Wonderings: Re-Reading


I’ve been dipping into the collected Tor.com essays of Jo Walton, What Makes This Book So Great and wondering why I don’t re-read more. When I had limited choice I used to do it quite a lot. In fact the ‘keeping rules’ for my shelves are that a book has to be unread (a lot shelf space), special (mostly signed, part of a  collection, favourite author or proofs) or I have to want to re-read them, which is why I still have The Great Game trilogy by Dave Duncan (as I want to re-read it) but not Lord of the Rings (I didn’t even finish the last book). I have re-read The Hobbit a few times though that went to charity not so recently.

A friend just re-read The Song of Achilles, which resulted in a flood of tears for the third time. Another finds comfort in the Harry Potter series and is on their 30th re-read.  For me re-reading Pratchett is always a pleasure.  I’ve re-read The Hogfather as a Christmas tradition for quite a few years  though I think I’ve re-read Sourcery the most out of the Discworld series.  I’ve been re-reading very very very slowly the City Watch thread but I think The Witches will always be my favourite. I’m need to crack on and read Jingo – goodness it’s been over a year since I read Feet of Clay!!

I’ve re-read The Old Kingdom books by Garth Nix and wanted to re-read them before reading Clariel.  I’d also love to re-read the Polity books by Neal Asher as the more I read the more I see how clever he is at using the universe he’s created. Then there is a duology by James Stoddard, called The High House and The False House, which I wish had chance to become a trilogy and  I’d love to be more widely read.

I guess what I’m convincing myself of is that I actually do enjoy re-reading. And I used to do it more but over the last several years I’ve not indulged – last year wasn’t a good reading year for me anyway.  As seen in my previous post I’ve got a pile of first reads that I want to explore. So why do I feel a big urge to re-read Harry Potter?

Jo Walton re-reads a lot but as she points out in her introduction  she needs to read forward so she has new things to re-read but I think for me I need to re-read more in order to enjoy reading more.

5 thoughts on “Wonderings: Re-Reading”

  1. I was way down on my reviewing last year due to rereads. It was an occupational hazard since most of what I review is from my reread shelf… and I can’t review it twice.

    The problem in my case is that there is a certain innocence in the writing of past years. Carnal relations, for example, are handled in a way that left plenty of room for imagination while leaving no doubts about the intensity.

    Violence was handled in a similar manner. Graphic enough to get the point across but not on a level with Texas Chainsaw Massacres.

    Could be that I’m aging out of modern epic fantasy. Hence the overwhelming desire to reread old instead of being overwhelmed and put off by new…

    1. I know what you mean – you need to fill the blog – plus I should have mentioned how much I re-listen to music and re-watch films – it’s only books where I feel the pressure to be new all the time. I think we’re growing wiser as we grow older?

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