Friday, September 30, 2011

To Re-Read or Not To Re-Read

When I was a kid, I re-read books all the time. I'd get to the last book in The Little House on the Prairie series or in the Anne of Green Gables series or the last story in a Stephen King short story/novella collection then go right back to the start. But, as I got older, I did that less often. I'm not sure why, exactly. Maybe because I had more access to libraries and bookstores, more money to purchase new books, more knowledge of upcoming titles that sounded intriguing?

Lately, though, I find myself turning back to old favorites (for a variety of reasons)...and loving every minute of it. Here are some of my recent re-reads (including the links to past posts if you want more of a review):

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell for The Heroine's Bookshelf's GWTW Read-Along. Still love it, probably love it even more now. It reminded me of how it feels to be caught up in a true saga.

Life as We Knew It and The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer. These are the first two in her YA Moon Book series and I re-read them because the third one had just come out and I wanted to experience them all in a row. (I'm geeky that way.)

Still Missing by Chevy Stevens. This was just as creepy the second time around, maybe even more so because I knew what was going to happen on the next page or in the next chapter and I was helpless to stop it. The reason I re-read this one was because I didn't enjoy her second novel as much as I had hoped. Don't get me wrong, it was good, but it didn't freak me out the way this one did, and I had wanted to go back and see if I had built the first one up in my head. Nope.   

Do you re-read books? Why or why not? Are there any books out there you keep meaning to go back to but haven't yet? (I want to go back to A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith and The Betsy-Tacy Books by Maud Hart Lovelace.) Any favorite re-reads you'd recommend?


  1. Oh, yes. My husband can't understand it at all. But you've read that one, he says.

    My all time favourite re-read is 'Brideshead re-visted' must have read that about ten times.

    oh, that I could write soomething so sublime.

    Congratulations on your Pillar of Fire award, Madeline.

  2. Every so often I will re-read LORD OF THE RINGS. I re-fuel on Austen, Bronte and Dickens each year. But the best books are the ones you want to re-read straight after finishing...the last book I read that I did this was CHIME by Franny Billingsley.
    Great post!

  3. Deborah - it's hard, isn't it, when you read something wonderful because on the one hand, you love it and want to write like that BUT on the other hand, you despair of EVER writing something someone else will want to read over again. Sigh.

  4. Sarah, I'm going to make a note of CHIME. I thought I saw a mention of it over on your blog the other day... :)

  5. Yup! I re-read in part or in whole. I often go back to a certain chapter to capture a feeling or find affirmation of something I am thinking about at the time.

    My all time favorite re-read is The Little Prince.


  6. Linda, I never thought about going back and just re-reading bits and pieces of a book. Good idea!

  7. Hi Madeline,
    "To Kill a Mockingbird" is one I've read more than once. And I loved "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" when I was growing up, oh, and "Red Shoes for Nancy" was another.
    I've never read "Still Missing," but it sounds like a good one.

  8. Hi, Donna. Another friend of A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN - yeh! :)

    STILL MISSING was great but a warning - it's on the darker side. The first time I read it, I found I could only read in batches, it creeped me out so much. And forget reading the first half in bed. Shudder.

  9. Mos def, and I've been meaning to re-read The Gunslinger, The Road, and The Princess Bride for a while now.

    And something entirely different: Congrats on reaching your Write1Sub1 goals this month. Onward and upward!

  10. Hey, Milo - I don't think I CAN re-read THE ROAD. Yikes!

    And congrats to you, too. :)

  11. I have a small stash of well-thumbed books but my all time favorite I stumbled on as I read through the books on my son's junior English reading list, just 3 years ago; Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

  12. Sally, I read that, too, and it was definitely a good one. :)

  13. I'm not one for re-reading entire books very often, but I take a TON of notes when I'm reading and I often go back to certain passages and re-read them. Both to study what I liked, to improve my own writing, and also because the little bits read like doses of flash fiction. Though, There is one book I've read over and over, it's not fiction but it is King: Danse Macabre. I discover something new that I love EVERY time I read it. Stopped by to say congrats on your W1S1 progress, but got lost in your most recent post, very interesting :)

  14. You know, I have DANSE MACABRE on my shelf right now, just waiting to be read. Thanks for the reminder! :)

  15. Hello fellow W1S1 monther. There are so many books I want to reread and loads more I want to read for the first time. I've been reading the Betsy-Tacy books to my kids. Good stuff. Congrats on your W1S1 progress.

  16. Hey, Jeff. Congrats to you, too. :)

    I can't for my niece (and nephew!) to get older so I can share some of my old favorites with them.