Before I started book-blogging, I never even thought about rereading a book as a concept. And when I heard about it the first time, I didn’t even think about it. I just put it out of my mind because there are so many books I still want to read, so why would I want to reread one I’ve already spent time on? You have to understand that I get bored easily. In fact, I only study from a specific textbook once and then I have to find other study material because I’m bored with it.
Last year I reread a book for the first time (that I know of), namely The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. It was so different to what I remembered from when I first read it at age 7. There’s some pretty deep stuff, and the scene with the snake at the end… just, no.
This year I decided I wanted to reread Harry Potter, but time was an issue, so I got the audio books and “reread” it that way, AND I got GeekBoy hooked on it too! I think audio is definitely an option for rereading that I will try more often. Today for Top Ten Tuesday, TBTB asks which ten books we would like to reread, but I’m shaking it up a little and talking about reasons I would (or would not) reread a book.
Reasons to Reread a Book:
1. I read it so long ago that I don’t remember much of it
Gezina en die Bruin Wind (tr. Gezina and the Brown Wind) by Maretha Maartins – It has been about twelve years since I last read this. It is the narrative of a South African girl (who hates her given name); her dying grandmother, and the story of said grandmother during the Anglo-Boer War in concentration camps. From what I remember it is historically accurate, very well-written and quite sad. I really want to re-read it because it is a high school setwork book at some schools, which means I read it a bit too early and probably missed out on a bit of the deeper meanings.
2. It is important to my heritage
This goes for Gezina above, and also books like Fish Notes and Star Songs by Diane Hofmeyr, another South African book that I read at a young age. I remember very little about it apart that there was a lot of magic and interwoven cultural history, and that I read it in an hour or two. Also A Change of Tongue by Antjie Krog, but that is quite a hefty book and realistically I wouldn’t reread it.
3. It is available in Audio
As in my Harry Potter example, when audio for a book is available I am more likely to “reread” it.
4. I originally read it in one language and it is now available in another
I first read Harry Potter in my native language, Afrikaans. Reading it in English almost felt like reading a brand new book.
5. It is short.
This is important because of finite reading time. Example: The Little Prince!
6. Non-fiction that changed my approach or view on life completely.
Half the Sky by Kristoff and WuDunn, The Big Necessity by Rose George: I just feel like rereading these will show me how much my perspective has shifted and inspire me all over again.
7. It was so beautifully written that I can’t NOT read it again.
Example: Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt – so beautifully written I just want to immerse myself in it again and again.
8. It played in important role in my life.
28: Stories of AIDS in Africa by Stephenie Nolen
Well, it was the book that made me decide to go to Med School, so I figure it’s worth a re-read.
Reasons NOT to Reread a Book:
1. It is super long.
I loved The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert, but it was so long that I don’t think I could read it again. I do however page through my favourite passages from time to time.
2. It broke my heart.
Example: Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson – Why would I do that to my heart all over again?!
3. I remember it too well
I find this is especially the case with plot-driven novels with straightforward plots. For example, Matilda by Roald Dahl – I love Roald Dahl’s books, and I will definitely purchase all his books for my collection one day, but I don’t feel the need to reread them. Possibly because they are so ingrained in my mind that I recall most of them. However, I will inevitably reread it when I read it to my kids one day!
4. It has hit the big screen – I don’t feel the need to reread books shortly before watching the film adaptation so that I can gripe about the differences. That’s just me.
So that’s me – I don’t see myself realistically joining a rereading book challenge at any point, but I like that rereading is something I actually consider these days.
“fact, I only study from a specific textbook once and then I have to find other study material because I’m bored with it.”
Thanks God I’m not alone. *go cry in relieve*
I think I not only have to think that the book is great, I have to love it on a personal level to reread it. Books that have a lot of depth and detail also lend themselves to being reread. I’ll reread something even if it broke my heart, as long as I’m in the right mood. 🙂 I like what you did with the topic here.
I sometimes find rereading old favorites to be more enjoyable than reading new books. With a new book, it isn’t guaranteed you’re going to love the story or characters and at the end if it disappoints, you sort of feel like it was a waste of time. I never feel this way when I pick up books I already love. It’s like visiting an old friend and as is often the case, you learn more the second time around.
I love the way you put that, thank you! “Make new friends, but keep the old: the one is silver, the other is gold!”
I still reread books I remember well, but it could just be me! There’s something about knowing the ending that allows you to appreciate the rest of the book, if that makes sense? Like you can enjoy the prose or the characterization or whatever else without having to worry about whether or not X, Y, and Z will happen. I dunno – I could just be weird here! In any case, thanks for stopping by my TTT. 🙂
Yes, I do understand that. It’s like Harry Potter for me, kind of. But there has to be good prose or characterization otherwise it’s just not enough for me 😛
I don’t really have a specific reason for repeating a book but I would love to repeat Charlotte Moore’s ‘George and Sam.’ It was one of my favourites second to Roald Dahl. I think I repeated Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone a few times in my youth.
I tend to reread books that were important during my childhood or adolescence, such as Anne of Green Gables. I reread that series practically ever other springtime 🙂
I love that image for rereading Harry Potter! And I agree with many of your reasons both for and against. I never used to mind about the length of books, especially when rereading before blogging, in fact before blogging I loved rereading and did so often, and preferred longer books because I felt like I was getting more bang for my buck, whereas now I don’t reread as much at all and prefer books of around 3-400 pages. I used to know all of my favourite books practically off by heart, but I like rereading to pick up on more information that I might have missed during my first read, especially if it’s a suspenseful book and I rush through it a little. I just love going back to old favourites!! I’ve tried some audios and haven’t managed to find a “comfortable” situation to listen to them yet…
My TTT: http://confessionsofabookgeek.wordpress.com/2014/11/04/top-ten-tuesday-books-i-want-to-reread-2/
I agree with so many of your reasons on both sides. My biggest re-read reasons include books that I loved, but don’t remember as well as I would like or that I know would be equally or more wonderful the second time because of the many layers in them or books that I think, in retrospect, I would get more out of now (for any reason).
I will never recover from Bridge to Terebithia. *cries softly to self* THAT WAS UNFAIR AND TOTALLY DESTROYED ME. No one ever say childhood books are light and fluffy. That hurt.
I never even reread before I was a book blogger. Mostly because my little sister ALWAYS reread books and it drove me crazy. I’d have read the most wonderful book in the world and she wouldn’t read it because she was too busy rereading the Boxcar Children for the millionth time. -_-
I also do not reread books that much but I HP is also in my list. I read HP in English but now it’s also available in my native language but I think reading it in my native language would be weird since I am used to reading books written in English lol
my top ten tuesday: http://wp.me/p3v5T1-ya
Oh it’s certainly weird rereading a book in a different language, but I quite like it. It makes me feel like my brain is working extra-hard 😛