If you are a re-reader

(75 Posts)
Parisbanana Tue 03-Sep-13 19:16:14

Can u ask why? What makes you return to the same book over again, possibly several times? And what are those books?

Just interested as I will watch certain films repeatedly but have only ever reread one book. I do read avidly though not particularly quickly so think life is too short to reread.

1) Some books (eg a new Stephen King, when new Harry Potter books came out) I devour too quickly and greedily, so with those kinds of books I'll do a fast read for plot and then an immediate re-read to savour it a bit more.

2) Some books don't demand an immediate re-read (in fact King and HP are the only ones so far) but do need me to go back to them and read them more slowly later, to see if I missed anything and to think more about their construction.

3) Some books are so good that they have layers and layers of ideas and therefore need to be read many times (imho) for their full benefit, especially in the case of more 'literary' stuff.

4) Some books I re-read for comfort value, especially old childhood favourites and Jane Austen.. plus Bill Bryson.

5) I am very, very fussy about what I read/like. Sometimes I'd rather re-read something I know I like, than start/persevere with something that's inevitably (or almost certainly) not going to be as enjoyable. I get tired of wasting time on crap - and there is far too much crap published these days. Re-reading Austen is almost certainly going to be more rewarding than the latest Ian McEwan or Richard and Judy abomination, for example.

LondonInHighHeeledBoots Tue 03-Sep-13 20:12:14

Speed reader! if I read slow enough to read the while thing properly I can't read (dyslexic). Also as it is low stress if I an stressed at work. Re read all the Pratchetts a million times, Garth Nix, the Sherlock Holmes books, Jane Austen, Marian Keyes, and I love rereading childrens classics - Little Women, The Secret Garden. I reread everything

Comfort for me also. And when I get exasperated by too much choice in a book shop I may turn to something familiar.

Have re-read things like "A Suitable Boy" - Seth, "What I Loved" - Hustvedt, "Jane Eyre", "Crossing to Safety" - Stegner, "Cold Mountain" - Frazier.

Just sometimes I will re-start a book immediately on finishing it because I don't want to let it go quite yet.

JassyRadlett Tue 03-Sep-13 20:30:16

Some are comfort reads, some are because I find I get different things out of them at different times - Austen and Bronte are particularly true for this.

I also love rereading eg le Carré to pick up on the foreshadowing/writing skill of the plotting.

Parisbanana Tue 03-Sep-13 20:37:36

Thanks all for your replies. I never imagined so many people would read so many books so many times!
I totally get the comfort thing even though I don't do it (as I said before, as low reader) but likening it to listening over and over again to favourite music makes a lot of sense to me.

MiddleAgeMiddleEngland Tue 03-Sep-13 22:18:32

I agree with Remus. Some books are just so good that they HAVE to be read lots of times to really appreciate them. With me it's often the classics - all of Thomas Hardy, most of Dickens, all of George Eliot (how could anyone just read The Mill on the Floss or Middlemarch once?) most of the Brontes.

Some books are just so enjoyable that to re-read them is like going to a favourite place or eating favourite food. To Kill A Mockingbird is one, Hamsun's Growth of the Soil is another with me, but everyone will have different ones they go back to.

Some books will affect people differently if they read them at different ages or stages in their lives. I used to read The L-Shaped Room a lot when I was in bedsits, but felt very differently about it when I read it as an older person with the mortgage all paid. It's interesting to re-read books after many years just to see the differently they can make you feel.

I also agree with Remus's comment that there is far too much rubbish published now - a lot of it just seems to be a shameful waste of trees sad There is a lot of fantastic modern writing, though.

A friend is currently reading her favourite book for the 19th time, and still says she's getting something new from it.

CoteDAzur Wed 04-Sep-13 07:45:46

I re-read my favourites because discovering the plot is only one (small) part of the pleasure of reading a book.

JemimaPuddle Wed 04-Sep-13 07:50:04

I've only re read two books - 1984 and The Godfather as they are my favourites and I enjoy them every time I read them.

MrsHowardRoark Wed 04-Sep-13 07:59:30

I re-read my favourite books many times over, they are like old friends.
I've never really thought about it before but I guess it's a comfort thing, although the books I like tend to have rather depressing endings. I often read a book hoping that the ending will have changed.

Spoiler Alert!

I must have read The Secret History 6+ times and I always hope that Henry survives.
I love Brideshead Revisited and hope that he gets to be with Julia.
I pray that Kira makes it over the border in We the Living.

I also agree with posters up thread who said that books affect you differently at different stages of your life.

hackmum Wed 04-Sep-13 08:53:24

I used to re-read a lot. As a child I'd read my favourites - Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, the Malory Towers books - over and over again. Then as an adult I'd read certain "comfort" books repeatedly - mostly Margaret Drabble and David Lodge (especially Changing Places), and also Pride and Prejudice, which I've read about a dozen times. I'd read them because they just gave me lots of pleasure each time.

As I've got older, a weird thing has happened - I've stopped re-reading. I've become obsessed with the idea that there are all these books out there that I haven't read, and there isn't much time left. I read quite a lot of serious non-fiction stuff too as if to convince myself I'm not wasting my time. Which is weird, really, because normally as soon as I finish a book I forget what's in it.

MiddleAgeMiddleEngland Wed 04-Sep-13 10:29:20

Looking at my bookshelves this morning, and also at the lists of books I've read, I would say that about half the books I read are re-reads.

On the Black Hill, An Equal Music, The Bell and many others I've read at least twice. Children's classics such as What Katy Did, Anne of Green Gables, the Swallows and Amazons books, etc have been read numerous times, both in childhood and occasionally now.

Recently I've read The Grapes of Wrath and A House for Mr Biswas for the first time and will definately read them again.

I think there are two sorts of re-reads - one is comfort reading, going back to something you have enjoyed (like going back to a favourite holiday cottage, for example) and the other is re-reading to get more out it it - more understanding of the plot, the characters, the language used, the construction, etc.

ZaraW Wed 04-Sep-13 12:22:52

The Quiet American love the book and the film
D H Lawrence any of his books
The Great Gatsby
Great Expectations
Cairo Trilogy

They are such great books they deserve re-reading.

Balaboosta Fri 06-Sep-13 23:22:44

I re-read and have no idea why except that I like it!
Fave re-reads are The Little House on the Prairie books. Also two books by Rosamund Lehmann - the Weather in the street and Invitation To a Waltz. and The Beach. Had it by the bog for a while and dipped into it obsessively.
And I agree that Brideshead is a great re-read! One of my all time favourites.

PipkinsPal Fri 06-Sep-13 23:29:36

I've got the full set of DCI Banks by Peter Robinson. I have re-read them about 3 times. By the time I've finished the last book, I can't remember the plot in the first one. So I leave it about a year and start from the top again.

valiumredhead Sat 07-Sep-13 00:00:36

Oh The Beach it's another I re read, read it about 5x, such a good book .

stargirl1701 Sat 07-Sep-13 00:03:24

I re-read according to my mood. I have old favourites that match my emotions.

Flumpyflumps Sat 07-Sep-13 00:04:44

I always re read! I find that first time I'm so excited about new book I skim then re read to get another angle on the whole book?!
Than re read a third time and there's always something I've missed.
Love re reading.

ShadowSummer Sat 07-Sep-13 00:23:05

I re-read books for a number of reasons.

Comfort reading's a big one - if I'm stressed, tired, whatever, then I like re-reading old favourites, such as Georgette Heyer, Terry Pratchett.

Or re-reading because it's been a few years since I read a book originally and I want to refresh my memory of it. I'm re-reading Les Miserables at the moment after seeing the film of the musical as a sort of comparison - obviously there's a lot of detail in the book that couldn't possibly be fitted into any film.

stemstitch Sat 07-Sep-13 00:36:12

I have read 'Rivals' by Jilly Cooper so many times. It's definitely her best, I think.

Also Harry Potter.

Also Sophie Kinsella Shopaholic books.

Danny Champion of the World.

The Autobiography of Henry VIII by Margaret George.

So, not the most highbrow of works, but I do love them. However, weirdly, The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst I have read so many times that I know whole sections off by heart. Weird because it's v literary, Booker winner etc. So it doesn't fit my pattern!

VerySmallSqueak Sat 07-Sep-13 00:40:17

I go into the world of the book when I read,and I like to revisit that world - for a bit of the thrill or excitement. I know how it turns out,granted,but I like to just hang out there again and take in the atmosphere.

Some books also inspire,and when I think I am lacking a certain something there is a book somewhere that will give me that.

Clary Sat 07-Sep-13 00:55:54

I am a shocking re-reader. All my bookclub members castigate me for it.

I do read new books but sometimes I want the comfort of a book I know and love. Or sometimes I have nothing new to read so return to an old fave. Or sometimes I just want to read the book again.

I re-read Lord Peter Wimsey, Jane Austen, Great Gatsby, Mrs Miniver, What Katy Did, Sherlock Holmes, Kate Atkinson, The Secret Hisory, Nigella cookery books, Narnia, Agatha Christie. Some of these I have read too many times now sad

I see that lots of other people have said these books!

I will never read Middlemarch again tho. I was so relieved when I finished it (not my choice - blardy book club grin)

joanofarchitrave Sat 07-Sep-13 01:08:29

I re-read most of the time. I need words in front of me as close to 100% of the time as possible, and sometimes I need the guaranteed comfort of an 'old friend' IYSWIM. Jane Austen, Cecil Woodham-Smith, Georgette Heyer and Nancy Mitford all fit into that category. I have found though in the past decade or so that I have worn Nancy Mitford out - I could almost recite them I know them so well. I hope I will enjoy them again in old age.

I read so fast tbh that I barely remember anything, so a re read is necessary to get more goodness out. Like a rabbit chewing its own droppings...

highlandcoo Sat 07-Sep-13 07:20:42

As I've got older, a weird thing has happened - I've stopped re-reading. I've become obsessed with the idea that there are all these books out there that I haven't read, and there isn't much time left.

hackmum me too! As far as the realisation that time is running out,anyway. This is a very recent thing for me. I've worked out that even at 100 books a year, that possibly only means 3,000 left to go sad

Has made me much less inclined to waste my time on books I think I'm not going to like, but unlike you I am planning to reread books I remember thoroughly enjoying years ago, but can't recall much about in detail. Like The Age of Innocence, Middlemarch, Sacred Hunger, The Old Wives' Tale and loads more.

What age do you reckon this awful realisation dawns?

FreyaKItty Sat 07-Sep-13 20:17:53

I love re-reading books. Jane Austen (p&p, s&s and persuasion) are always by my bed. To kill a mockingbird is another favourite. As I teenager I used to get teary when the doctor didn't tell Rhett that scarlet was asking for him (and stopped reading past it). I used to read the godfather regularly too when I was younger (helped by a cruch on al Pacino). I love snobs and a biography of the Mitfords by Mary Lovell and sex in the city. I'd say I have favourite bits and often go staight to them for a comfort fix, while other times I'd re-read the entire book, although with two young dd's I've less time for full re-reads. I've bought a lovely collection of new books but sometimes after a long day, I'm keener on something that doesn't need much concentration to engage.

Takver Sun 08-Sep-13 09:37:19

Definitely re-read here multiple times. Some books for an easy read, like dropping in to an old friend (Diary of a Provincial Lady, Georgette Heyer, Austen).

Others because something external makes me think of the book & I want to go back to it - so eg re-reading Mary Barton after reading about factory conditions in China, or Road to Wigan Pier with all this Jamie stuff about food & poverty.

Others because they just take more than one read to get clear in my head - particularly a lot of non-fiction - in this case I might not reread the whole book, but just some sections.

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