Do you reread books?
I think I reread more as a child…My beloved Bobbsey Twins books that lined my bookshelves. The Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace, which I checked out of our tiny local library every chance I could get. Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang, which I could probably recite for you word-for-word, here and now. The poetry of Shel Silverstein and Dennis Lee. My all-time favourite, Mandy (by Julie Andrews Edwards). And absolutely anything with Anne (yes, of Green Gables).
But as an adult, I often feel that with so many new books and authors to discover (and very limited time in which to discover them), I don’t want to “waste” my time rereading something I’ve read before.
There are exceptions of course…
- I first read Anita Diamant’s The Red Tent following a miscarriage and was comforted by its particularly female essense. Years later, as a mother, I was pulled back to it by the maternal comfort it offered. I’m sure it’s a story I’ll want to reread again in the future, as I see it as always having something thoughtful or wise to say about women and the bonds they share throughout life.
- Every once in a while I feel like I was born in the wrong century. No one but Jane can fill that void, and my mangled, dog-eared copies of Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park and Emma are a testament to how many times over the years they’ve help me escape the modern world.
- While hubby would most vehemently disagree, I think Life of Pi was a brilliant novel and it holds my record as being the only book I’ve ever finished and immediately reread from start to finish.
- When I mistakenly bought MaddAddam, thinking it was the second book of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian trilogy, I set it aside without reading it and forgot about it. When I finally got around to purchasing the actual second book, The Year of the Flood, too many years had passed since I had read the first book, Oryx and Crake, for me to fully remember the storyline, so I started the series over again. THEN, when I realized that the plots of the first two books take place in parallel, I read The Year of the Flood with Oryx and Crake open beside it for reference.By the time I finally got to MaddAddam, I had read Oryx and Crake three times and The Year of the Flood twice. And I’d read all three again in a heartbeat.
But a trilogy is nothing compared to what I’m rereading right now: Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series.
I started the series around the time the second book came out; it was 1987 and I was a tender 17. (The original The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger had been released in 1982 and although I was already a dedicated fan of King’s early novels in my teens, somehow I had never gotten around to this one.)
I then continued reading the series as the books were released: in 1991, 1997, 2003 and finally the last two in 2004 (from my teens through my 20s and into my 30s), but thanks to King’s arguments and afterwords, I always felt I was coming back to a familiar story and was never compelled to reread any of the installments.
That is until I came to the last line of that last, seventh book. At which point I had tears in my eyes and goosebumps all over my body and vowed that some day, with this new, earth-shattering knowledge in mind, I would reread them all.
Of course in September 2004 when I read that last line I was also dealing with my one-year-old son and soon to be pregnant with my daughter. The ensuing decade didn’t leave much time for reading anything, let alone REreading thousands of pages I’d already read.
But now (finally!) the books are becoming a movie! What better reason to revisit Roland and his ka-tet and relive their quest for the Dark Tower?
The minute I found out, I pulled out my dust-covered tomes and started rereading. At this point, I’m halfway through the fourth book, and since starting the series over, I have discovered there is an additional Dark Tower book, The Dark Tower IV S: The Wind Through the Keyhole. (Considering this one was released in April 2012, the same month that my then six-year-old daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, I’m not surprised it slipped my notice). Although officially the eighth book of the series, plot-wise it takes place between books IV and V (as a story within a story within a story), so that’s where I plan to read it (Note to hubby: my birthday is in less than a month and it’s on my wish list!)
What books have you reread and why? Which ones have you always wanted to reread but haven’t (and why not?)?
And now I’m off to reread a few thousand more pages…