Jen writes

May 21, 2014

You’re going to read that book AGAIN?

Sometimes, even though the pile of books by my bed is tall enough for me to reach over and set my glasses on before I fall asleep at night … Sometimes, nothing there in that pile speaks to me. There are endless books in this world, and choosing one to read at any given time can be overwhelming. That’s why sometimes it’s nice to visit an old, reliable favorite.

Today, over at Project: Underblog I’ve put together a list of books I’ve read more than once. It’s a commitment to re-read a book, and I can’t tell you how many times someone has questioned me about such behavior. (But people watch movies more than once all the time, I often think to myself or want to say. Why not revisit the language and story of the book?) I try to not be defensive when I respond that I enjoy rediscovering the language that I forgot had formed the story in my head, the one that has stayed with me since 1996, when I read it shortly before my 24th birthday and have read every August* since. For instance.


*Crossing to Safety┬áby Wallace Stegner stands alone. I had to mention it here. After all, Wally has his own tag on this blog. Go ahead and click around if you want to get an idea of CTS in my life. But don’t forget to come on by Project: Underblog and share what books you have re-read (or would like to).

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Shawna writes

I read Crossing To Safety because of your CTS posts. It was lovely. I reread Carol Sheilds’ Unless. It speaks to the sensation of helplessness I feel as a mother. I’m glad I read it after I had children or I might have found it trivial. Strangely, I’d rather reread a book than re watch a movie. Something different waits for me each time I reread a book. So happy that you’re here in this space again!


Jen replies

I love how the second or third time reading a book, I can discover something different. Just like reading books to kids. We reread favorite picture books and notice different details on subsequent readings. We must allow ourselves the same with our grown-up books. I love Carol Shields. Thank you for mentioning Unless. That book is amazing, and I think I should re-read it! I know I will feel differently about it this time around. Thanks for being here. xo


Robin writes

I’m guilty of re-reading books, although I can’t claim to have read a particular book annually. Sometimes, a story or something else about the writing is worthy of more than the attention I give it the first time through. When I read something the second time, I can pay more attention to language, sentences, characters, structure, and whatever else might jump out that makes the book special.


Jack writes

I have read bunches of books repeatedly because I just love them and because I enjoy catching something new the second or 23 time around.


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