Monday, July 23, 2012

Rereading? Who has time to reread?

I just read an article about the value of rereading. It was actually a review of a book about rereading. The author of the book enjoys rereading but comments (according to the reviewer) that the value of the book can change because you've changed since the last reading. The author really liked Holden Caufield in Catcher in the Rye the first time around, but found him annoying the second. But she found she liked books the second time that she didn't like the first time. I ask you: why would you reread a book you didn't like the first time? There have been two instances in my life where I've done it: the book was assigned by two different English teachers many years apart (The Old Man and the Sea--the man is really old and the fish gets eaten before he can get it home) and when I had a really hard time getting into a book that came highly recommended (Great Expectations--it's hysterical if you get the books on cd version).

My sister and I both enjoyed Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs when we were kids, but both reread it after college and just didn't like it. The story wasn't as good and the illustrations were lame. I was reading it to someone, and it was really hard for me to get into it because it was so much worse than I remembered it. Was it the time--like something trendy that was no longer in, or was it me?

There are some books that I love rereading (the Harry Potter series--I cry--bawl, really--every time Dobby dies!!), and many others that I keep meaning to, but who has time to reread when there's so much unread to read? And on top of that, every time I read an article in the writing magazine (the same one where the article about rereading came from), I find that many authors use craft books to help them become better writers, so now I have a whole bunch of those to read, too!

I also know people who reread only parts of a book. I've never thought to myself, hmmm...I'd love to get lost in ONLY ONE SCENE OF A TERRIFIC STORY! When I reread something, it's because I really miss the characters. I'll say things to Captain America like, I miss Owen Meany. But I've never said, I miss when Rhett and Ashley pretend to have spent the evening at Bell Watling's. Although that is one of my favorite scenes in the book. But it's my favorite because it shows what sort of man Rhett is, and it illustrates some depth in Melanie's character.

Yes, I'm not going to reread a book I didn't like just to see if my perspective changed, but I will reread a book I did like...if I can find the time!

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