The Joys of Re-Reading

Are you a fan of visiting with friends or family, or spending vacation time in the same place every year?  Then, if you haven’t tried it, you might like to reread a favorite book.  If you liked the characters of a book, rereading is like visiting with old friends.  If you reread regularly, it’s ever more like stopping to visit a friend from whatever age you first read the book.  Concerning places, you might have different favorite characters over the years, but reading about a location again makes me want to go there (Tolkien’s Middle Earth is my favorite).  You might also reread to celebrate an event in your life.  This is something I’ve often done, and I recommend it to anyone who would like to try.


Written by Circulation Staff Member Karen 5/12/14.


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Dear Karen,

When I was in high school, in the early sixties, my English teacher would talk about how much we'd enjoy rereading the books we were reading then when we got older. Whenever he said this I tried to imagine rereading a book wondering why anyone would do this.

It wasn't that I didn't like what we read for class. Our teacher was excellent and because it was an honors class we remained with him except for one semester.

I had my first rereading experiences in college with The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing and Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. The second one wasn't a reading for class. I never was assigned a book by an African American during college.

The next book I remember rereading was Catcher in the Rye. I'd read it in high school because our last year we asked our teacher whether we could suggest books for our summer reading list. I loved it then and I loved it when I reread it in the mid-eighties. It was like visiting an old friend. I was very aware of Holden's unique voice the second time. Knowing more about New York, the book's setting, made it more vivid.

I reread Silas Marner in a book group. I didn't want it to end.

Recently I talked with a high school student about what she was reading. I asked her about Dickens and whether she'd read A Tale of Two Cities one of my high school books. Talking with her I realized I wanted to read it again. Maybe that'll be my next reread.

Thank you for introducing this topic.


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