Thursday, December 15, 2011

Do You Re-Read Books?

I finally broke down and bought another bookshelf. I’ve been trying to organize my books, but all I could really do was make nice straight piles in front of one bookcase, double up books in another, well, you get the picture.

My family had suggested I just get rid of some books, and I really thought about it. I started going through them, just to see if there were any that I could get rid of. That ended up being quite the experience. It was like I was lost in a chocolate box and I had to try the best ones to remember all the flavors. I would flip through books to read all the best parts, re-read scenes that I had loved, and reminisce about characters that had stuck with me. It was really fun, but didn’t help my book problem. (Although in my defense, since I’ve had my Kindle I haven’t really bought any more physical books, it’s just a matter of organizing the ones I already have.)

A lot of it is the fact that I do like to re-read parts of my books. On rainy days I have my go-to favorites that I read again and again. I would like to think that there are people out there that feel the same way about some of my books---memorable characters and scenes you just want to read one more time. I think that’s part of an author’s job, to create stories and people that a reader can love and relate to as if they were real. And if an author doesn’t dig deep enough that won’t happen. Humans are intricate beings. Our world is complicated. Stories that combine the two can be wonderfully engaging.

Do you have books you like to read over and over? What keeps bringing you back to it?


mooderino said...

i do have books I reread, but I used to have loads that I never touched and got rid of them. Don't miss them at all.


Debra Erfert said...

I did have books that I reread, but since I started writing and could shape what the characters did from scene to scene, I don't have time to read any book more than once--okay, maybe twice. I have read my manuscripts dozens, if not hundreds of times. If I go back and click in on a scene at random, I'll absolutely need to finish the whole thing. I don't feel that compulsion with other's books. I guess we all have that special connection with our characters.

If I do want to read a certain book over again, it is because of the characters, and not because of the actions, necessarily. If I don't feel for the people, I couldn't care less for what's happening. Character driven books are what drive me to read. Of course putting the characters I love in a little danger goes a long way in keeping my interest too.

Melanie Goldmund said...

Oh, yes, I re-read books. For example, when I was a teen and twen, I used to re-read the Anne McCaffrey books over and over again, especially the HarperHall trilogy about Menolly. Other authors that I frequently revisited included Gillian Bradshaw, especially The Beacon at Alexandria, Josephine Tey, Michelle Magorian ... so many. If I don't do as much re-reading now, it's because I'm part of an online book swap program and I'm often eager to trade one book for a new one. But I want to re-read the Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson, too, especially now that a new book in that series has just come out.

Like Debra said, it's usually because of the characters in the books. In a way, it's like visiting old friends again, seeing someone that you haven't seen for a while. I want to go back and re-live their adventures, and/or re-visit a particularly vividly described world at the same time. If I let long enough go by between re-reads, there's a mixture of familiarity and newness when I find things that I'd forgotten. And you know how some foods are "comfort foods"? Lots of books are like that for me; comfort books.

But there are other books that I can read just once, and don't necessarily want to keep. Then I just swap them for something else. The problem is that my "keepers" are gaining the upper hand, and I am also running out of space. But you just can't give your friends away!

Sarah Pearson said...

I have always had certain books that I read over and over, but in the last couple of years I have had real problems with my memory, which basically means I can't remember anything so it's like all my books are new again :-)

Jon Spell said...

Favorite series get re-read, although not lately. (sigh) Harry Potter, the Sunrunner books, *hat tip* to Melanie: Pern sagas, Myth Adventures, Vlad Taltos, Narnia. (Heck, I even re-read all 4 of the David Eddings series, and each one feels like the last one. Wait, is this the one where a group of adventurers who are like family journey to find some sort of gem that used to belong to a god? Oh, Ok, I've read this one.)

I have a small temptation to read through the whole Wheel of Time again to properly prepare for the last book coming out next year(?) but 14 loooooong books might dissuade me.

Chris said...

HOnestly I re-read most books if I enjoyed them! WHy not? We watch movies over and over again, and we don't enjoy them less just because we have seen them before. I re-read my favorites (or even not favorites, just books I enjoyed and want to visit again) because they are just so fun to re-read!