Deb at Booking Through Thursday wants to know this week if our habits of re-reading books (or not) has changed over time:
I’ve asked before if you re-read your books (feel free to recap), but right now I want to know if that habit has changed? Did you, for example, reread more as a child and your access to new books was limited by how often you could convince your mother to take you to the library? Has the economy affected your access so that you’re forced to reread more often now? Have you grown to look at old books as old friends so that you’re happy to spend time with them rather than rushing the next new thing? And, just to give you something to think about, here’s an interesting blog post about this very thing.
I’m pretty sure that I did re-read favourite books even more often back in childhood; both some that we had at home and some that I borrowed repeatedly from the library. But I still do it. Economy has never seriously restricted my access to books, as I’ve always been able to borrow from libraries. And in later years, modern technology has made access to a wide variety of books even easier. So when I re-read a book it’s not because there’s no alternative, but because I want to.
I’m 58 now but I still like to re-read (or listen to) both old and more recent favourites every now and then. I still enjoy re-reading certain old favourites from my childhood and teens, even though I know some of those stories almost by heart. Other titles I can suddenly decide to re-read because something makes me realize I don’t remember them, even though I know I did once read them. But I’ve also kept collecting new favourites along the way.
I think there are lots of books well worth diving into a second time, or more. Some books I may have read ten or fifteen times and would happily read again, because they’re well written and full of details to enjoy. (It’s really not much different from seeing a favourite film or TV-series again.)
However, re-reading a book you read a long time ago may sometimes bring surprises too, because even if the book has not changed (the letters and chapters all still there in the same order), your own experience has. So you may be seeing something quite different this time than you did last time.
… As I wrote that last paragraph, something just recently read kept nagging at the back of my head… I checked my Kindle highlights, and there it was. From Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen – new book which I’m currently reading and have not finished yet:
Once he’d asked, “Don’t you want to read? There are hundreds of books in the sitting room.”
She had laughed and said, “I’ve read them all. I want to remember them the way they were. If I read them now, the endings will have changed.”
He didn’t understand that, but then English hadn’t been his favourite subject.
Yes, there are books like that too – perhaps better just left on the shelf! (smile)