There was a time when I did almost as much rereading as I did first-time reading. I loved revisiting my most beloved books. Rereading certain books was almost a ritual for me. For example, These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder was a must-read when I felt sick or just down. There was a period several years ago when that book lived by my bed. It was a comfort.
Somewhere along the way, even before I began blogging, I fell out of the rereading habit. I think it started with the realization that I had missed out on so many fine new discoveries when I was reading Tess of the D’Urbervilles or Gaudy Night for the umpteen-zillionth time. Today, my shelves are filled with books I’ve never read, and I feel I must read them to justify acquiring them, but those dear old friends that I’ve loved for years remain untouched.
A few years ago, I discovered audiobooks and started “rereading” with my ears. I love listening to audio of books I’ve already read, but it’s not the same as reading them in print. It’s nice, but not the same.
But how to make time for rereading? Recently, I’ve started taking old favorites to work to read over lunch. This seems to solve three problems. (1) It gives me a set block of time for rereading; (2) I’m not in danger of leaving my current read at the office (which I did with Armadale before the read-a-thon); and (3) The noise in the lunchroom doesn’t distract me from understanding what I’m reading because I’m already familiar with the story. (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve picked up books in the evening that I read parts of during lunch, only to realize that I didn’t understand a word I read.) So far, it’s working pretty well. I’m almost done with Northanger Abbey and plan to start The Mill on the Floss this week. I’m not sure how it would work for something really long complex, like Bleak House or Jude the Obscure.
I’ve also got a couple of rereading projects in the works that I’m very excited about. A few weeks ago, I was chatting on Twitter with Eva of A Striped Armchair and Maree of Just Add Books about how we were longing to reread The Lord of the Rings. I first read those books when I was 14 and then revisited them at least once every five years. It’s now been at least seven years since I read them, and I miss my friends from Middle Earth. So we decided to reread the series together this January. Raych of Books I Done Read saw us chatting about it a few days ago and decided to join us. We’d love for others to come along! (First-time readers would be welcome.)
Maree and I may follow that up with a reread/first-read of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. The Dark Tower series, for those who aren’t familiar with it, is an epic fantasy series comprising seven novels; it has some elements of horror, but it’s not the kind of thing people think of when they think of Stephen King, even though his fans will recognize bits and pieces of most of his books within it. I’ve read all seven books, and Maree has read up through book 3. (I’m astonished that someone could stop at the end of book three; that book ended with a cliff-hanger that is rivaled only by the end of The Two Towers. I couldn’t sleep properly until I got my hands on the next book. Because … Blaine the Mono!! And riddles!!! And Frodo’s in the hands of the Orcs!! Sooo stressful! But I digress…. calming down now.)
So, do you do much rereading? How do you fit it in? Are there any books you reread regularly or books that you have been hankering to revisit?
Notes from a Reading Life
- How to Buy a Love of Reading by Tanya Egan Gibson
- The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (audio)
- Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (reread)
- The Regency by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
- The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne (audio)
- The Ode Less Traveled by Stephen Fry.Working through this very slowly.
- The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan
- Ghost Hunters by Deborah Blum (audio)
- The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot (reread)
- The Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton. For the January Classics Circuit tour.
Books to Remember
- A Time to Keep Silence by Patrick Leigh Fermor. Reviewed at Tales from a Reading Room.
- Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown. Reviewed at At Home with Books.
- In Bed with the Word: Reading, Spirituality, and Cultural Politics by Daniel Coleman. Reviewed at The Indextrious Reader.
- Broken by Karen Fossum. Reviewed at The Indextrious Reader.
- Under the Dome by Stephen King. Reviewed in the Washington Post.