What books would you reread?

siobhan_1August 22, 2014

I am enjoying Another Shore by Nancy Bond that was brought to my attention by Rosefolly. She had read it years before, couldn't remember the title, and wanted to purchase it in case she wants to reread it. (Hope I got this right. Please correct me if not.)

I often think back on books I have read. Although realistically I will never reread all the ones I would like to revisit, it is pleasant to think about them! What books do you think about? Will you ever reread them? Or do you just find it nice to think about them?

I have The Far Pavilions on my bookshelf. I like to look at it (that's why I keep it) and I often think of it, but I am pretty sure I will never actually read it again.

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I re watch and re read all the time. This is the third time I have watched the Harry Potter Movies. I have read the Outlander series so many time the books are coming apart. With my memory it's a new book every time. LOL Just kidding, but I do enjoy them every time, I laugh again and cry again. We listen to the same music over and over because it brings us pleasure...why not books.

When I started my library, I bought the hard back books that I really liked and finished up the library with like new dollar books from the Goodwill.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 2:31PM
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I'm not really a re-reader, but every now and then, I'll dig an older title up. Recent examples that come to mind are "Ethan Frome" and "The Great Gatsby"... Oh, and a reread of "Plain and Simple" by Sue Bender. The first two classic titles were even better the second (or third) time around. That last title - not so much.

I find a reread of a book that I loved the first time around a bit of a gamble, and tend to leave them alone after that first read. I don't really want to ruin my memory of a good read and some titles just don't seem to age well. (Or maybe I'm the one who doesn't age well?...)

I know tons of people do reread their fav books and watch their favorite movies. I think I am mostly in the "let's try something new" camp most of the time, but it's not a judgment. I just think there are so many new things to experience out there that I'd like to try as many as I can.


    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 2:38PM
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I have been thinking about a major culling of my library. I can be pretty ruthless letting go of books I have read and not enjoyed. It may be a challenge to be realistic about the "one of these days" titles.

But I think the hardest choices will be books I have already read and enjoyed. If I am honest, only rarely do I reread a book. There is nothing quite so disappointing as revisiting a former favorite, and finding it wanting. But, as Siobhan has already pointed out, sometimes it is nice to just hang on to these books for the memories.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 4:50PM
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I have an entire bookcase of "keeper" books that I imagine I may re-read someday. I do re-read quite a bit, and some of the books I just loved so much that I want to keep them even if I never read them again.

I like to read Anne Fadiman's Ex-Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader every few years, her essays are always a pleasure.

I have read and re-read all the Barbara Pym books. She's my go-to when I just can't settle down and read -- reader's block, I guess, like writer's block. Georgette Heyer falls into this category, too, but I've winnowed her books down to four or five favorites and let the rest go.

I have a few favorite Nora Roberts' books that I occasionally re-read. At one point I owned a copy of every book she'd ever written (oh, my long-suffering husband ...) but I finally did come to my senses and gave them all away.

I had a great time a couple of years ago re-reading Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom, books I loved as a tween. They were very preachy, but still fun to revisit.

I will most often re-read when there are books in a series and years go by between them. My brain has become a sieve of late, so I need to re-read to refresh my memory. I just got the third book in the Magicians trilogy by Lev Grossman and I will definitely have to re-read the first two before starting the third.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 7:11PM
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I have reread many of my books over the years and will continue to do so, but authors I like keep writing new ones so I'm busy trying to keep up, too.

I do have a lot that I will never read again, but I just love shelves full of books and don't want to get rid of any of them. I recently saw a magazine picture of a redone home library, and the decorator said not to ever just line books up in a row on shelves. One should lay some of them down, group by color, and add in decorative items. Bah, humbug!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 8:19PM
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I am a skip reader, so I reread books a lot because I often find something new that I missed before. I mostly reread at night and like to go to a familiar passage as this will settle me and enable me to drop off easily. This is a habit I have had since I was a child.
New books are a day time thing and are usually a library book so I don't have to find room for them on my already stretched book shelves. I should cull them but it would be like getting rid of old friends!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 9:13PM
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Okay.......I'm going to come out of the closet here and admit openly that I for one do not reread any book ....even if it is a favorite.
The surprise and mystery of a new story is what keeps me involved.
If I know how the tale develops and know how it will end it holds no appeal at all.
I prefer the freshness of a new story.
There are too many books out there to use my time rereading one.

Don't stone me !! :0))

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 7:32AM
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I am like Carolyn: a big re-reader of old faves, but always on the lookout for something new and fresh.

I have a large book collection and it is hard for me to cull. I like the way some of the older books look on my many bookshelves and bookcases. I did get rid of a lot of "coffee table" books when I moved.
Some keepers I will forever re-read:

The Go-Between
Little Women
Too Late the Phalarope
The Lost Domain (Le Grand Meaulnes)
The Sheltering Sky
The Historian
How the Irish Saved Civilization
Til We Have Faces
My Cousin Rachel
anything else by D. Du Maurier

I would also like to re-read "Angle of Repose" which we discussed here.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 11:57AM
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yoyo, I'll have to join you in the stoning pit as I almost never re-read books. Too little time to/for myself and way too many books waiting to be read.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 1:56PM
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Veer.......we shall gird our loin(s) and defend ourselves with our burgeoning piles of TBR's !!

The rare times when I've accidentally begun to read a book already read, I am so disgusted with having wasted even that small bit of time that I generally ignore myself for the rest of the hour as punishment.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 5:47PM
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Yoyobon, "I generally ignore myself for the rest of the hour as punishment" is very funny. I love it.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 2:52PM
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Well, this is a book forum and not a film forum, but I have to say that when it comes to movies, all bets are off - if I like a film, I watch it over and over...and over and over. I'll watch it 10 times. Enough times to have it memorized!

Of course, it only takes 2 hours or so to watch a film, and much longer than that to read even a short book.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 8:08PM
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I also like to watch films that I have enjoyed again and again (GWTW since the 1940's) but I must admit that I have been disappointed in watching some films on TV that I loved many years ago and now find dated.
I didn't have a TV when I lived in the UK before 1960, excepting at the weekends, so I used to go to the local cinemas around three times a week, mostly for musicals and comedies.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 9:15PM
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I have a number of books I plan to reread when I'm in the mood, and also books I reread periodically. They come from various genres, mostly travelogues, mysteries, classics, fantasies and romances, plus history, memoirs, folktales, science and a handful of recent literary novels.

Gerald Durrell is my most reread author, but the books I have reread the most often are probably The Hobbit and Anne of Green Gables, both childhood favourites that I revisit every few years.

I also have favourte audio books I like to relisten to, especially The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Harry Potter books that I return to every year. I even went so far as to give up my physical copies of the latter (but I have just realised I own three copies of LOTR). I am about halfway through listening to The Return of the King and will start the third Harry Potter when that's finished.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 5:49PM
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I unashamedly admit that I re-read all the time. I have favorite books that I can go back to over and over again; it's like visiting old friends and sharing childhood stories with my siblings.

My re-read list includes: LoTR, The Hobbit, most of Georgette Heyer's books, Zenna Henderson's People series, The Amelia Peabody series, the Brother Cadfael series, Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton Porter and Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster. There are many more but these are the ones that came to me off the top of my head.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 1:54PM
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it's like visiting old friends and sharing childhood stories with my siblings.Rouan, you have perfectly encapsulated the pleasure of rereading, I think, in my case as well.

I've read To Kill a Mockingbird at least once a year since I was in the fifth grade in 1960-1961, so it is my #1 reread.

I'll never tire of rereading these other childhood favorites:

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare
The Mistletoe and the Sword by Anya Seton
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
Witch's Silver by Dorothy Gilman Butters

I could make a list longer than my arm of books I've reread since I was a teenager. I will admit that I almost prefer rereading to first-time reading. The first time always makes me a bit apprehensive that the book will not turn out the way I want. That's usually not a problem with a reread! I have occasionally reread something after a long, long interval and wondered what I saw in it when I first read it, but my disappointments make a relatively short list.

Now I'm off to reread Michael Grant's The Ancient Mediterranean which I've only read umpteen times.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 3:21PM
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I am a frequent re-reader, and sometimes a re-re-reader. I love to visit old friends again. A second reading is often a very different experience from the first reading. True, sometimes it is not as good; but in some cases, I have actually found it to be an even better experience. Very likely this is because I am apt to read first time for plot and emotion, and later for language and technique.


    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 4:13PM
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The book I always have on my shelf, the most dog-eared, wrinkled-spined book,with pages browned with age that I revisit every few years is "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" by Robert M Pirsig. The book is not about Zen, or motorcycling, but always asks me questions about what I consider quality to be and changed my perspective quite drastically some 40 years ago when I first came across it.
My school friends, even further back, thought I was a masochist when I said I had enjoyed Tolstoy's "War and Peace" and then re-read it. Clearing my loft recently I came across a hardback collection of 3 books, Volumes 1 to 3 of the book again and am going to revisit it, invoking memories of my schooldays and literature classes. I only hope I am not disappointed.
I wish I had kept a note of all the books I have read over the decades as I find myself starting books I had read in the past, most of them not worth revisiting. Alas,the memory is not as good as it used to be.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 4:13PM
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Rosefolly, I agree with you: a second reading is, or can be, quite different from the first. I tend to focus more on plot and characters the first time I read a book and on style and narrative structure when I reread, especially when I come across a book that sucks me in.

There are certain books I have read several times and I keep discovering something new in them every time. Terry Pratchett, for example, puts so many references to various subjects (ranging from pop culture to quantum mechanics) into his novels that I generally discover something new every time I reread one.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 5:50PM
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Oh yes! If I have found particular enjoyment from a book I will often revisit it about five years + later when details might have grown fuzzy. This is particularly true if I found the book to be character driven, which really does make a book for me.
I recently finished Amy Tan' Valley Of Amazement and was surprisingly very disappointed in the book.I don't know if my mood was not quite right for the book or what - I was anxious to complete it much like I would be a not-so-great movie which might have such a good ending that the movie is redeemed in my eyes. Amy Tan creates very enjoyable reads, so I'm tending to find the fault in myself rather than her story. Unless I hear many people talk about how wonderful it was to them and I decide to give it a second chance again someday, I won't re-read it.

When bored, I will look over my bookshelves to see what looks good. About eight years ago I found the backbone to ruthlessly cull the many boxes of books I had stored away as well as the five ceiling to floor, four feet wide bookshelves of books just stuffed with them. I culled heartlessly. Twice because I wasn't quite heartless enough the first time because I still had too many. I quit when the only books remaining were the children's books ( some pre-dating WW1 which I've been collecting for decades) as well as those especially loved or those I was positive I would re-read, and still I easily have 100 books on my bookshelves. I put the rejects in cardboard boxes lining the sidewalk with a big sign saying, "Free books to a good home" and by nightfall the last were finally gone.
The process was difficult but I felt terrific when the job was complete. I still had a bunch of wonderful books I knew I would re-read with true relish and it was fun to use the leftover books as well as framed family photos, art, "this and that" to decorate the shelves along with the books, it gave the rooms a wonderful updated and fresh look.
Now I'm very careful not to keep books I know I won't read again. For one thing, my e- reader has provided me a great storage space and I forced myself to learn to enjoy reading from it - though it can't replicate holding, smelling, feeling a hardbound or even a paperback, for that matter. But it keeps me from stuffing my bookshelves with books I won't read again. The books on my cases are great reads, I know I love them.

After Amy Tan's disappointment, I went to my shelf and pulled out "Memoirs Of A Geisha" to read for a second time.
Reading a great book again often provides me greater insight to the characters and I'm able to pay more careful attention to the small, interesting details which are not so important to the storyline but which transform a good read to a terrific read for me.I also often will pick up on points I might have somehow missed the first time. To me it is rather like re- visiting a comfortable old friend.

When I polish off "Geisha" I'm even giving thought to a re- reading...

    Bookmark   August 28, 2014 at 11:49PM
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I don't think there is a moral position to be taken either in favor of or against re-reading. It is just a personal style. Certainly a good argument can be made for both positions.

Now as for culling books -- I am by training a librarian and consider myself to be ruthless. I go through my books regularly to keep the number down to about two thousand. I'm not counting my husband's books and he is also a reader. We have built in bookcases in four rooms and smaller free standing bookcase elsewhere in the house. If I were forced to get the number down to a hundred, I honestly think I would suffer a serious breakdown. I garden and sew and knit and travel and hike, but reading is the absolute core of my life.


    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 12:49AM
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Culling - that dreaded word. Optimally, I would like to keep every book I bring home, but I might have as many as 10 thousand volumes if that was the case, which does not work in a smallish apartment, even if it does have a spare bedroom. So I ruthlessly evaluate every book I read and in nine cases out of ten it goes in the charity shop box for someone else to buy and enjoy.

Every now and then I find the gumption to do some culling, but generally only a few books at a time. I might decide to cull 10 books, or 20, but rarely more than that at a time. Still, I finally have my book-buying more or less under control and they are leaving my apartment faster than they are arriving.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 3:23AM
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Glitter Somerset

I love to re-read the Queen Lucia books by E.F. Benson.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2014 at 11:01AM
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Amy, have you read any of the follow up books to this series by other authors? Tom Holt and Guy Fraser-Sampson have both done a good job, I think.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2014 at 9:33AM
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Glitter Somerset

Annpan, I have not read the follow up books but I really want to. Thanks for the suggestion.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2014 at 4:58PM
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I prefer to watch fantasy movies like LOR and Harry Potter rather than read them. It is hard for me to get into fantasy books, but not the movies. I did not like LOR the first go round, but it nagged me to buy the third one and I have watched them several times.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2014 at 3:22PM
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I'm a compulsive re-reader.

If I want to read, but I don't want the effort of reading something new, I'll go back to old favourites or guilty pleasures. Old favourites include The Wind in the Willows, Pride and Prejudice, A Christmas Carol, Animal Farm, Coming up for Air, anything by Raymond Chandler, Ishiguro, Cloud Atlas etc etc; guilty pleasures are Dick Francis, Ed McBain, Ian Fleming, Robert B Parker and so on.

And some books cannot be appreciated on a single reading. For example, Cloud Atlas is a book which has to be re-read at least once to get the full pleasure of it - to join together the various strands and see the connections.

To me, literature is like music. I wouldn't want to live in a world where you could only listen to a Beethoven Symphony once - or a Beatles song only once. And I wouldn't want to live in a world where I would never again settle down and read "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen." Or "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again". Or "My name is Kathy H." Or "It is a truth universally acknowledged..."

This post was edited by martin_z on Fri, Oct 31, 14 at 10:52

    Bookmark   October 31, 2014 at 8:11AM
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Martin, yes! You have nailed it perfectly!

    Bookmark   October 31, 2014 at 4:14PM
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