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Friday, March 22, 2013

Re-reading: Yea or Nay?


Sometimes life is exhausting, right? You get busy with work or school or family, and if you're a reviewer like me, sometimes you just get swamped with review books. And your brain needs a break, and all you really want is rest. Those are the times where I like to do one of my favorite activities: rereading.

I know some people who never reread. Too many books! they say. Too little time! In the time it takes me to read a book I've already read, I could have read something new. Have you run out of books, or something? What about those huge stacks there on the floor? If you go about rereading things, how will you ever get through them?

Which are, obviously, fair points. Not everybody is a re-reading type of reader, and when you're on reading deadlines, like I am, it makes no logistical sense. But who said reading ever made sense? Here are the reasons why I am an avid re-reader.

Nostalgia. I don't just get nostalgic for that world and those characters I know and love. I get nostalgic for who I was the first time I read that particular book. It's lovely and bittersweet. Rereading a childhood favorite as an adult is a truly transporting, wonderful experience.

It's like a brain-cation. You don't have to work to keep a lot of details straight, because you remember. You can sit back and relax. Plus, if I'm rereading a book, it means I don't have to review it, which means I don't need to read as closely or as critically, which is awesome.

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Blackout drunk ON BOOKS

You discover new things! Every single time I reread a Harry Potter book, I discover a new detail, plot point, character interpretation, hidden layer of deepest meaning, you name it. And the words become engraved in my heart just a little bit deeper. The more often you revisit a book, the more it becomes a part of you, and you get to the point where you're capable of reciting the entire Darcy proposal scene from Pride and Prejudice (yes, my mom and I do this. Yes, she is the reason I am the way I am (completely non-functional)).

This is at least the third time I have used this gif. I care not.

Related: Forest for the trees. The first time you blaze through a really excellent, fast-paced novel (like me with The Hunger Games), you get so caught up in the plot and finding out what in heaven happens next that you speed by. You get an imprint of the forest, but you miss the trees. I like going back and looking at those trees. Sometimes they have cool leaves or something.

Hello, old friends. Oh, how I miss certain characters. I love to hang out with them again. Rereading a book you love is kind of like returning to summer camp and meeting up with all your camp friends again. And you get to relive certain events as well.

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I missssed you

There may be something there that wasn't there before. Perhaps I read a book at the wrong time. Perhaps I wasn't in the right mindset to appreciate it, or it went completely over my head. I've learned that second time's a charm for a lot of books that didn't work for me the first go around (particularly with a lot of the classics).

http://24.media.tumblr.com/3b102a4ec61bbc5b1bf1ed4c40d2262d/tumblr_miijmk5SeK1rik4g5o5_250.gif
http://24.media.tumblr.com/6cb99d48361b92b3a2e3157027f8800b/tumblr_miijmk5SeK1rik4g5o4_250.gif

Writers are readers. Rereading an author you love is the best way to become a better writer. You really get a sense of what they're doing right and how they're using language.

So are you a re-reader? Why or why not?

22 comments:

  1. I am a re-reader and I get sad when I don't have time to do it more often, like lately. When I get a brand new book sometimes I read so quickly it is almost like I'm skimming. So when I get the chance to go back and re-read that book, I love finding out little details or other things that I didn't pick up the first time. I also re-read because some books are just that awesome.

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    1. I also wish I had more time to re-read! I'm the same as you; I'm a really fast reader, and I tend to blow through so quickly that I nearly skim the first time around.

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  2. *falls down dead* I've wanted to reread my old friends for MONTHS. I love to reread! It's the best way to get out of a slump, and there are some books that will make me happy no matter what. All of your points are especially true for MWT. I learn something new every single time I read, and I'm currently aching to get back to Gen. I miss him so much.

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    1. I'M READING MY FIRST MWT THIS WEEKEND. I AM TRES EXCITED.

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    2. YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!!!

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  3. I have about three books I have read ten times or more, but I admit since I started blogging I haven't been able to re-read any of them! Rats. I would love to go back and experience that wonderful feeling of nostalgia. I just might put some of my "have to reads" aside one day soon and do that:)

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    1. I know! Blogging REALLY limits my re-reading time!

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  4. I truthfully can say that I am not very big on re-reading...I just...Let me start that sentence over. When I re-read( which isn't often, because I have only re-read two books), I just don't feel like reading it, since it doesn't keep me in suspense like the first time I read the book. I usually can't continue, because I guess you could say that I may have a slight case of ADD. I get bored extremely fast, and a book has to start off amazingly to make me want to read the rest. So, there is my opinion. I know many others enjoy re-reading, but I am not one of them.

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    1. Ooh, how interesting. I was hoping I'd get a nay-er! I find this fascinating. Only re-read two books! It's amazing how much people's bookish tastes can differ! :D

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  5. I generally re-read Austen every few years, but my FAVORITE re-read is Jane Eyre. Like you, I get something new *every* time I read it. <3

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    1. OMG I loooove re-reading Jane Eyre. I don't even know how many times I've read that book. A bajillion, I bet.

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  6. I have to be honest about this: I USED to be quite the re-reader but when I moved to the US in 2010, I sort of stopped doing that. Nowadays, it is very rare that I reread titles I've finished... but so far this year, I've managed to reread three. I'm slowly but surely starting to remember the value of reading a book I loved all over again - it's an amazing experience.

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    1. It is! I'm glad you're rediscovering the love. :)

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  7. I am a re-reader... for two of your reasons. Nostalgia. Everytime I reread Harry Potter, I revisit my younger years <3 And for hanging out with my favorite characters... specifically Hermione, lol.

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    1. Yes! So much nostalgia in hanging out with Hermione again, just like I used to do as a kid.

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  8. YEA! I've been aching to reread my favorite books. Once I get through my stack of books that is looming over me, I plan to reread every one of my "babies." So, yes, I basically agree with all your points. Nostalgia, old friends, familiar story that is for pure enjoyment and no reviews, and I love how you used "forest for the trees." Love it!

    Fantastic post, Gil :)

    Sunny @ Blue Sky Bookshelf

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    1. Yessss! I just need to get through this current stack, because I'm dying to get to the older books. They're calling out to me!

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  9. I LOVE rereading and I miss doing it. When I was younger, I was really picky about what books interested me, so I did a lot of rereading proven favorites.

    Unlike you, it's not usually a vacation for my mind, though, both because, like you point out, I'm constantly finding things I missed and because my memory sucks. I've been surprised by twists more than one. I reread The Thirteenth Tale last year, and there was SO MUCH I didn't remember. I mostly like it, though, because I can relive a book like it's the first time more than once. After two or three reads, I get to where I know books pretty well though.

    Also, ALL of these gifs are perfection, and from some of my favorite pop culture things. You are THE COOLEST.

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    1. I reread soooo much as a kid. But I'm the opposite: I have a RIDICULOUS memory for books and random trivia (memory for where I've put my keys or when bills are due, however... not even). You'd think that would hinder my enjoyment of re-reading, but it doesn't.

      *blushes at awesomesauce compliment* I TRY. I feel like we have very similar pop culture tastes, considering that I saw a recent post title of yours reference SHE'S THE MAN and I just about DIED.

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    2. I wish I could remember books. That would be awesome, but I try to look at the bright side. I feel like such a dope when someone wants to discuss a book I read more than two months before, though, because I have NO idea what's going on. They'll be like AND THAT ENDING, and I'm like "remind me what happened, again?", which makes me think they must suspect I'm lying about having read it.

      Yes, I love She's the Man. It's THE BEST.

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  10. I re-read. MAN do I ever re-read. I've thought about this myself a lot... I used to feel tremendous guilt for re-reading. THE-BOOKS-I-SHOULD-BE-READING-ARE-STARING-AT-ME type of guilt. But I've made peace with the need to re-read. For a lot of the same reasons you mentioned. I'll never get tired of escaping to a beloved and familiar world like Hogwarts, and I'll never be okay with closing those books forever and ever and ever. I have often re-read a book and discovered that it's actually NOT EVEN THE SAME BOOK as the one I remember reading - because I've changed so much in the intervening years. And yeah, the pretty leaves.
    I guess I've decided that I'm NEVER going to read ALL THE BOOKS, even if I give up sleeping, live in a library, and do nothing but read. So the odd vacation to re-visit an old friend... well, let's just call it down time.
    Now excuse me, all this J.K. Rowling talk about changing the Ron-Hermione relationship has made me miss Hogwarts again. *begins re-reading for the umteen-thousandth time*

    M from Backlist Books

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