18 April 2011

Reading Monday - do you re-read?

As you are reading this I am whizzing through the air from one coast to another. Or I'm home and lying down recovering from this. Either way, there is something you can depend on - I will be reading. The thought of being 'out of a book' strikes terror deep in my heart. Luckily, unlike some of my friends, I am a happy re-reader. I will read books again and again. It has to be the 'right' time though. If I'm unhappy in book land then I scour the shelves and come across an old favourite - recently it was a book I've read about four or five times. It had been awhile and I was ready to leap into visiting my friends again. As I've explained to those of you who don't re-read, I don't get bored with hearing the story again, just as I don't get bored with hearing your stories again. I know, I know, you tell it slightly differently each time and my life is different so I hear it in a new way BUT my dears, the same thing happens when I re-read a book. Sure the writing is the same but I notice different elements of the story based on my own experiences and state of mind. Reading isn't a passive act. Not to go all po-mo on you - we're part of the equation of the literary experience.

a very young Margaret Drabble

The book I was reading was Margaret Drabble's The Radiant Way. Having devoured this wonderfully rich story of life in Britain during the Thatcher years (shudder), I went on to read the other two in the trilogy - A Natural Curiosity and The Gates of Ivory. All of Drabble's books are brilliant. She has a Dickensian way about her and can write stream of consciousness (as he could) without it being the least bit irritating. And she describes women's friendships in an acceptable way to me. I think she actually has female friends and has had babies and struggles and poverty and all - it is real. This is Drabble in her middle years writing about that time. For those of you who haven't read Drabble, you might start with her earlier books - I particularly like The Waterfall and The Millstone but as I say - I haven't read any that I don't like. Wait, there is one - a more recent one called The Red Queen which didn't grab me. But 16 out of 17 is pretty good! I envy those of you who haven't read her as you'll have this rich resource of books and not need to be 'out of a book' for simply ages. These books are usually in libraries. Dive in, have fun and let me know what you think.
And tell me - do you re-read?


Cruella Collett said...

I do, or I did. Children's books - I've re-read every book we ever owned. When I grew older, however, there were more books to choose from, and suddenly I didn't have time to re-read. I could only read, to wolf down more, I had to get to it all.

Now I've realized that I won't get to it all. Perhaps I should also realize that I should allow myself the pleasure of re-reading a few favourites? These days I only pick up "The Secret Garden" once a year - other than that, they're all new.

Happy whizzing!

Amber T. Smith said...

I re-read all the time. In fact, there aren't *many* books on my bookshelf that I haven't read at least three times. I always find something I missed before, plus I love the comfort that the familiarity brings.

The Yard Bard said...

I think that's a large part of why I have books -- to re-read any time I want. Even if it's just one particular passage. I've re-read nearly every book on our shelves, and will surely continue to do so. :)

ViolaNut said...

When I was a kid, I re-read everything, because I read so fast I always finished the stack from the library before it was time to replenish and we didn't have the money to feed the addiction. ;-) Now I work at a bookstore... and there's always something new! I admit I've reread all my Harry Potters (most notably the day after release, when I read slower in case I missed anything in the mad midnight dash to find out what happened!), and a couple of word-nerd books, but in the past five years or so, not much else. Unless my income heads upward again soon though, there's a lot more rereading in my future!

Natasha said...

Do I re-read? That's like asking me if I re-breathe! Of course I do. The first time you are driving down a scenic route, you take in the scenery, the next time, you start noticing the specifics, the third time you look at the exact position of the rocks..... of course you get the drift- you re-read too.
Even when I have two new books waiting to be read, I often pick up an old favourite, because I want to.

But, I must confess, I re-read a lot less now than I used to. There was a time when I read every book twice, the second time almost immediately after the first. Now, that is reserved only for the books I really really love.

And never read Margret Drabble. Must.