Every once in a while, someone will tell me that she or he doesn’t reread books because there are just too many books. Unless you’ve read all that you want to read at least once, isn’t it a waste of time to reread the same book?

I see the logic.

For me, however, pleasure enters in. I reread books because I want to. Because rereading books gives me pleasure. For me, it’s the same as listening to a favorite song over and over or revisiting my favorites in a museum.

Right now, I’m rereading Anna Karenina, on maybe my third or fourth go-round. My husband’s reading it gave me the motivation. It’s fun to refresh my memory and talk to him about it as we progress. It’s interesting to see what I remember (the sweet beauty of the Kitty and Levin relationship) and what I’ve forgotten (the tedium of some of the political arguments). There’s a lot about agriculture in Anna Karenina!

I’ve probably reread The Catcher in the Rye the most, although not for many years. I think the count was around twenty readings when I last estimated. Charlotte’s Web is up there also, as are the two other books pictured above.

During the pandemic quarantine, I craved re-experiencing beloved books rather than encountering new ones. In 2020, I reread (looking at my list) David Copperfield, So Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Sense and Sensibility (are you picking up a theme?), Wuthering Heights, To the Lighthouse, and others. Locked up at home, stressed and worried, I soaked up comforting, familiar things, and there was a lot of time for reading.

Do you who avoid rereading books also avoid re-watching movies? I suspect so. No surprise: I’m on the re-watching team.

Where do you stand? If you’re a rereader (or rewatcher), what books and movies do you return to? If you’re not, why not?

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6 Responses to Reading/Rereading

  1. Kathy says:

    Anne Tyler is excellent for rereading.

  2. Kathy says:

    How about Crime and Punishment? :–)

  3. Kathy says:

    Selecting favorites for your book clubs is a good trick for guilt-free rereading.

  4. Roger Talbott says:

    You do a great job of inviting people to comment. I belong to three book clubs. A third — a science fiction book club — recently folded. I also am studying the book of Job with a rabbi and a Jewish writer/activist. So, I’m struggling just to keep up. Although I’m squeezing some science fiction in anyway. Ironically, it’s the book clubs that have encouraged me to revisit some of the things I read before. Asimov’s first FOUNDATION novel didn’t hold up. Canticle for Leibovitz did. Just reread Circe by Madeline Miller. I love that book. Thanks for encouraging me to think about this. I may push some of my old fav’s on to my new book clubs.

  5. Bill says:

    I’ve reread little, though the thought of retirement offers an opportunity to (re)read more. The Sound and the Fury sticks out from the few books I have reread. The first time through may as well have been gibberish, but I’ve come to enjoy the (tragic) escapades of the Compson family after a couple more visits.
    …but movies, Forest Gump is culturally so familiar to me. Raising Arizona is my favorite comedy (silly), and I enjoy the dialog in movies such as All About Eve and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf.

  6. Jewel Moulthrop says:

    I used to be part of the “too many books; too little time” crowd. Not any more. Especially in times of anxiety and uncertainty, returning to old favorites–books and movies–brings a unique kind of comfort. My faves: Jane Austen, for sure. Also Joan Didion (her fiction), Anne Tyler, and George Eliot. Movies: GWTW, Mr. Roberts, Singin’ in the Rain, The Americanization of Emily, The Heiress, and Tom Jones!

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