If you are a re-reader(75 Posts)
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.
Books I re read are Rebecca and other DDM books the poison wood Bible, Maeve Binchy books-I find them comforting
I speed read, so can miss things first time round. It's mainly a comfort thing, going back to characters who I love, or books I've read as a child. Some books I've read at least 10 times!
Rebecca is one of my comfort reads :-) it took me a few reads to realise you never find out the narrators name. It made me really sad.
Used to re-read much more when I was young. Still re-read some of those old familiar friends like The Thornbirds, The Red Tent, Riders. Not literary giants but like a warm old blanket when my brain does not need a challenge.
Some books which I have absolutely LOVED, I have no desire to read again as they will not have the same gasping impact as the first time around.
I read really quickly, so I miss stuff. I like to go back and re read things because I always get a different perspective on it later on
Comfort food thing.
If I'm feeling a bit low, I'll reach for Bridget Jones or Marian Keyes.
Or I'll work my way through Harry Potter or Patricia Cornwell.
I agree with cq, some were amazing and will stay with me forever, but take too much out of me emotionally to want to do it again. (Angela's Ashes (even though apparently he made half of it up!) We Need to Talk about Kevin (the marmite book!) etc.
Discworld. I have re-read about 10 times. And the Narnia books about 30 times. Also Robin Hobb, Trudi Canavan, Robert Rankin.
I read to relax. I don't have as much free time as I'd like. I don't want anything taxing and I do want something I know I'll enjoy. So re-reading is a good option.
I reread sometimes. William Golding stands out to me as an author who rewards rereading. His prose is just so rich, and sort of dense with meaning, if that makes sense?
I am a total re-reader. I have certain books I return to over and over again, such as:
P&P (well, pretty much all JA)
I Capture the Castle (I've been known to finish this and turn back to page 1, I love it so much)
Cold Comfort Farm
Various Aga sagas/chick lit (Judy Astley, Lisa Jewell, Kathleen Rowntree, etc)
However, there are other books I have loved but would never read again: The Bell Jar, The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Trumpet Major. So I think for me it comes down to books that are beautifully written with an interesting story and a happy ending, but basically emotionally unchallenging.
're read Angela's ashes by Frank McCourt over and over to savour its misery, brilliance, descriptive words, shocking parts that make me gasp despite knowing what's coming.
I'm 're reading Bill Bryson for the 20th time for the laugh out loud aspects.
Familiar, fantastic books.
Oh that's another one I re read, the bell jar, so beautifully written.
It's like listening to the same song over and over again, sometimes a book has something clever or novel that gets me thinking (sometimes in different ways every time I re-read it), sometimes the characters feel like friends I'm revisiting, sometimes I can loose myself in the drama again.
There are a lot of books I re-read but the ones that spring to mind immediately are:
Woman in the Mists - Farley Mowat
Such a Strange Lady - Janet Hitchman
A Civil Contract - Georgette Heyer
Gaudy Night - Dorothy L Sayers (currently being re-read)
Last Chance to See - Douglas Adams
Night Watch - Terry Pratchett
Flying Dutch - Tom Holt
A Maidens Grave - Jeffrey Deaver
Fox Evil - Minette Walters
Nothing hugely deep and meaningful.
I'm a fast reader and usually have two or three books on the go at any one time, one new one and a couple of re-reads.
Oh yes, Bill Bryson- another comfort food reread. So funny.
Another speed reader who misses stuff. But also I re-read some books because I want to revisit the plot or because I love the characters or because I want to feel a certain way or because I love the language. Also with some books it is a different experience reading at a different age.
My most re-read books are The Secret History, Gaudy Nights, Busman's Honeymoon and The Dark is Rising.
I re-read books constantly, but with a couple of exceptions (Rocky Horror Picture Show & Lucky Number Slevin) I will never re-watch a film.
I read 1984 at least once at every two months. The Five People you Meet in Heaven, Ballet Shoes, any Harry Potter book, The Hobbit, Wheel of Time series any Jaspar Fforde book and strangely a book my International Criminal lecturer recommended; Nuremberg, Evil on Trial.
I've never thought about why I re read books, but in reading other posts, I agree there is something strangely comforting about it. It's like reading a hug. For me, it makes me feel safe. & I do realise how insane that makes me sound!
Its comforting and low on intellectual challenge. Usually I read about 3 new books for every old favourite. Atm I'm finishing a post grad degree and haven't touched a new book (except academic types) in months. I take an old favourite into the bath so I will stop fretting about my dissertation and relax knowing what will happen and who the characters are.
Tamora pierce is my favourite author for re-reads.
It helps that I read fast though: I will finish a standard paperback in the bath and a film would take more of my time.
I read quickly - I hope I don't miss anything, but a re-read sometimes brings something 'new'.
Or re-reading something I last read years ago to reacquaint myself with the book.
I too read fast and can miss out on things...sometimes after a long enough gap it can feel like reading a whole new book again.
I keep books I like too, I find a full large bookshelf only improves a room so I like to justify having all my favourites still!
Sometimes I get a little jealous of the familiarity some people have with books ( I think I read too many to always remember them) especially classics. I then feel like a dunce and reread to boost my literary credentials !
But mostly I keep and reread my favourite stories because I love them.
All the ones I keep. I must have read Gone With The Wind about seventy squillion times. It's a comfort thing.
I have re-read many books (sometimes accidentally cos I'm thick) but in order of most re-read:
Pride and Prejudice
Lord of the Rings
Eclectic or what?
As everyone else has said, it's a comfort thing. I've re-read most Discworld novels 50+ times. I first picked one up when I was at sixth form 20 years ago, and I re-read one almost every week. My most favourites I've probably read 100+ times.
Rebecca is one of mine too, I just loe getting stuck into it.
Three Men In A Boat is my cheer-me-up read. Any Harry Potter if I'm ill.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
I re-read my favourites because discovering the plot is only one (small) part of the pleasure of reading a book.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Quiet American love the book and the film
D H Lawrence any of his books
The Great Gatsby
They are such great books they deserve re-reading.
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.
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.
Oh The Beach it's another I re read, read it about 5x, such a good book .
I re-read according to my mood. I have old favourites that match my emotions.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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 )
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...
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
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?
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.
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.
hackmum and highland I feel like that and I'm 33. But still can't stop rereading. I love it so much, although I love a really good new book too. Maybe will make a rule, only allowed one reread for every 5 new books
I am normally a re-reader for the reasons already mentioned (comforting, easy, relaxing). Especially Jane Austen, Nancy Mitford, Bill Bryson, Joanna Trollope, Penelope Lively, I Capture the Castle, The L Shaped Room.
However, this year I am doing the 50 book challenge (see thread in this section!) and I'm not including any re-reads as that would feel a bit like cheating. I must admit, it has been interesting forcing myself to read new different books. I guess re-reading too much can make you a bit lazy!
I'm an avid reader (about 3 books a week all my adult life) and I've only ever reread a book once. We need to talk about Kevin. I just had to read that again.
I would feel like it was a waste if I reread books rather than reading new ones. A bit like going to the same place each year on holiday (like my ILs!) Why would you, just why with the whole world to explore? I'm the same with TV and film, never really watch the same thing twice.
To be honest I didn't even know rereading was a 'thing' till I joined MN. I didn't know anyone did that. I don't know anyone who does it.
MN always an education
"Why would you, just why with the whole world to explore? "
Because you may get more out of a book the second time you read it? I would say that I take very different things away from, just for example, Mrs Gaskell's novels reading them at 43 compared to 18.
Because if you really enjoy something why wouldn't you want to experience it again?? I wouldn't go to the same place on holiday every single year just as I don't just reread one book over and over but I would go somewhere more than once if I liked it eg have been to London a few times and Edinburgh twice and have done different things each time.
And I watch films and tv shows multiple times too
Katherine by Anya Seaton
The Winthrop Women By Anya Seaton
My memory works in a strange way. It's easier to remember what I was doing the first time I read a book rather than the exact plot. I read a lot of series books and particularly when I'm waiting for the author to write the next one I'll re-read some of the others to remember where I first met a character, how they got where they are. Others have special moments which with an rebook are easy to search for and having re-experienced that moment I often get the urge to start again from the beginning.
I re-read most of my books. Those I don't reread end up in the charity shop.
i re-read a lot. For a sense of comfort, to achieve a very particular sense of place and time, to get more from a book, and to enjoy the beautiful words of the best writers just washing around me.
I sort of assumed everyone did - why would you hang on to books you've read if not to re-read them?
I re read most of my books, but my favourite rereads are The Godfather, Mist over Pendle, nearly any Agatha Christie or Georgette Heyer. Miss Read books are great for reading in bed at night, nothing too taxing, and if I'm really down the chapter "Christmas Boxes" in What Katie did at School" cheers me up.
I go on holiday to the same place every year too
tbh we can't really splash out on anywhere exotic, so we are limited to the UK, and we have tried other places in this country and after about a day we are all saying "hmm, but it's not as nice as xxxx, is it?"
I watch films again and again too. I've seen Casablanca at least a dozen times.
This doesn't make me Eeyore btw; I am very open to change and in fact 3 years ago totally changed career in a way that meant taking a very big risk/step into the unknown. I am not dull, honest!!
Greydog I love Christmas boxes in that book, where they find Debbie's jumbles and all the things everyone has made for them!
Rebecca is on of mine too.
It is a comfort thing. Georgette Heyer is definitely one. Jane Austin, especially Pride and Prejudice, and Jane Eyre.
A comfort thing and if I'm having a bit of trouble concentrating on a book re reads are easier as I don't need to concentrate as much.
Clary to this day I've wanted to try one of Debbies jumbles! I ought to look for the recipe!
and this could be it! bakinghistory.wordpress.com/2008/07/25/jumbles-think-spicethink-nutmeg/
highlandcoo: "What age do you reckon this awful realisation dawns?"
Well, for me, it was early 40s, I think, though it's hard now to remember! But this thread has made me feel perhaps I should go back and reread stuff I used to love, both the old favourites (David Lodge, Nick Hornby etc) and things that I only read once, a long time ago but which made a big impression on me at the time. For example, in my 20s I read almost everything by Milan Kundera, and thought they were wonderful but I cannot remember anything about them now. Ditto Doris Lessing and the Martha Quest series. I do worry that if I went back to them I wouldn't like them second time around.
I reread books because some of them just have to be read more than once.
Sometimes it is a comfort thing and often you get more out of a book second or third or twentieth time around because you are older, your life has changed and you can take something new away from it because you are ready for it now.
I get different things out of old favourites now I am older and have experienced different things in my life. They can completely change, sometimes I don't like them as much, sometimes I wonder how I could have missed something so important, sometimes I love them even more than before.
Books you love are like friends you love. Why would you only visit them once? If you love them, there's always something new to gain from returning to them.
I can't think of all the books I've reread because I love them but I'll put a few and try to give a reason for what I get out of them.
I love Stephen King's IT and The Stand and have reread both (and many of his others) often. I think there's something to learn from in both of them, and in fact most of his books have strong ethics and morals in them that rereading only helps to make clearer.
Jean Webb's Daddy Long Legs is lovely and is one of my comfort books.
The Lord of the Rings series has been one of my favourites for years, although on first reading it I hated it.
We Need To Talk About Kevin is very powerful and I think it's a must read, it deserves classic status.
Happenstance by Carol Shields has been a favourite for a long time. It's two books in one really, the story of the same five days told first from the wife's perspective and then from the husbands. Or vice versa, depending which side of the book you start from. My copy flips over so you can choose. I like The Republic of Love by the same author.
I reread The Slap, one of the most hated books ever I think, because even though I hated it the first time around, I couldn't stop thinking about it afterwards and I needed to read it again. I did get more out of it the second time and have kept it because I think I will read it again one day.
I like horror books best I think, so if something is well written and 'scares' me then I am likely to return to it. Discomfort reading can be just as good as comfort reading
And if something is particularly funny then that's always good to go back to as well.
I re-read because I enjoyed something so much the first time around, I know I'll enjoy it again the second. Also, there are books that you don't entirely soak up first time round and re-reading adds little motes of richness. The book I've re-read most is One Hundred Years of Solitude, and that's because I think it's the most beautiful book I've ever read.
I tend to re-read Catch 22, Catcher in the Rye, Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Brave New World, Slaughterhouse 5, A Prayer For Owen Meany, Rage, The Long Walk, Breakfast of Champions, and Chronicle of a Death Foretold too (all read at least five times each). The most recent addition to re-reading is English Passengers, which I absolutely love.
I was born for Telly Tubbies ("Again again!") but unfortunately they were well after my time. I re-read, re-watch, you name it. Normally it's comfort, escapism, being with an 'old friend' of a book. Or just because they are great stories and I enjoy them every time. My main ones are:
Lord of the Rings (soooo many times; I think I estimated about 45 times 15 years ago, although I've slowed up a bit since the start)
My Family and Other Animals
But I have re-read many in my collection. A lot of Jane Austen I re-read, Dead Babies, Weirdstone of Brisingamen, In A Glass Darkly, Watership Down, Dahl stories, Hitchhikers'.
I re-read loads, especially when I'm feeling stressed or tired. I find reading a new book can sometimes be an emotional rollercoaster or require too much concentration!
I love re-reading Agatha Christie novels but can only do this every few years or so as I end up remembering the murderer otherwise. Sometimes I do remember midway through but still enjoy finding out the method and seeing things unravel.
You know exactly where you stand with a book that's you've already read and never feel disappointed.
You can put it down when it's bedtime because you know what will happen next!
ModeratelyObvious Very well put! A well-read book is like a DP. You know it's something you like but you no longer have the pressure of either of you proving it.
I always have to be reading something, and read quickly too. I reread books that stick with me - I'll often find myself thinking about plot lines from certain books and think ooh I must read that again! It's kind of like meeting an old friend, and I always find I get something new out of the book (or at least lots of forgotten things!). It tends to be books I haven't read for a couple of years.
If I'm reading the next book in a series I also normally reread the first books (if there has been a wait before the next one is published). I finally got round to reading the second book in the Discovery of Witches trilogy (?) and reread the first, I find it really helps to familiarise myself with the characters, plot etc. again.
I don't know if this is the case with anyone else, but when I finish a really good book that I have been totally immersed in, I can sometimes find it really tricky to choose what to read next in case it is a disappointment so will often choose to go back to something I know first before choosing a new book. Or is that just me...
I think some books become like friends or I miss the characters so need to go back to them. There are only a few books I re-read.
The Lord of the Rings
Red Mars Trilogy - Kim Stanley Robinson
Eon- Greg Bear
Terms of Endearment - Larry McMurtry
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