Monday, August 08, 2016

Are You a Re-Reader?

post by Michelle Griep

“To quote French author Francois Mauriac, ‘Tell me what you read and I’ll tell you who you are’ is true enough, but I’d know you better if you told me what you reread.” 

 ~ Sarah Wendell, American author and reviewer

Do you ever re-read a book? Sometimes when I admit this out loud, I get the same reaction as if I'd said, "I haven't washed my underpants in three weeks." Yep. That combination slack-jawed frowny face type of look. But come on, folks, I can't be the only freak out there.

Turns out I'm not. In fact, there's an entire page on Goodreads devoted to books recommend to re-read. What's up with that? With all the bajillions of books out on the market, why pull an oldie off the shelf?

One study based on interviews in the U.S. and New Zealand reveals that a 'second run' (techno term for rereading a book) can offer "profound emotional benefits." But that warm and fuzzy feeling isn't the only reason why people pick up a title for the second or third time. . .


1. To Run Away
Everyone needs to press the eject button now and then and escape from a nose-diving schedule. When you open a favorite book, it's like running away to Happy Land because you know exactly what will happen with characters you feel safe with. . . which can be the polar opposite of reality.

2. The Movie Version is About to Hit Theaters
You remember loving the story, but you want to make sure you don't sound like an idiot when you tell your buddies how Hollywood got it all wrong. Think of this as the research approach to re-reading.

3. It's Tradition
My girls, though they're now in their twenties, still read The Christmas Puppy every Christmas Eve. It's for preschoolers. Sheesh. But they can't have a proper Christmas unless they read it together.

4. Go Deeper
Maybe you missed a theme the first time around. Even if you didn't, there are always nuances and things you didn't notice before because guess what . . . you're older. You're not the same reader you were the first go around. You're bound to get something different out of a re-read.

5. You Don't Like a Particular Author's New Style
Writers change over time, but that doesn't mean you'll like the changes. Some fans are die-hard, old school, gotta-have-the-same-old-same-old. And that's okay.

One of my favorite titles to re-read is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. What's one of yours?

Like what you read? There’s more. WRITER OFF THE LEASH: GROWING IN THE WRITING CRAFT is a kick in the pants for anyone who wants to write but is stymied by fear, doubt, or simply doesn’t know how to take their writing to the next level.

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. Follow her adventures and find out about upcoming new releases at her blog, Writer Off the Leash, or stop by her website. You can also find her at the usual haunts of FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.


chappydebbie said...

I've only re-read a handful of books. It seems like every time I think about re-reading a book, I get a new book to read. I have re-read MaryLu's Charity's Cross 3 or 4 times. As for older books, I've re-read Of Mice and Men and To Kill a Mockingbird.

Tami said...

I've reread the Bible many times and many books at least twice. I listen to a lot of books on my iPod and re-listen to most of them. I've listened to Windhaven and Fevre Dream, both by George R.R. Martin, at least five times each (his best work, well, in my opinion anyway; great world building and character development). If we like a song we don't listen to it just once, and look at the people who have watched Star Wars so often they can quote dialogue like it was great poetry! A good book is worth a second or third visit.

Robin Patchen said...

I've read the Harry Potter books more than once. And more than twice. That's all I'll admit to, though. They're an escape for me. (I've been clean of HP for a couple of years...although I see a relapse coming as this election season heats up.) Other things I've read more than once: Charles Martin's books. My favorites are The Mountain Between Us and Thunder and Rain. Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos. Anything by Jane Austen. There are more...

Robin Mason said...

i do like to reread sometimes (Freefall by Kristen Heitzmann comes to mind, because i was attending a conference where she was one of the speakers!) but since diving into the writerly world time is precious and scarce, and the TBRFT (To Be Read First Time) list is longer than my arm! ha! that said, i have one of my childhood books, my granddaughter's copy that i gave her, to read to get my mind into writing for her age group! sheesh! a writer's mind never sleeps, does it!

Sparks of Ember said...

If I really liked it, I reread it. So I reread a lot. Narnia, LOTR, Harry Potter - I can't even track how often I've reread them. Other books I reread every few years - I'd say at least half of my reading every year ends up being a reread. It's one of the reasons I have a huge personal library - I can't bear to part with a book I will want to read again. And again.

Normandie Fischer said...

Robin Patchen, have you been going through my library of rereadables? (Except for HP, which I've never owned.) Books I've read and loved go onto my iPod if they have decent narrators. There's something about listening to a book that helps me dig a little deeper into story and mood. Charles Martin's are in that loop, as are Georgette Heyer's when I want to grin. Jane Austen--the same. So many. So very many.