The Sunday Salon: To Reread or Not to Reread?

I’m not one for re-runs. I can probably count the movies I’ve seen twice on one hand (It’s a Wonderful Life, When Harry Met Sally, The Graduate, This is Spinal Tap). And aside from children’s books, I can’t think of many books I’ve read twice.

So even though I signed up for the Woolf in Winter read-along, I’d intended to skip Mrs. Dalloway, having read it in a college class a mere 20 years ago. (I’m still indebted to you, dear Dr. Young.) No need to revisit it so soon, I reasoned.

But I changed my mind and am very glad I did. This was kind of a slow reading week for me, so I’ve been spending most of this slate-gray rainy Sunday in my favorite place – my living room/library, surrounded by books and photos of loved ones – finishing the last 60 pages of Mrs. Dalloway. (I’ll have a post with my thoughts/review up soon. Better late than never to the Woolf in Winter party, right? “We are shockingly late, dear Mrs. Dalloway, we hardly dared to come in,” she [Lady Bradshaw] said.)

In reading some of the other Woolf in Winter posts, several bloggers have commented that this is a book to re-read. Having done just that, I agree.

It made me think: I keep my already-read books because I think that they are ones I might like to reread. (I’m getting much better at giving away books that I won’t.) But even though I want to reread them, I don’t. Why is that? Is it because there are too many other books to get to? Is it that I just like having them around, on days like this when I am sitting in the library with them nearby?

In looking at my shelves, there are several that would lend themselves well to a second go-around. The Complete Stories by Flannery O’Connor, absolutely. (Hmm … maybe I might need to create a Flannery O’Connor Reading Challenge if one doesn’t already exist.) Any of Lorrie Moore’s books, but especially the short story collection, Birds of America, are worth a reread. (I don’t know about her latest, as I haven’t read it.) There’s also Rachel Simon’s first book, a short story collection (are we sensing a theme here?) called Little Nightmares, Little Dreams.

There are also novels by Ursula Hegi that I wouldn’t mind rereading (Stones from the River), classics like A Catcher in the Rye, The Glass Menagerie, The Plague, and The Stranger. Nonfiction like Getting Things Done by David Allen (love him!) and Freakonomics, and oh – the columns by Darrell Sifford, a wonderful Philadelphia Inquirer columnist who passed away all too young.
Too many books to read and reread. Nowhere near enough time.
What are some books you’ve read more than once, and which ones are you longing to take another look at?

copyright 2010, Melissa (Betty and Boo’s Mommy, The Betty and Boo Chronicles) If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

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10 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon: To Reread or Not to Reread?

  1. Aarti

    I’m also not a big re-reader, but I started a re-read challenge this year (the Flashback Challenge) and every time I look at a book I plan to read with it, I get so excited! Clearly, I keep these books on my shelves for a reason 🙂 I don’t re-read EVERY book I enjoy, though. For me, it’s easier to re-read a light and fluffy book than a very emotional one. But I hope to do both this year!

  2. Booksnyc

    this is a great discussion topic! I, too, rarely re-read a book (or see a movie twice). There is so much waiting to be read that I always want to move to the next thing. With that said, I did buy Pride and Prejudice today which I read in high school but feels it warrants an adult read. Little Women also holds a special place in my heart – I have read it multiple times.

  3. Yogi♪♪♪

    Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, and Life on the Mississippi are books I’ve read several times as well as William Heat Least Moon’s Blue Highways.

    I used to buy books and then give them away now I use the library. If I want to reread something I can always check it out.

  4. Jessica

    I’ve read Pride & Prejudice probably 20 times – I never get tired of it. Bill Bryson’s “A Brief History of Nearly Everything” I’ve also read at least 10 times. Apart from that, though, I don’t do too much re-reading – my reading list is just too long.

  5. Literary Feline

    I can count on one hand the number of books I’ve read more than once. Like you, I often keep books around that I think I’ll likely read again one day. That day hasn’t yet come though. I’m sure it’s in large part because of all the unread books I have in the house. If they weren’t so handy, I might just pick up something I’d already read and want to revisit.

  6. Trisha

    I love re-reading books, but more and more I’m conscious of the fact that there are so many good books I haven’t read, and that makes it difficult to re-read my old favorites.

  7. Bored_D

    I am definitely a huge rereader… I’ve even been known to go out and buy a book if I read it and loved it so that I can have the pleasure of reading it all over again. Some of the books I’ve read over and over again are Gone with the Wind, anything by Jane Austen, and maybe some tried and true chicklit when I need something light to cheer me up. I guess sometimes I just love the comfort of picking up a book and knowing exactly where it’s going to take me and not having to worry about whether or not it’ll be worth the read.

  8. Eva

    I love rereading, and it upsets me that my rereading has slowed down considerably since I’ve begun blogging. This year, I want to get back into it. But I also love watching the same movies and TV on DVD series over and over again. lol

  9. Alexia561

    Very interesting post! I have several books on my keeper shelf, but haven’t gotten around to re-reading them yet. Think the only book I’ve re-read in quite awhile is Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. It’s one of my favorites, and I like to read it again about once a year or so.

    Why haven’t I gotten to any of the other books on my keeper shelf? Probably because I have so many unread books in my TBR piles, patiently sitting there, waiting their turn. How can I justify reading an old book when I have so many new books waiting? Maybe some day…

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