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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Re-reading Books--Do You Or Don't You?

Woman Wearing Blue Denim Jeans Holding Book Sitting on Gray Concrete at Daytime

Today's blog is addressed to both writers and readers. I'm including writers because they are generally also avid readers. The books I am talking about are fiction, ones that are good stories, those we don't ever forget after we read them.

The Book Club I belong to read The Good Earth by Pearl Buck this month. We met yesterday for our discussion. One of the questions the moderator asked was Had you read this book before and at what age?  The question pleased me because I had some thoughts about that subject as I read the book.

We are a small group but every one of the women had read the book more than once. For me, it was three times. One had it assigned in a college class. The rest of us had read it by our own choice. 

One woman said she read it the first time when in seventh grade because her mother loved books by Pearl Buck, which led her to try them. I took it off a library shelf when I was in high school, read it and went back to select more books by the same author. 

This was my third reading of the book. As mentioned, first in high school, then as a young married woman and mother and, now, as a senior citizen. Reading the same book at different stages of life allows the reader to have a different perspective. My own experiences in life affected what I received from the book on this third reading. Did I still enjoy the book on this third read? Absolutely! In fact, I think I liked it best this time and reaped more from it than on the first two readings. 

We read books again if we found them appealing on the initial read. They feel familiar and please us. I have a friend who reads a certain book every December. There are readers who would say, Why do that? There are no surprises. You know what is going to happen. Comfort and pleasure are two good reasons. For her, it's become a tradition. 

There are readers who have a big stack of To-Be-Read books so they can't imagine why they would take time to read a novel they'd already read. I don't chew my food twice, so why should I read a book twice? That is the attitude of some readers. 

Think about the books you read to your children when they were pre-school age. Did they have a favorite that you had to read again and again? My daughter loved The Three Little Kittens. When she headed to the basket of books, I knew which one she'd pull out first. She'd run to me and hand me the book I didn't even have to read the words as I'd memorized the entire thing. I could recite it to her as she turned the pages. For her, it was comfort and pleasure just as it is for many adults who like to read a good book more than once.

What books have you read more than once? Or do you hate reading a book more than one time? If so, why? 

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