Reading Terry B.’s post about rereading (On Rereading on her blog Tip of the Iceberg) got me thinking about rereading (duh!). Then a few days later, I wrote about what books I would bring on a desert island and realized that of the 10 books I wanted to take with me , 7 of these were books I’ve already read.
These are great books – books by authors like Murakami, Oates, Irving, Tolstoy and more – so they are definitely worth to read more than once. One of these books – The World According to Garp by John Irving – I’ve read more times than I can count. I still want to read it again though.
But why don’t I reread more then? I’ve been doing the math. Last year, 2011, I reread one book (Wild Swans by Jung Chang). In 2010 I reread one book as well (The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry). Then in 2009 I reread 6 books (Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood, The Stand by Stephen King as well as 4 ya books by Maria Gripe). And then finally in 2008, I reread (Death: The Time of your life by Neil Gaiman, The World According to Garp by John Irving as well as the two Dirk Gently novels by Douglas Adams and some scrapbook books and Dragonlance novels.)
This means, that I used to reread but I don’t any more. I’ve read some great novels in my life so far – there’s no reason I shouldn’t reread them. And there are a lot of books I really want to reread. So I want to change my focus so when I’m choosing the next book to read, I just once in a while need to think about the books I’ve already have read and choose one of those.
Terri B. shared a wonderful quote: Books helps to constitute our identity (from Patricia Meyer Spacks’ book The Female Imagination). I think the books we’ve read and loved in our lives say a lot about who we are. And the books we want to continue reading, say even more.
So here’s to rereading. Here’s to once in a while picking up a book you know you love, and read it once again. Fall in love with the characters again and maybe get a glimpse into who you used to be when you read it last.