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message 1: by Allison (new)

Allison | 15 comments I'm just wondering what the consensus is on re-reading books for pleasure ...

I used to re-read books occasionally. Mostly I found myself picking a book up again because in the I-can't-put-this-down rush to find out what happens next, I felt I had missed something essential in the storytelling. Occasionally, I simply wanted to enjoy the book again, or I didn't have anything new at hand but still needed to read (I typically read as a tension release).

I recently had the urge to re-read a book I simply couldn't get out of my head, and realized I hadn't re-read any books in over 10 years. The book just kept nagging at the back of my mind - I never even put it on a shelf - for 3 months until I read it again. The sensation made me wonder about others' re-reading habits, or not.

How many of you re-read books? Do you re-read almost everything, or only a select few? When you do re-read a book, is it for academic purposes, or because you can't remember enough from the first go-round, or because the characters seem like old friends you want to reconnect with ... ?

message 2: by Tracey (new)

Tracey | 4 comments I don't re-read as much as I used to - simply because there are too many (potentially) good books out there that I haven't read yet.

When I do re-read a book, it's usually because I want to re-visit that world (fiction) or recall the information & how it's presented (non-fiction).

Last year, I re-read 7 books (out of 82 total) and all but one were fiction.

message 3: by Chrystal714 (new)

Chrystal714 | 24 comments I don't often re-read books. I think the only time I have is when I have read the book, then I listen to it on audio at a later date.

I usually remember to much about the book to enjoy reading it again. However, as I get older that is changing. Think I will re-read more and more.

message 4: by Heather (last edited Feb 01, 2008 08:03AM) (new)

Heather (adorabubbles) | 4 comments i agree with tracey. in the past, i re-read books quite often. due to the plethora of interesting books on the market (and my broad tastes), i haven't re-read a book in years.

but like most of you, when i do re-read, it's because there's something truly wonderful about the book. the story, the characters, the prose. sucker for all of 'em, i am.

message 5: by Mike (new)

Mike | 2 comments Great question Allison. I used to re-read often to “reconnect with an old best friend”. Since joining Goodreads, I have postponed re-reading because 1) I had to face up to the number of “to-read’s” I already have on hand and get going; 2) I add so many good “books-to-get” from the great reviews from fellow bookaholics here. I’ve traded re-reading Ender’s Game or Dune for new discoveries like McCaffrey’s dragons and LeGuin’s wizards. Goodreads has expanded my interest to many new books and my “old friends” will just have to wait a while longer.

message 6: by Rindis (new)

Rindis | 80 comments The only thing that keeps me from constantly re-reading everything I've ever read and enjoyed is the vast backlog of things I haven't read once yet.

message 7: by Carl (new)

Carl | 38 comments I reread tons as a kid, but now, especially since grad school and all the reading I've got to do for that, I just don't have time. Some of my favorites, from LOTR to Michael Scott Rohan's Winter of the World trilogy, I think I've read in the double digits. I tend to need to read something at least twice to really "get" it all, like reading a poem-- but that gets me into trouble now, as there are so many academic books I need to get through that I don't have time to read them all twice! I think I missed out when I was younger, because I ended up not having time to get to new books-- probably 3x through is time to leave a book behind, unless it's an all time favorite.

message 8: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer (jwesterk) | 3 comments I've always been a big re-reader. Especially when I'm having a bad day, I can just go to a bookshelf and pick up an old favorite. It's almost like a security blanket. I'm not trying out a new book that I'm not sure how I feel about it; I know exactly how it will comfort me. I also have to agree with Rindis - there's so much out there that prevents me from constantly rereading!

message 9: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey | 25 comments I too have always been a big re-reader, and some of these series require it just to keep track of all of the characters, but I re read favorite books a lot and many times I go to the shelves and pick something out and read it. I like to read favorite scenes. Sometimes in new sf or fantasy its hard to start a book =-- books are so big, often there are sequels, rereading is easy, its a different experience

message 10: by Marc (new)

Marc (authorguy) | 121 comments I re-read quite a lot. Reading a book the first time is a bit of work, which I often don't have time for, what with writing my own books and having a day job and all. Plus I started a small side-business as a bookseller, and I read a lot of what I sell, rather than what I like. I can pick up a book I've already read and know exactly where I am and what's going on, and then I can put it down again and go do something else.

message 11: by Susanne (new)

Susanne (suslikesturtles) | 4 comments Echoing the three commenters above me: I also re-read. A LOT. I think my most re-read and battered paperbacks are my Pratchetts. Whenever I want to read something and I know I don't have much time - like when I have half an hour to sit in the garden - I'll grab a Pratchett. They never ever get old.

Funnily enough, I've just finished re-reading my entire Hiaasen collection, because I'd not read them in about 3 years. It's amazing how much I forget. I think I must be a very inattentive reader.

I also re-read some series before a new installment comes out, to re-aquaint myself with the characters and where the story left off last time.

Like Rindis said, the only thing that stops me is the to-read pile. :)

message 12: by laanba (new)

laanba I re-read a lot. Too much I think in fact which is one of the reasons I recently joined Goodreads. I think that it is definitely something I fall back on in times of stress. Comfortable worlds, characters and scenarios. I'm always going to re-read during the difficult times, but I hope that having an ever growing list of to-read books and the pressure to keep moving forward will help me break that habit.

message 13: by Bill (new)

Bill (kernos) | 117 comments I consider 're-readability' of book or series to be a sign of quality and mark those as such in my book databases. Some books have to be re-read to really get all that is hidden between the lines. Dune and LOTR come to mind. I Have read LOTR 28 times since the 1st US editions appeared and continue to find new joys and insights.

Some universes, I just to like to revisit, because they are fun and places . I re-read all the Star Wars books in order, every 5 years or so. I love the universe and am a closet Jedi ;-) Same with Pern (I ride a bronze of course), Cherryh's Foreigner and the Dune books.

With the tendency to market long series, I usually like to re-read the prior novels when a new one in the series comes out, esp if it has been some years. EG,I have ben waiting years for the final novel of Ricardo Pinto's "The Stone Dance of the Chameleon" trilogy. Publication is imminent, but I will want to re-read the 1st 2 novels again.

Of course I like new books and discovering new authors. For the latter I usually try to buy all of the authors works and read them in order (usually used hardcovers - I have trouble reading mass marked paperbacks)

Anyway, re-reading for me is part of the joy of a book collection.


message 14: by Bradley (new)

Bradley | 9 comments You can always pick up a copy of my book Laurie.. hehehe =)

Dreamsbane of Tamalor by Bradley James Simpson

message 15: by Daniel (new)

Daniel (danm) | 1 comments I rarely re-read. There are so many new things to discover and I don't want to miss out on any of them!

However...I've lately decided that it's time to revisit some of those authors I've always listed as favorites ... such as Zelazny and Ellison. It's been twenty years or more since I read much of their work, and I'm finding that I mostly enjoy going back to these books and stories.

But for the most part, the list of un-read books grows exponentially and I really want to discover that next book that will knock my socks off!

message 16: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) I re-read fairly often. I've found that 5 or 10 years can make a huge difference in what I get out of a book. I can barely stand to read ER Burroughs any more & while Robert E. Howard still has some that are fun, I don't enjoy him as much as I did as a teenager or while in my 20's.

Zelazny has been an excellent read for a long time & often gets better, often because I catch more in his books. Modessit is fun, but Stasheff isn't any more. This too may change & I know the change is in me. Re-reading is a way to see changes in myself.

message 17: by laanba (new)

laanba the list of un-read books grows exponentially and I really want to discover that next book that will knock my socks off

I am finding that the longer I spend on Goodreads the more this is true.

message 18: by Jordan (last edited Oct 30, 2008 06:46AM) (new)

Jordan | 2 comments I love to re-read! Often I will finish a book during the night and if I haven't prepared with a new book for the next morning subway commute I will pick up an old favourite to re-read. The problem with this though is that a lot of the times I will pick up say LOR "The Fellowship of the Ring" or "Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone" or "Dune" and after finishing I am once again hooked and will re-read the whole series which then takes up A LOT of my reading time. Thanks to all of you though, these post, and of course the wonderful goodreads site, I constantly have a source for new books to buy before I finish my current one. It's always nice to revisit your favourite worlds and characters though and to really delve into the author's intentions so I don't think I will ever give up re-reading. :)

message 19: by Dov (last edited Oct 30, 2008 07:27AM) (new)

Dov | 10 comments God has blessed me with a not so great memory much to my wife's dismay so I even pick up books now and say did i read this?and low and behold i ve read it!! YES I love to reread books even if i know ive read already!! I also find myself recentl rereading boks when i was a young teenager like star wars and David Eddings and even teh Redwall books!!!!

message 20: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly (keyboo) | 5 comments I generally don't re-read books. When I do it's because I LOVED the characters and can't seem to let them go. Or it's because I'm in between books and want to read something. But I find myself going back to those books I do have on hand that I LOVED!

When I read I devour books in a day or two so sometimes I re-read books I've really enjoyed to pick up details my first read through missed. Beyond that I skip around to my favorite parts or the parts that contain only the characters I'm interested in.

message 21: by Kate (new)

Kate I think you have to re-read a book at least once to get the full picture of the story. So I always re-read things I liked at least once. Then things I love get read several times, some things about every year or a couple of times a year. If I only read a book once that generally means it's rubbish.
Some books get better the more times you read them - Tana French "In the Woods" is a good example of one I read once and didn't like, read it again, liked it more and now it's one of my favourites that I've read 6 or 7 times.
Some of the re-reading is practical too - I can't afford the time to go the library or the expense of feeding my book habit with books I don't already own!

message 22: by Imperfectlyrua (new)

Imperfectlyrua Castle | 7 comments As a child I reread books a lot. If I liked a series and a new book came out. I'd reread the whole series to refresh my memory. Now I find that I want to read so many different things and I've picked up so many books second hand that I haven't gotten to yet that I never really have time for rereads. That said, I completely agree with Kate about needing at least twice through to actually absorb a book. I definitely miss things as I plow through a book so that I can make it to the conclusion of the plot.

I think I'll have to reread Fire and Ice when the new one finally comes out because I'm really going to need the refresh. And currently I'm rereading LM Montgomery's Anne books because I recently got the first one on CD from the library and listened to in on a long trip and now I'm remembering how much I loved them.

message 23: by Nick (new)

Nick (ndoerrabbott) | 6 comments Lacking a photographic memory, re-reading is a requirement, a pleasurable one....

message 24: by Jackie (last edited Dec 17, 2008 07:30AM) (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) I have books to pass on, and books to keep. Pass ons are the books I may have enjoyed but have no desire to re-read.
My keepers are the books I loved and will undoubtedly want to read again.
People ask me: how can you read a book you already know what's going to happen?
Yes, I know the beginning, the middle and the end, but it's the details I forget. And it's the details that make a book great. As I'm re-reading one of the keepers, I'm amazed at how many details I've forgotten. It's like I'm reading it for the first time. Of course, some time has elapsed since first reading it but it's just as enjoyable, if not more so, in subsequent readings.

message 25: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) Jackie wrote: "...but it's the details I forget. And it's the details that make a book great..."

Absolutely! Several books by Roger Zelazny are like that for me. There are so many subtle details that take a couple of reads to fully appreciate or are appreciated in a different way over the years. This Immortal is so packed with classical references that many went over my head until I was better read.

The styles he uses are also fun. Re-reads allow me to appreciate it more when I'm not concentrating so much on the story itself. The way he starts chapters in the middle of the action, goes back to the start & then finishes on a cliff hanger in Doorways in the Sand, for instance. Being able to relax & appreciate the way he draws out the suspense, rather than rushing through to find out what is going to happen, is a bonus.

Samuel R. Delany's The Einstein Intersection is another book packed with references & several stories inside the overt one. There's always something new in it, no matter how many times I read it.

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