a plot I love I will spend an afternoon revisiting a favorite. Other times I like to (force myself to) slow down and appreciate the book.

    I'm an English teacher and I always reread the books along with my students. It's fun to notice something i've never seen before (because once you get past plot you can really love the language and other details) or to have my students notice something and teach me something new about a book I've read 15 times!

    All hail re-reading! As some famous writer said, and I'm not going to bother to look it up, a classic is a book that is new every time you read it...because you are different.

    One month last year in my book club, we all reread a book we'd loved as a child and then talked about that rereading experience. We then gave copies of the books to our member who was having a baby. it was fantastic!

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  39. Last year, I've been kind of against rereading ... I mean, I felt like I should only read first-to-me books as a book blogger! But since January, I've been trying to reread more books and I've been liking it! Some haven't totally resonated with me like they did on my initial read, but others I love even more. Still, I sometimes feel guilty when I have SO MANY books on my own-must-read list. I'll get to them eventually, right? ;)

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