Friday, July 11, 2008

Reading habits: The Re-Read

I have a confession to make! In all my years of reading, I have only re-read books from two series: Harry Potter and the Left Behind series. No other book has ever been (knowingly) in my hands to read more than once. I see no reason to read books again (the ones in the series were just to remember where we are in the story.) There are so many books out there to read, why would I spend my time reading one where I know the characters, I know what's going to happen to them, and it's not really a mystery? Now I hear you (at least I hope the voices in my head is you all and not...but I digress) saying that with my book memory, there's no way I'd remember the outcome, the characters, the mystery. But I do, at least somewhat. Before I was good at keeping track of what I read (yeah, Library Thing!), at least a couple of times a year I would pick up a book, start reading and think...wow this all sounds very familiar. And I would wonder through the first 100 pages or so why it felt all 'deja vu'-ish. I would then decide that I had read it before, check the end to be sure and be mad that I had wasted that time. And I hadn't even enjoyed the part I did read because I kept having those nagging thoughts running through my head. Usually this was also the inspiration to start a book journal - a January through September excel file was my longest one before finding Library Thing.

So, tell me! How do you enjoy reading a book that you've already read? Do you re-read your favorite books or are there just a few that are good to read again? When do you re-read - holidays, summer, etc? Maybe I'm missing out!

13 comments:

Icedream said...

I am like you, I don't really go out of my way to re-read a book. Once I know what happens why would I want to read it again? LOL No, there are some exceptions. A lot of my book club's choices are books I have read before and I have to re-read them so I can remember enough to have a conversation. When I am in a certain mood I also like to go all nostalgic and re-read childhood favorites- in an hour or so I can feel nice having re-read an old Judy Blume title or Nancy Drew mystery. Usually it has been so long I have forgotten most of it anyway.

jaime said...

I have a few books that I've re-read, but not many. I have several I have good intentions of re-reading, but who knows if I'll ever get around to it!

Marie said...

Sometimes I re-read, but not often. Every once in a while I'll get a Jane Austen craving and have to re-read Persuasion or something, or need to re-read my favorite book, Possession, or something. But mostly these days I'm so busy with new books, who has time?:-)

sheistoofondofbooks said...

I'll have to think about my re-read habits, but I wanted to comment, because I got a good chuckle out of your title: "The Re-Read". It sounds like an episode of Seinfeld, like the one about "double-dipping" :)

Michele said...

Icedream - I tend to not even re-read the book club books that I've read before we selected them. That does make the discussion harder for me but I try to look at someone's copy to remember the basic story line.

Jaime - thanks for stopping by! At least you have intentions. I don't. LOL

Marie - I have to be honest..haven't ever read a Jane Austen book. I did read the Jane Austen Book club a few years ago but didn't care much for it. So it didn't inspire me to read her books. LOL If I were to read one, which one should I start with?

Sheis - LOL! I never thought about it that way. Makes my whole post a little bit different. LOL Thanks for stopping by.

Blue Yonder said...

Last summer I bought and reread several books from my favorite series, Trixie Belden. It had been long enough that I kind of forgot exactly how they all went, but it was so much fun to read them with a new perspective... identifying with the parents and not the kids :-)

breezily said...

My book memory turns out to be even worse than I thought. I recently started from the beginning of the Kathy Reichs series of books again, and found that I did not remember the plots. I read up to those I'd first read in 2004, before that feeling of deja vu stepped in. As others have said, there are books, like Jane Austen, where the feeling of deja vu doesn't matter. I'd put Douglas Adams in the same category. Helen Macinnes spy stories nearly all have a very similar plots, and I've happily read them several times.

sweetsue said...

I re-read books all the time. Several come to mind: Gone With the Wind, Texasville, and Stephen King books have been read several times.They seem like old friends when I am not in the mood to start something new.

nbbaker1102 said...

I don't like to re-read books. I rarely do it. My exception has been some of the Harry Potter books (refresh before the movie) and the Twilight series books.

I've bought a book, started to read it at the coffee shop next door, realized I already read, and then went to return it immediately, even though I didn't remember too much about it.

I agree. I don't like to waste time on something I've already done. I usually don't recall much about books when they're done, but I'm only in for the escape at the time. I don't want to escape to the same place twice!!

Michele said...

Blue - I bet I would enjoy re-reading the books I loved as a kid. I keep trying to get my kids to read them but maybe it would be better just for me to do it! LOL Great idea!

Breezily - I do believe that my book memory is pretty bad as I don't remember plots, etc. So I could probably do like you did and read some of the really old ones. But I just can't seem to think why I would want to do that - I'm sure there's authors that I'm not reading now that I would love just as much. It's a quandary!

Michele said...

Sweetsue - Old friends..I can see that. I guess it's like movies - I don't like to see a movie again, but there are a couple that'll I'll stop on every time I see them. Hmm...may need to think on what would be the books I need to stop on.

nbbaker - I'm glad I'm not the only one. I always worry that I'm a little 'off'. LOL Thanks for stopping by!

J. Kaye Oldner said...

I don't ever reread books. And I mean never. There are too many books published each week that I can't waste my time rereading. Besides, I've learned this the hard way. Just because I love a book today doesn't mean I will next year. Why risk the disappointment?

April said...

You know, I am not a re-reader either. Which makes no sense why I spend so much money buying books, other than the fact that our library is a dinky one and they usually never have what I want. I do, of course re-read books to the kids, but that is different.