Do you do it? I often hear people that either do or do not. I don’t seem to come across many “sometimes” or “it depends”. I know that some people who don’t will make exceptions for a specific series or their absolute favourite book, and I know that some that do will refuse to re-read certain things for whatever reason.
I re-read all of the time. Over the holidays, I re-read both The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear. I believe it’s the third time that I have read them, even though I wouldn’t necessarily say that they are my favourite books. The writing is very poetic, with a beautiful cadence that enhances the feel and taste of the story, but I have issues with the main character and a few passages within the books. However, that is for another day. These books are quite hefty, and by reading on and off over the break, between cooking the turkey and indulging in Bailey’s, I managed to finish them in less than a week.
I couldn’t count how many times I have read the Harry Potter or James Herriot books, and though I just finished the entire Sherlock series recently, I am already thinking about when I should start it again. I re-read because I love to feel the story all over again. I love to remember the smells and tastes and emotions of the story, and I almost always miss a few things the first time around. It’s an act of discovery for me that evokes nostalgia and comfort and interest. As a side benefit, I suppose it would be quite flattering for the authors to know that their content is worth looking at more than once.
I have always re-read books, from small storybooks to novels to entire series’. I don’t have a library card, because for one I am terrible at bringing the books back, and two, I have a deep desire to own what I read, so that I may re-read it whenever I choose. I’ve only just realized now that my desire to re-read books probably plays into why I prefer to own books, oh, self-realization! I’ve just never been one for borrowing, probably because I find it too restrictive.
For me, re-reading doesn’t just allow me to experience the story all over again, it lets me look into more than just the story. The second time, I can pay more attention to the word choices and the dialogue. The third time perhaps I will realize that I don’t even like the book after all, but was just caught up in the story. Perhaps the forth time I will decide that the book is worth reading because, even if I don’t love the story, the writing is just terrific. Each time allows me to understand the author more, and to understand the book as a whole, instead of just one small piece of what the writer was trying to say.
Of course, there are books that I just couldn’t bring myself to re-read because I disliked them so much the first time. A good example would be Twilight, I read the whole series because I couldn’t leave it unfinished, but the entire time my mind was swelling with sarcastic remarks and frustration at the story and the writing.
The Color Purple, although very, very good was just too jittery for me. The way that it is actually written kept pulling me out of the story as if I were being pulled out of a warm bath over and over only to be thrown back in after being left in the cold for a moment or two.
The Handmaid’s Tale was definitely interesting, and thought-provoking, but I still haven’t decided if I will read it again or not. I feel as if I learned all I needed to from it the first time around.
So, there are exceptions to what I will read again and what I will not, but for the most part, if I enjoyed it the first time, I will probably like it even more the second, third, or fourth. I also believe that really understanding someone else’s writing helps you to be a better writer yourself, and the only way that you can do that is by reading.
So, how about you? Do you re-read or not? Why or why not? Have there been any exceptions?
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