I listened to an episode of Books on the Nightstand the other day from back in September (episode 349, to be exact,) and hosts Ann and Michael were talking about rereading books. They had both reread one of their favorite books for a then upcoming book talk at Booktopia ( the bookish weekend events they used to host.) Ann had reread Mary Doria Russell’s The Sparrow and Michael had reread Any Human Heart by William Boyd.
It was a very interesting discussion. Neither of them had been dedicated rereaders at all, mostly because they both work in publishing and have so much reading to do for work, and keep up with new things that their publishing company (Penguin Random House) doesn’t publish as well. But Ann shared that the experience of rereading one of her all time favorite novels may have pushed her into being someone who makes time to reread. She said that this time she was not so consumed by the plot, obviously because she knew the story line already. This allowed her to pick up on things she thinks she missed the first time around, when she was frantically turning pages. She mentioned that a couple of characters stood out to her more this time around, and she realized how central to the novel they really were. She didn’t know how realistic is was of her to expect very much rereading in the future, given her line of work, but she said that now she has a new understanding of the benefits and pleasure of rereading books.
Michael enjoyed his reread, but did not come away from the experience with a new vision of himself as a reader. He said that there were simply too many books coming out all the time that he wanted and needed to get to, and rereading just wasn’t something he saw himself doing.
Last week I posted about rereading Middlemarch, and how much I am enjoying the experience. In reality I might reread one book a year, but I always want to reread things more than I actually do. One blogging friend mentioned that she’d never reread a book before, but that it sounded like fun. I suggested maybe trying a childhood favorite first, and see how that goes.
So all of this got me wondering, how many of you guys make time to reread? Is it one book a year? Two? Do you read a particular book in a particular season every year? Or are you more like Michael, and simply have too many new books that you’d rather make time for? I’d love to hear what you think.