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Rereadings: Seventeen writers revisit books they love

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  578 ratings  ·  68 reviews
Is a book the same book—or a reader the same reader—the second time around? The seventeen authors in this witty and poignant collection of essays all agree on the answer: Never.

The editor of Rereadings is Anne Fadiman, and readers of her bestselling book Ex Libris will find this volume especially satisfying. Her chosen authors include Sven Birkerts, Allegra Goodman, Vivian
Kindle Edition, 276 pages
Published September 5th 2006 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 2005)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,842)
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Paul Bryant
Oct 01, 2013 Paul Bryant marked it as to-read-nonfiction  ·  review of another edition
Tony Blair (thumbing through the contents): Hey, this one could be interesting. It's a series of essays about the delicate question of what it actually means to have read a book. Do you know what I mean?

A talking donkey : Wow, Tony Blair! What are you doing in one of PB's reviews?

Tony Blair: Er - haven't you seen the news lately? Don't donkeys watch TV any more? I'm supposed to be the middle east peace envoy and look at the place - look at it!

(Tony turns tv on to news channel - blam! pow! Nato
Max Nemtsov
Как недвусмысленно показывает название, это сборник прозаических поэм о личных отношениях некоторых людей с некоторыми книгами (и одной пластинкой) + манифест самой Энн Фэдимен о перечитывании. Среди прочего, здесь на примерах объясняется, на ком лежит ответственность за то, почему книжки, от которых нас таращило в детстве и юности, могут очень не понравиться нам потом. На нас. Ну потому, что с мудростью и опытом может случиться, конечно, открытие, что Льюис женоненавистник и расист, а Грин плох ...more
An interesting conceit: at the invitation of the editor, the wonderful Anne Fadiman, seventeen writers revisit books they had read in their youth and describe the results.

Unfortunately, the results are mixed, at best. Perhaps one would need to have read all 17 books in question to derive full value from this book. But that seems a little much to expect. Overall, I think I was disappointed in how poorly some of the authors managed to convey the original passion they had felt for their particular
I think it is extremely important to note that Anne Fadiman is the editor of this book, not the author, and her preface/introduction was by far the best part of the book. There is something about her writing when she talks about books (reading, rereading, treasuring or otherwise) that is completely lacking in pretension and just comes across as an honest story about her and the book. The rest of the authors included in this book do not share her talent and are prone to egotistical romps through ...more
A collection of essays in which various authors and essayists discuss rereading their favorite works, from The Charterhouse of Parma to the back of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. I haven't read most of the works discussed in this book, so while I enjoyed all of the essays, some of them lost some resonance for me. I actually thought Fadiman's introduction, in which she discusses reading The Horse and His Boy with her son was one of the most effective, perhaps because I feel a personal c ...more
I loved the premise of this anthology; it is always a beautiful thing to witness someone talk about the books they love, the books they have found worthy of rereading over and over again. In some ways the books we reread tend to be the books we can't let go of; the books that have shaped us and still haunts us to this very day. After all, why else should we reread them?

While some of the essays in this anthology were beautifully done I also found myself skipping a few along the way. It grew very
It's absurdly touching when people who obviously love books talk about books they loved early in life. This is a collection of seventeen short essays -- admirably equal in quality -- from the "Rereadings" column of _The American Spectator_. One of the recurring themes is how frequently the future writers tended to identify with the second-banana character, not the protagonist.
Carrie Ann Lahain
This collection draws from the "Rereadings" section of THE AMERICAN SCHOLAR. Writers consider books that have been pivotal in their personal or intellectual development.

Editor Anne Fadiman has gathered pieces from a wide variety of authors, film makers, and journals writing about everything from PRIDE & PREJUDICE to the album lyrics to SGT PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND. The essayists also vary sharply in their approach to their material. Some are nostalgic. Others tongue-in-cheek. A few
This book had a lot of promise: seventeen writers read a book that they had loved when they first read it, either in their teens or twenties, and then discuss whether the way they felt about it had changed. I thought it would be fun to read re-reviews of books I've read by authors I've read. Unfortunately, I really hadn't heard of any of the writers who wrote the reviews (okay, I've heard of Luc Sante but haven't read anything by him), and I had only read one of the books that was reviewed (two, ...more
This year I’ve decided to make rereading a priority and so this essay collection was a perfect read to pick up. Just like any essay or short story collection, there are both strong and weak pieces. The book itself isn’t amazing, but the sentiment it shares is an important one. It’s another great reminder that I need to make time to reread books I love.

I wish there had been a few more essays that referenced books I know. I could identify with the piece on Pride and Prejudice and Brideshead Revisi
I agree with other reviewers in that the essays are (for the most part) only enjoyable if you're familiar with the books the authors have read / re-read: I just wasn't interested in most of the ones I hadn't read, and so I skimmed or skipped almost all of them. Two that I think would be enjoyable to anyone are the essays, "My Life with a Field Guide" and "The Ice Palace." They were quite excellent and truly conveyed the passion of the author/reader.

Generally, I wouldn't recommend this to very ma
Mar 23, 2015 Laura marked it as unfinished  ·  review of another edition
I adore Anne Fadiman and loved her foreword to this collection - it was as refreshing, humorous and clever as she always is (but never, ever pompous). I think the rest of it might have been more enjoyable if I'd heard of any of the authors of the essays and/or had read more of the books they reflected upon. People whose tastes are more literary than mine might like this better.
Mary Margaret
I loved this set of evocative essays. The set of 17 reviews, each by a different author, of books beloved in their youth was a poignant examination of how as we change, the meanings of the books in our lives also change. It was particularly good timing for me, since I've recently re-read some favourites from many years ago and found it quite distressing how many of them just fell apart for me on re-examination. The variety of books reviewed and authors reviewing them added depth as well (and lef ...more
Ellen Keim
A great premise--revisiting books that you read when you were younger and comparing your reactions then and now--but many of the essays come across as heavy-duty literary criticism rather than anecdotal. I felt like I was in over my head most of the time, but I kept on reading anyway. In the end, I wasn't sorry. It's always enriching to read about why others love to read and what they've learned from their reading.

Some of the authors whose work is represented are: Jane Austen, Colette, Katherine
Like Shelf Discovery: The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading but for people who were reading Jane Austen and DH Lawrence as kids instead of Judy Blume. Even though I have read very few of the books discussed, what I really liked was the writers' relationships with the books. I love rereading books, and don't do it very often, though I'm looking forward to revisiting some of my childhood favorites with Maddy. My favorite essays were the ones on Pride & Prejudice, Peterson's Field guide to ...more
This is a sweet collection of writings from people going back to a once read and loved book and reading it again with age and experience behind them. Some of the books they revisit are classics, but the more interesting essays are about those books that critics wouldn't place much value on to begin with--for instance, a series of books about a nurse in the 1950s that offered a role model for a career woman, or a nature guide to spotting and naming plants that started one woman's obsession with k ...more
I LOVE books on books. This book is collected essays from various writers on their favorite books that they have re-read over and over again! To read about books people are so passionate about is great, but I would have preferred to read about books I heard about as not time is spent on the plot of the books. You leave not really knowing if you'd be interested in the books they're talking about or not. Out of all the essays, I only had heard of three books- Franny and Zooey, Pride and Prejudice, ...more
John M.
Writers choose a book that was meaningful to them when they were younger, reread it and provide an essay on the experience. Enjoyable for reading fans like myself.
Rereadings mixes the memoir and personal essay with literary reflection as authors return to books they read when younger. The essays worked for me whether I had read the books or not. Or liked the books or not. Some reread literary classics like Whitman, Austen, or Stendahl, others children's books, and the list also included a Peterson's guide to Wildflowers and the liner notes to Sgt. Pepper's. I have some serious rereading to do myself in the coming year and I appreciated the ambiguity and h ...more
A wonderful collection of essays about rereading favorite books. Each essay is written by a different author, and the essays (and their subject matter) vary as much as the authors do.

Do you have a book (or more) that you've enjoyed rereading? If so, you'll probably find something recognizable here.

I haven't read most of the books that were described in the essays (some of them are pretty obscure, so it isn't a surprise), but I really enjoyed them vicariously, and enjoyed reading how the authors'
Susan Quebbeman
Aug 10, 2009 Susan Quebbeman rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves reading
I find myself rereading books I have loved in the past and getting new ideas and insights because of my additional age and life experiences.

Am enjoying this book because I have read some of the lit. that is being reviewed by the authors. In particular, I enjoyed the insights into "Sue Barton, Nurse" because I loved and read the entire series as a young girl. Looking at these books from a grown woman's perspective is very instructive not only of the era they were published in (the 40's or 50"s ?)
Oddly enough, I reread parts of Rereadings edited by Anne Fadiman after picking it up at the library. Seventeen authors share books that they have reread as adults and contrast the experience to their youthful impressions of the books. I particularly enjoyed Allegra Goodman's review of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and her thoughts on rereading, " I return to it not because it is the best novel I have ever read, or the most important, but because of the memories and wishes I've folded in it ...more
I was hoping for more essays by Fadiman, as it was, none of the other writers really grabbed me.

Interesting collection of essays about the various authors experiences reading a book and then revisiting the literature later in life. The essays provided a peek into the personal life of strangers -- some good, some not-so-good. Several of the essays were very enjoyable to read (usually those which reference material I had read myself). I think the more literary minded would enjoy this book more but it was a good read regardless (although I did not relish each story like I did Anne Fadiman's c ...more
Anna Szabo
Great- not only do I have to read the books of the seventeen authors featured but now I want to read all the books that those seventeen favored...many for the second time. My must-read list is getting ridiculously long. That being said, this is a great little book for real book lovers. It is nice to read that others get so excited about their favorite books and read them over and over again. Now I don't feel so strange about rereading "Siddhartha" and the "Little Women" series on a yearly basis.
Michael Morris
I have read what I choose to of this book of essays. This is a collection of essays written by professional writers who re-read books that had impact on them when they were young. Pretty much the same theme pops up. Re-reading brings back memories of themselves at an earlier time and reminds them how they've changed since. The essay on "Franny and Zooey" and "Brideshead Revisited" touched me as these two books resonated with me when I was young.

I love books about reading! For example, I loved reading Fadiamn's own series of essays on reading, Ex Libris. And, at times, I loved this book, too. But since it's a series of essays written by different people, you can anticipate some uneven quality. Some essays made me want to read the book in question, and some made me question why a particular book had even evoked enough passion for the essayist to begin writing in the first place.
These pieces are taken from a feature in "The American Scholar" in which various writers were asked to revisit a book that had been important to them when they were younger. A lot of good writing here and worthwhile meditations not only on the selected books but on the joys of reading. Many of the essays made we want to read the subject works and other works by the "reviewers". You can't ask for more than that from a "book about books".
Derrick Schneider
I like Anne Fadiman as an essayist -- quite a bit -- but I seem to be less enamored of her as an anthologist. Many of the essays in this collection failed to engage me, and I often found myself skimming to get to the end of one. At first I thought it was because I hadn't read many of the books and so had no context, but a few of the essays (most notably "Stead Made Me Do It") were good enough to convince me to go buy the book being re-read.
I loved Fadiman's Ex Libris ages ago. This book has a nice intro, but the first essay is a little are most of the rest...and the book gets progressively duller. To be fair, I was reacting to the English-major-taking-himself-too-seriously aspect of these essays; if that won't turn you off, give'em a try. I have to say, though, that for me the best part of the book is the introduction by Fadiman.
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Anne Fadiman, the daughter of Annalee Whitmore Jacoby Fadiman, a screenwriter and foreign correspondent, and Clifton Fadiman, an essayist and critic, was born in New York City in 1953. She graduated in 1975 from Harvard College, where she began her writing career as the undergraduate columnist at Harvard Magazine. For many years, she was a writer and columnist for Life, and later an Editor-at-Larg ...more
More about Anne Fadiman...
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader At Large and at Small: Familiar Essays The Best American Essays 2003 The Spirit Catches You When You Fall Down

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“...the reader who plucks a book from her shelf only once is as deprived as the listener who, after attending a single performance of a Beethoven symphony, never hears it again.” 14 likes
“A dark imagination is, perhaps, more appealing before you know anything about darkness.” 3 likes
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