Weekend Assignment # 343: Read It Again
Some people like to read a book once, and then they’re done. The plot is resolved and they know whodunnit, so it’s time to move on to the next book. Other people reread a favorite book every few years, and still others keep it on their shelves in case they may want to read it again someday. Are you a frequent re-reader, an occasional one, or are you “one and done”? How do you decide what to reread, and when?
Extra Credit: What was the book you reread?
I’ve done more re-reading this year than I have in quite some time – five books, as opposed to zero.
I was a frequent re-reader for much of my life – up into my early thirties, actually. As a kid I re-read my favorites often; as I got older, I didn’t do as much of it, but there were still a few books I took back off the shelves every few years. Some had become literary comfort food, while I was hoping to find something new in revisiting others.
I’m not entirely sure when it changed. At some point, I think my irrational apprehension about running out of things to read morphed into “so many books, so little time” – the TBR collection grew (and grew, and grew…) with all the books I didn’t want to miss, and exploring the new just became more important to me than returning to the old and familiar. Now, I’m not so afraid of running out of reading material; it’s become a fear of running out of time to read them all! These days, once I do read them, most of my books are given away or donated somewhere, but I do keep a few. The keepers are the books that affect me strongly enough that upon finishing them, I’m pretty confident I’ll want to read them again…some day. I have no idea when that day will come, but some day…well, it might. But most of the time I feel that it’s better to spend my already-insufficient reading time on the never-read books rather than pick up a once-or-twice-read one.
However, as I said, my thinking on that has shifted again this year. I’ve re-read five books (all originally read pre-blog): Mary Doria Russell’s The Sparrow and Children of God for the Read-alongs I co-hosted, A Wrinkle in Time (Madeleine L’Engle) and Forever… (Judy Blume) for Banned Books Week, and Carney’s House Party by Maud Hart Lovelace. I originally read the first two five years ago and kept them, fully intending to read them again. It had been years since I read the second two, but I had been thinking about it ever since reading Lizzie Skurnick’s Shelf Discovery: The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading last year, in which they were both featured; Banned Books Week struck me as a particularly appropriate time to undertake it. The last re-read was a reissue in one of my favorite childhood series, which I received for a review feature from the publisher. I’m very glad I went back to all of them, and it’s made me think that I want to make more room for re-reads in my reading plans.
I’m not sure what I’ll re-read next, or when I’ll do it, but I do want to be a more frequent re-reader than I have been. So many books, so little time…