The Great Thing About Rereading Beloved Books
Books, books, and more books! If you were to look at my various TBR piles littering every room in my house, you would think I never have a need to reread any book. You would be wrong.
I do have a dirty secret that I am going to come clean on though. When I was in jr. high and high school I hated reading. Well, let me clarify a bit; I hated being assigned reading. I am to this day a slow reader. I never learned the art of skimming a piece of writing to gain the meaning from it.
This was a huge stressor for me in school, even through college. When the teacher would say “read the next 30 pages for tomorrow”, I knew I had two choices, (no internet back then), I could stay up all night trying to get through the pages, or I could read the first half of the pages, and the last 5 or so pages, and pray that would be enough. So, no one was more surprised when I rounded out my teaching career as a high school English teacher.
Fast forward to today, I am still a slow reader. I never offer to read a full length novel for someone on a deadline, and I am not going to sign up to judge a contest either. Not that I wouldn’t enjoy both, but because I will make myself crazy trying to make a deadline. However, I do love to read, and yes, I have been known to reread a book here and there.
I never did this, until I was actually teaching and had to teach the same book year after year. I needed make sure that I was current on each book, because after a year some of the details can go fuzzy. Do you know what I learned in doing this? No matter how many times I reread a well constructed book, I learn something new, or see something from a different perspective, because I have more life experience every time I reread.
No matter what book it is, I have found that different aspects jump out at me. One time I may fully relate to conflict the hero is facing and all that emotion the hero will need to get through it. Another time, I may see the perspective of another character, or pick up more subtleties and metaphors in the writing than I did, initially enjoying the story. No matter if it is trade fiction, non-fiction, or “literature”, A good book has more layers than anyone can fully appreciate in one sitting.
For example, I read Lord of the Flies, by William Golding with my freshmen every year, just like I
did when I was in high school. In high school, I actually enjoyed the book, mainly because it was “thin”, anyone remember that bar for choosing a book? However, when I went back to it as an adult, when my own world was not framed in the fog of adolescence, I understood it on a new level. I related to other characters that I had not previously, and the subtle metaphors that Golding does a fantastic job at creating, I mean seriously every character is a metaphor for something, I finally was able to appreciate. I am a firm believer that reading good books is wasted on the young.
Now, as for my favorite adult reads that just feel good to me, I would put Pride and Prejudice at the top. I seem to pick up a copy of that at least once a year and still read it through with a
hunger that you would think would be tempered over the years. It just makes me feel good.
Another story I find I reread whenever I need a pick me up is Karen Hawkin’s Confessions of a
Scoundrel. Again, I can relate so fully to that character, I feel like I am talking to a friend when I read that book.
This post is getting kind of wordy, so I will stop there, but know I could go on with more books that I love to revisit from time to time, because they feel like home.
If you have never reread a book, I highly suggest you think back to a book that held some meaning to you when you were younger and experience it eyes that have seen more of the world and see how that changes the book for you.
If you surround yourself with books, you are never truly alone.
Next up, we have Leslie Hachtel
And don’t forget to check out her newest book, The Dream Dancer, the first book in her Dream Dancer Series!