How many of us see a movie a second, third, or even more times and always find something we missed? Well, it's no different when reading a book. Our brains cannot absorb all the information the first, second, or even third time around. So instead of letting those books sit on the shelf collecting dust, spending money buying new books, or spending gas money for a trip to the store or library, simply read those books again! Not only will you find those nuances you missed before but you'll also save oodles of money and you just might enjoy the second read more than the first.
By Deeli from Richland, WA
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I have been re-reading my collection of SF paperback books, some dating back to the late 50's when they sold for 25 or 35 cents! Nearly all of them are as if I was reading them for the first time. Quite amazing the change in writing styles over the last 50-60 years (grin). I have a few favorite authors whose books I have read a half dozen times over the years. The rest I have been giving away as none of my family has any interest is science fiction or fantasy. So if you have some books that you really enjoy, pack them away and dig them out in 4 or 5 years and read them again. You will certainly find something new in them each time you read them. Now some are just fluff but others that I categorize as 'hard science' fiction, are really interesting.
I have been doing that for years. The experiences I have had, the places I've gone, the people I've met; these all color how I read the book. I may have sympathized with a character years ago but change that upon re-reading.
I've reread my collection of "Little House On the Prairie" books so often that I can almost recite parts of them from memory, however, just the act of seeing the words on paper and reliving some of the hard times those people went through has often given me renewed energy when times were tough for us. I always say those books keep me grounded, and it's so true.
I love Nora Roberts and have just recently become acquainted with a Florida author Randy Wayne White who writes so much like John D. McDonald did that it's almost like having John D. back again. When he passed away, I was despondent for a whole year. I also loved Jean Auel and her "Clan of the Cave Bear" series. There was really nowhere for her to go when the 5th one had been written, and I was lonely for a while. Randy Wayne White's books take you to so many different and exotic places and are so full of adventure and great mystery that you can reread them over and over and still feel that you've been somewhere.
Books to me are like friends. I never ever will have too many and I'm never tired of them. They are a joy from the time I first read them until I finally might give them away. Then I still never forget them.
Great advice, Deeli.
I've been doing this too. I've also found books that I've bought and have never had time to read, so they've just sat on the shelf. I'm now making it my mission fo read my previously unread books rather than buy any more.
Consider joining paperbackswap.com and recycle your books while receiving new ones to read.
I used to hang onto books for many years "just in case I wanted to re-read them." I wound up with a couple hundred books, many of which I didn't really ejjoy the first time around so never would start it again.
After a while I decided to downsize my collection. I made a list of all my books. Then, I started keeping track of which ones I really did pick up to read a second time. If, after one year, I hadn't picked the book up again, it got donated to the library. Now I still have a few dozen books, but they are all ones that I enjoy and know that I will read over and over.
I do go to the library a lot. But I stop there on my way to or from other errands. I get not only books, but also audio books to listen to in the car whenever I go to the store or anywhere. Makes the car time go a lot more enjoyably without costing me a thing.
I have just started re-reading a collection and I can't believe how much I didn't remember!
I do that a lot. Sometimes you miss things, because you want to get to the end.
Good advice, Deeli! Some books just get better and better! I must confess that I seldom re-read books from my own collection, but I never tire of re-reading the books that I taught to my English classes at school, and I certainly discovered joys in them on the 2nd, 3rd or later readings. The Trumpet of the Swan got more hilarious every time I read it, and I am moved to tears just thinking about Island of the Blue Dolphins!
Wow. I do, then I decide whether or not to keep the books, or sell them. There's always something you missed the first two or four times.
Great post, Deeli. I have many books that I've read at least ten times each. All the Harry Potter books, the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evonavich, the Goldie Bear (she's a caterer who solves mysteries) series by Diane Mott Davidson, and many other complete series of mystery books, as well.
Amen! I can't tell you how many times I have read Captain and the Kings by Taylor Caldwell. I have also read A Tale of Two Cities several times.
I used to love rereading my old favorites, when I was reading with my eyes rather than my ears. :D
A couple I've read at least half a dozen times without getting bored: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. The story gets richer with each rereading.
I haven't reread as much since I switched to Talking Books, but have read Stephen King's Dark Tower series at least twice. (The ending of the series still ticks me off, lol!) I also enjoy several of Iris Johansen's, especially her Eve Duncan series, and Kathy Hogan Trocheck's, Callahan Garrity series. Dean Koontz's Moonlight Bay series has been especially enjoyable. I enjoy quirky characters.
As for SF, I also kinda enjoy noting the generational changes when I read older (Asimov, Bradbury) vs newer (Flint.) The real differences overall are mostly in the use of foul language, it's sad how often the "f-bomb" falls these days, in place of intelligent prose... ah, for the good old days!
I find I always enjoy the book even more the 2nd time, for the reasons you state. I can watch how the author carefully threads themes throughout.
I completely agree with you! My shelves are sagging under the weight of books - enough to keep me going for the rest of my life.
I'm with you, Deeli, I've re-read books since I was a kid. It really doesn't matter that I know what's coming next- real favourites I'm almost word perfect... Don't stop reading new ones as well though!
Marg from England.
I have said to myself many times "you need to just read what you have". But I still find myself in the book store or the book section in the thrift stores, smelling the pages and loving the feel of books! But it is excellent advice, some which I intend on following now. I'm going to put that extra effort, since I have the summer off, to read the ones I haven't. Then perhaps I will find something that I really don't like and it can go to a new home. OR maybe I'll find a new favourite!
I love paperbackswap.com. You pay only shipping when you send books out (discounted media mail rate) usually around $2.50 and get a great new book in return. You can also create wish lists so that when someone posts a book on your wish list - you get an email about it.
Most books I've gotten have been practically new! You can also join their sister sites - cdwap and dvdswap and transfer book credits to them.
Swapping a dvd or cd for another one costs only 50 cents plus minor postage. What a great deal!
I reread some books, however, in my apartment I don't have room to store many books. I get a large bag of books delivered to me from my library and I do buy a few paperbacks at discount stores. When I get done with them I pass them on to my 19 year old grandaugher who is even more hard up than I am.
I have numerous books that I love so much I will re-read them! I have a big box of them under my bed and occasionally I will slide it out from under it, remove a few, put a few back in. Some books I just didn't enjoy that much, they go into a give away box. But you are right, so many times I find something that I missed in it before!
You are so right! I've checked out a book from the library years ago, forgot that I read it and checked it out again years later. About a quarter of the way through, I remembered that I already read it! I finished it and yes, it was just as interesting as the first time. I'm in my 60's now, maybe that has something to do with the forgetting!
When I first read a book, I read it for the storyline. If it was any good at all, I go back once or even twice, right away, to get the nuances and the details. If I don't feel impelled to reread it right away, I probably won't later, so out it goes!
I have the bad habit of getting hooked on series. Since they typically come out at one- or two-year intervals, I generally start over at the first one, then read through the series until I come to the new one - then read it two or three times.
Every now and then we go up to the attic and bring down a few that haven't been unpacked since our last move, read them, and decide whether to keep them. My next project is rereading Asimov's Foundation series. With a 40-year supply of books, we really have enough to keep us busy the rest of our lives! But we do also enjoy reading new ones. :)
I have an extensive home library. I used to re-read through my collection every year. Now it usually takes me 2 years to complete. I don't have room for shelves so I can have them all on view. Most of my books are two deep. When I do my Spring cleaning. I move the front one to the back and the back ones to the front. That way I can assure myself or reading them all. Once in a while I get a new to me book (usually at a yard sale). So I add them to my current reading list. I do occasionally loan my books to friends but I write down who they are to assure getting them back.
My books are arranged alphabetically by the author. Although not in complete alphabetization. Just all the A authors together B's together etc. And I put all of one author's titles together. A few are arranged by subject matter. Although I don't read as much as I used to.
I usually work on three books at a time. One when in my reading space, one in the bathroom and one that I read when I go to doctor's office, at the pool or when I am waiting for some reason. Then I have audio books also to listen to when driving. I know it sounds like I do nothing else but read. But I am quite active in other ways and also have time to watch tv, do crafts. volunteer at the church, and I have a lady I help twice a day.
The test of a good book is - do you enjoy it even more the second time around? It is especially comforting to re-read an old favourite when feeling unwell. Most of my old favourites are supposed to be children's books, for example, Laura Ingalls Wilder, C.S. Lewis, Alison Uttley.
If I don't enjoy any book I abandon it. You don't have to persist, however brilliant the reviews are. To me, there is nothing clever about writing a book that is boring or difficult to read.
Good advice, Deeli! Although I often don't do this on purpose, I have done it many times by accident, because I buy a book at a yard sale by one of my favorite authors, thinking it is one I had missed, read it, and then discover I have read it before! I always enjoy it the second time. However, when I was teaching, I would re-read books multiple times, as I would have to re-read the book every time I taught it. If a book didn't stand up to multiple reads, then it wasn't worth teaching, or reading to the students in story time. I would guess that some books I have read over 20 times!
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