Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Reread

Every now and then, I find myself wanting to go back and reread a book I've already read.

When I was a kid, I did this all the time. I can't count how many times I read Ramona and her Father by Beverly Cleary or Just as Long as We're Together by Judy Blume or Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. Sometimes it was because those were the books I owned and at 9:00 on a Friday night, I needed something to read, so I grabbed one from my shelves. Sometimes it was to visit an old friend. And sometimes it was just safe. There's a risk in picking up a book you don't know - you might not like it. Maybe that's one reason kids like series books so much - there's safety in the familiar.

As I got older, I reread less and less. Oh, every time a new Harry Potter book would come out, I'd reread the series (or at least the previous book). And in college, I went back and reread all the Anastasia Krupnik books and all the Ramona books. But I was short on time and discovering just how many great books are out there. More and more, rereading seemed like a waste of time.

Now, as a librarian and blogger, I rarely make time for rereading. So many books are released each year that it would be impossible for one person to read them all. I need to read new books so I know what to recommend to my kids at the library. Now I'm getting review copies and there's a constant pressure to readreadread and review them all (an impossible job, to be sure).

But I think I'm going to make some time and reread some books over the next couple of weeks. Why?

Because I'll discover new details the second time around. On the first reading of a book, I'm trying to keep all the characters straight, trying to figure out the plot and notice beautifully written passages. On a reread, I know the plot and the characters and I can really sink into it and make connections that I didn't make before.

Because it's still great to revisit old friends from beloved books.

And most of all, because it's fun. And reading should be nothing if not fun!

Keep the fun alive, folks. Reread one of your favorite books today.

(And if you really don't think you have the time to reread, consider checking out some of your favorites on audio. It's a whole new way to experience your favorite characters and stories!)

Who's with me? Do you reread books? What are your favorite books to reread? Did you reread books as a kid? Have you reread any of those old favorites as an adult? And did they stand up to the test of time?

26 comments:

Mel said...

It's the same for me now. I used to reread all the time. My favorite books to reread were the Song of the Lioness Quartet series by Tamora Pierce. I can't count the number of times I reread those books. They were my comfort reads. Now it seems like I have little time to reread since I have so many I have to read for recommendations and for book committees. Still, it would be nice to sit down with the Lioness one more time...

Anonymous said...

Two of my favourite books off all time that I reread constantly as a kid are Little women and The secret garden. I still have been known to pick them up every so often in adulthood. To me going back to those are like visiting old friends. I now reread books like the Ramona series as I read them aloud to my 2 girls, or preview the content for my sensitive one. My girls also like to reread, and believe me it's not due to a shortage of books here!! Great blog Abby, I really enjoy reading it!
Bakingmommy :)

Marge Loch-Wouters said...

I am a voracious reader and re-reader.Try to do LOTR every few years as well as some of my favorite sci-fi/fantasy. And for unknown reasons whenever I do wilderness weeklong trips, a small volume of Icelandic sagas is always along for me to dip into!

Abby said...

Oh, I completely forgot that I used to reread A String in the Harp by Nancy Bond every summer when I was in high school!

Cat Fancy said...

I too, feel incredibly guilty every time I even think about rereading a book instead of picking up a new one. But I love to reread so much! What is the point of loving a book so completely and then not revisiting it every once in a while? Thanks for your post, you have given me inspiration to go to my own shelves and pick a few favorites!

Elisabeth Marie said...

Harry Potter were definitely my re-reads when I was younger. I have also stopped re-reading, but I would really like to re-read The Shack by William P Young, and I recommend it for everybody who hasn't read it even once yet! =)

Bridget said...

I reread books all the time. My favorite books from growing up get reread at least once a year (the Borrowers, Little House, Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, etc.). I often reread books as soon as I read them the first time (Harry Potter) so as to catch what I might have missed. Each reading is different. Little Women will never read the same way it did when I was 12. I've changes and as such so has it. Good luck with your reread, Abby. I'm in the middle of one myself--all the Ramona books before the movie comes out.

Sarah said...

You could be talking about me in this post! I used to love to re-read but I don't have the time anymore with all the new books I have to keep up on. I do re-read Matilda by Roald Dahl once a year because it's still my all time favorite book. And sometimes I will re-read romance novels or at least, pick out my favorite parts to re-read. But I wish I could do more re-reading. Maybe when I'm retired, lol, which is a long ways down the road.

melissa @ 1lbr said...

I need to take time to reread more. Only problem is that I have 30 books checked out all on due date deadlines. I'm hoping to reread some of my favorites soon!

Carin said...

I agree completely! I reread a TON as a kid (mostly becuase my parents wouldn't buy me as many books as I wanted nor take me to the library as often as i wanted and the library would only let me check out 8 books at a time). Then, when adulthood came (or teenagehood to be honest), I stopped. Mostly becuase, like you, I realized there are so many books and so little time. But I've always made an exception for the last 4 books in the Little House series. Then last year in December I took a month off from reading new books and I only reread books from my youth. I LOVED it. And have been keeping it up. Although interspersing with some books I should have read in my youth but somehow skipped. I've been a tad nervous that some wuoldn'tlive up to my memory but I've mostly been quite happy with my rereads. Enjoy!

MotherReader said...

I reread books all the time. It helps that I have a terrible memory, because often the books feel like new! I did reread more as a kid than now. There are just so many more books open to me now than as a kid that it's significantly more overwhelming. I also think that a big part of a kid's comprehension of a book falls in the repetition - which is one reason that series are so popular.

Maureen said...

I reread quite a bit, that is why I have such a hard time getting rid of any books. I reread the Little House series every couple of years-I love them. I also reread several books by Rosamunde Pilcher-The Shell Seekers, and Coming Home-they are like old friends.

Melissa said...

I was a big rereader as a kid: I wanted comfort and I wanted familiarity. As an adult, though, I think I shy away from it, mostly because there's too many books and not enough time.

I have decided, this year, to reread a few of my favorites from childhood, as well as a couple I discovered 15 or so years ago. It's been interesting. Some have held up well; others, not so much. But I guess that's the way it always is.

I'm trying to figure out if I really want to read The Thief books again before I delve into A Conspiracy of Kings, though.

rockinlibrarian said...

Sometimes I secretly hope that I run out of new books to read so I have an excuse to reread something, because there are so many books I like to wallow in over and over on one hand, and so many books that are so clever and full of details that you kind of HAVE to read them over and over to fully appreciate them... but there is SO much to read and so little time! I think maybe when the kids are a bit older it will be easier, but on the other hand, maybe not... maybe Other Practical Things sneak in to fill up your time then...

Trillian said...

I love to reread books to pick up on all the extra little details. The Harry Potter books in particular have loads of stuff in them which you don't really realise the significance the first time round.
I have to admit I don't reread as many as I'd like to though, with having so many new books to get through.
Also, I LOVED the Ramona books when I was a kid!
Trillian

Janssen said...

I love to reread, but I rarely do these days because so much else is begging for my attention!

Melody said...

You know, in thinking about the books that I love to reread, I realize that they are almost ALL books that I fell in love with as a child or teenager. I reread my childhood favorites every few years (or more often), but I am MUCH less likely to reread books I read first as an adult. There's something irreplaceable about the magic of reading a book for the first time as a child that can't be compared to reading even a really wonderful book for the first time as an adult.

Which is, of course, why your job is so important!

Christina said...

I LOVE Just As Long As We're Together! I recommended it to a couple of my 5th graders a few months ago and though they were wary, they loved it! After hearing them talk about it, I had to reread it probably for the first time since I was in 5th grade!

Jennie said...

Oh, do I ever know the feeling of being torn between rereading and reading a new book.

I will fully own up the fact that last month I reread Beloved Lord, which is one of my favorite romance novels. My coworkers laughed, but they didn't know what they were missing!

Because I don't have the time to fully reread a book, often I find myself rereading parts of a book. I often take a few minutes a day to pull a favorite off a book shelf to revisit a favorite scene, or to just open it randomly and read for a few pages.

Ms. Kathleen said...

I re-read entire series, mostly The Chronicles of Narnia and The Little House Books. James and the Giant Peach comes to mind, as well as most of Beverly Cleary's ouvre, but especially Socks. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nymph. I could go on. I think it goes beyond comfort and familiarity. I think children re-read because these are books that in some way shape their personal mythologies and help them to form a framework for understanding the world around them. Thanks for your post and the trip down memory lane.

ttulizzy said...

Great post, thanks so much for sharing! I really enjoy re-reading, (HP, Twilight, Ramona, Jodi Picoult, and tons more!) but I feel guilty because I feel I should be reading new stuff! I'm going to finish up what I'm working on then re-read the Ramona books I think. Thanks for the encouragement!

Anna said...

I'm no longer a re-reader either...I think about it sometimes, but you're right...there's so much new stuff out there that I want (or feel like I need) to read! That said, I also was a serial re-reader of Just as Long as We're Together and Anne of Green Gables. Just wanted to share. :)

Cleoppa said...

Good post! Books that are worth re-reading for each person is definitely a good study. Maybe you could follow the latest trend in kids lit blogs and do a top 100 re-readers.

Some of my favorite re-reading books are Harry Potter, Pride & Prejudice, Watership Down, Little Princess... those are all I can t hink of at the moment.

Debbie's World of Books said...

Before I found the blogging community I reread a lot since I would run out of new books to read. Now my TBR list is so long I rarely reread. There are a few Mercedes Lackey books, Star Trek books, Ender's Game and Phantoms by Dean Koontz that I reread a lot.

I was in a reading funk lately so I reread Flirting With Forty by Jane Porter. I've also been rereading some books from my childhood. I reread The Vampire Diaries which was my all time fave series when I was young but I didn't enjoy it as much this time around. The Boxcar Children was still a cute book upon reread.

Callie Hunter said...

Books are such powerful tools. We love them so. Thank you for all the stories you've posted about. I wanted to share a book that our family just loves to read again and again. "Bedtime for Meaghan" by Celi Camacho, is a sweet and tender bedtime story. Hope you will enjoy it as much as we do.

Valerie said...

I feel the same way! Between this post and Fuse #8's countdown of the top children's novels, I'm feeling inspired to revisit some of my old favorites! Thanks.