I haven’t been reading very many new books recently. I’ve just been way more interested in revisiting stories I’ve already read through. I’ve acquired new books (or as is more likely the case, second-hand books which I haven’t read before), and just not found much reason to delve into them.
I try and analyse why I feel this way. There’s a lot to be said for already knowing I enjoy a story. I guess as I feel like reading time is some pretty prime real estate in my daily life, I don’t always want to use that time on a book that I may not love at the end of it all. When I re-read a story, it’s because I remember just enough of it that I know I will feel great about it afterwards.
I’ve never been one of those people who remembers a book really thoroughly, and that serves me extra well when I take to re-reading. I know the general gist of the story, but there are still parts that I don’t remember until I’m reading it again. Even in my most favourite book, which has been given well over twenty read-throughs, still gives me entertainment from my poor memory for details.
Of the new books I have read, I’ve enjoyed all of them. They’ve all been awesome, so the investment was well worth it. I don’t know why I am so hesitant to give the other books a chance, since there have been very few books in my life that I have actively disliked.
I think part of it, too, is that I love to re-read stories and see what makes them work. Why do I like it, how does the writer do it, what makes this story successful? Re-reading gives me new perspectives on books, because the first read-through is almost entirely for my enjoyment of a story. I don’t tear them apart until I already know what happens. So maybe my desire to read old books stems more from a desire to learn about the craft, even when that isn’t my total conscious decision.
Whatever the case, it’s always nice to meet up with old friends in good stories, and enjoy their tale once more.
8 thoughts on “Re-reading”
I agree that spending time with an old friend over a new and possibly intriguing acquaintance is often where a writer’s heart leads her, possibly due to new insights revealed each time it is reread, but more so because it is a reliable love.
Exactly. You know what you’re getting into, so you can rely on it to be just what you wanted. 🙂
I have a tonne of new books I’ve been acquiring since around about a year ago and I too, just don’t care to delve into them. Traci Harding and Anne Bishop both have high re-read value 🙂
Maelgwn and Brockwell. Need I say more? 😉
Totally agree, Ashlee: rereading is where we study the craft of the books we already know are great. 🙂
And sometimes, the books we know really aren’t anything special but we’re suckers for anyway! They are sometimes the most important ones to study. 😀
Somebody on TV Tropes once griped that he didn’t understand why anyone would read/watch anything twice when they already knew what happened. Cue several screens of angry responses: Because we catch stuff we missed the first time, because we don’t all have photographic memory, because we pick up on more background detail, because we LIKED IT.
Every once in a while, internet communities make me very happy. 🙂
Watching Inception the second time was a completely different experience than the first time. They were equally awesome for two entirely different reasons. The first, it was all new and amazing. The second, I was able to catch all the special things included to make it a true masterpiece.
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