However please feel free to discuss your current read or join in the conversation in any way that you see fit.
Lately I have been thinking about rereading a lot.
I used to reread all the time.
When I was a child it was often out of necessity. I didn’t have many books of my own, so I read the ones I did have over and over again until the next birthday or next Christmas brought in a new haul of new books!
Rereading favourite books seems like a natural thing to do. Who wouldn’t want to return to that place where we had such a good experience? That place where an amazing connection was had, new friends made and where a new world was inhabited.
Rereading can also tap into deeper psychological needs – our need to belong, to feel loved and understood, or simply just to feel something.
However Lisa @Bookshelf Fantasies recently provided an interesting provocation.
Rereading our favourites seems like an obvious and natural thing to do.
But what about rereading those books that left us saying ‘meh’ or those books we didn’t finish?
If we know that rereading our favourites can reveal new things with each reread, depending on our age, life experiences, mood etc, why not those books we failed to connect to first go?
I have never been able to finish Catch 22.
I’ve tried three times now.
I keep trying because Catch 22 is the favourite book of one of my best friends.
I love the start, but every time, I simply get tired of the whole premise and give up.
Burial Rites by Hannah Kent is another book I’ve tried to get into twice because a good friend loves it, but after a handful of chapters I go ‘meh’ and put it aside.
I’ve had plenty of rereading experiences where a once favourite book was reduced to ashes by a reread. The need it had fulfilled at one point was no longer relevant or needed. That’s okay.
I can remember it fondly as I book I loved when. It doesn’t have to connect to the older me as well.
Grand Days by Frank Moorhouse almost fell into this category.
I adored it in my twenties, I felt an incredible connection to the main character Edith. But a decade later it felt contrived and ridiculous and Edith was just annoying.
However thanks to the publication of the final book in the trilogy in my 40’s, I tried again. And once again I fell in love. A more tempered, reserved love, but love nonetheless!
The only book I can think of that vastly improved with a reread was Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park. My 2013 reread bumped it up from my least favourite Austen to one of my favourites instead!
What has been your experience with rereading?
Have you had another go at one of those old school texts that you hated and resented at the time, but loved in your 20’s, 30’s, 40’s…? Maybe you watched a movie interpretation of one of those ‘meh’ books that gave you cause to reconsider?
What are you currently reading or rereading?
The Fellowship of the Ring by J R R Tolkien
Why are you reading or rereading it now?
I’m rereading it for my #HLOTRreadalong2017.
I decided that I wanted to make some time to reread books this year.
Hosting a readalong has made it happen.
It’s also the 80th anniversary of the publication of The Hobbit this year, which seemed like a good time as any to revisit this classic fantasy series.
I had forgotten that it took nearly half the book for Frodo and company to even leave The Shire!
I’m fascinated by how carefully Tolkien builds the tension and danger levels.
All the action and drama in the movies almost from the word go, had made me forget that Tolkien was far more subtle at the beginning.
Which character do you relate to so far?
Frodo, of course.
Although, it’s very easy to feel connected to all the hobbits. Their simple pleasures – a comfortable, cosy home, good food, wine and friendly company – are mine too.
However, as an older reader this time around, I’m also relating to Aragorn more.
His desire to look out for the rather naive hobbits has a familiar parental feel about it.
Are you happy to continue?
Yes, yes, yes.
Although I’m pacing myself with this reread.
One – to enjoy the beautiful illustrated edition that I now have.
Two – to give myself ample time to read other books (for work) at the same time.
Three – to avoid the (usually self-imposed) blogging and reading pressure I feel when I join in challenges or readalongs. Reading (& blogging) should be fun, otherwise why are we doing it?!