Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Thinking About Re-reading...

In light of my Splash du Jour quote from this morning, I did some thinking about re-reading books. I found that I agree with what C.S. Lewis said -- "I can’t imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." [As an astute commenter noted, he should have included "women" -- especially since they tend to read a lot more than men do. Agreed.]
As I thought about it though, I found that I myself do not actually re-read a lot of books. When it comes down to it, in my entire life of constantly reading since birth, I think I have only re-read the ones seen in the above picture. And by sheer coincidence, the ones that I have re-read the most have been written by none other than C.S. Lewis!
I've read his novel Till We Have Faces at least three or four times. I love it so much. I've read his Space Trilogy, but only re-read the first in the series, Out of The Silent Planet. And I've read Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia several times over.
The Bible, I've definitely read that in its entirety more than once.
Then there is M. Scott Peck's The Road Less Traveled, worthy of a third reading for sure.
Anna Karenina, my favourite novel of all time, I've read it twice.
Tess of The D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy -- twice.
Tolkien's Lord of the Rings Trilogy, twice -- and the second time through, I followed along in a separate book of maps like a total geek!
Shakespeare's Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet I've read twice.
Other than these, I've been sort of a once-through guy, always moving on to something else.
It's a lot easier actually for me to think of books and authors that I WANT to read twice, like -- pretty much everything by Jose Saramago. Especially The Cave and Blindness.
Several books by Margaret Atwood are deserving of a second read.
I want to re-read the books of Eckhart Tolle. 

Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials Trilogy. Amazing books!
Also, The Gormenghast Trilogy by Mervyn Peake -- I definitely want to re-read that.
Some of the great novels of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, like The First Circle and Cancer Ward -- I've wanted to re-read those for a long time now.
The Deptford Trilogy by Robertson Davies. Gotta put that on my re-read list also!
Plus, I want to one day get around to re-reading Nicholas and Alexandra by Robert K. Massie -- for sure one of the best non-fiction books I have ever read.

How about you? Are you a re-reader of books?
Do you also have a sort of subconscious list in your mind of things you want to re-read, but simply never seem to get around to it?

*****

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh boyoboy! Re-reading is my second favorite passtime after reading.
I have re-read so many books: Wilkie Collins' The Moonstone (3 times), John Wyndham's The Chrysalids (3 times), Margaret Lawrence's The Stone Angel (2 times with a 3 pending very soon), Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale (twice). I constantly re-read Peck's The Road Less Travelled, I have a few go-to Khalil Gibran that I partially re-read also but my all-time most re-read, and I might have mentionned this to you before (...!), is Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird. I just love it all over again each time!

I will also soon be adding to this list as I want to re-read East Of Eden and A Splinter in the Heart. I will undoubtedly find others as well, which I've re-read or mean to...

Ah, books!
C.

Stefanie said...

I am not a rabid rereader, only reread 2-3 books a year, but I do always keep a running list of books I would like to reread. Not surprisingly it gets longer and longer. I don't know why I don't reread more often especially since I know I will love the book in question. I guess I am worried that by rereading spectacular books, I might miss another unread spectacular book to add to my list of books I'd like to reread!

soph said...

As I am a teacher of English, I do re-read books. Several, in fact. Does this count? I find that if I am tired of them after the third or fourth teaching, it is time to change the book. I seldom teach a book I do not enjoy re-reading. Top of the list: Hamlet. Close behind - anything of Salinger's or Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried.
I am a slow reader, so unless I am teaching the book, I seldom re-read...though Life of Pi and Beatrice and Virgil are exceptions. I often go back to passages where I have made marginal notations, and I re-read those segments. But seldom the whole book.

Isabella Kratynski said...

I think about re-reading, but I very rarely do. Narnia and some other childhood classics are an exception. Sometimes I'm reminded of a particular passage, and I'll skim through a book to find it and get sucked into the before and after. But mostly I think about all the books I haven't read yet, and spend my time with them.

Cipriano said...

C --
Wow, I have read ONCE all the books you mention re-reading, of these I would most like to re-read The Chysalids sometime. I read it in high school -- horse and buggy days!

Stefanie --
I am very much the same. I just always want to move on to something new... as your own blog states.... So Many Books! Indeed. And so little time!

Soph --
All of those books you re-read [and use in curriculum] are so worthy. Yann Martel, included. Is his stuff too whacky to be taught in a high-school English course, though? Please answer this question in person the next time you visit Ottawa.

Isabella --
Ahhh... another Narnia re-reader! We are kindred spirits, then. I agree though -- there are so many books on deck, I salivate at the thought of it all!