“Rereading, we find a new book.” – Mason Cooley
My wonderful sister, who knows how I panic over coming up with blog ideas, recently forwarded me a Dear Book Lover column by Cynthia Crossen in the Wall Street Journal. It featured a letter from a woman who liked to read the same novels over and over. The woman seemed a bit apologetic about it.
The article states: “And Nabokov wrote, "When we read a book for the first time the very process of laboriously moving our eyes from left to right, line after line, page after page, this complicated physical work upon the book, this stands between us and artistic appreciation."
I’m embarrassed to admit I can’t think of a book I’ve reread (with two exceptions). My own manuscripts are exceptions because the editing process makes rereading a gazillion times mandatory. The children’s books that I’ve read aloud, first to my daughter and then to my grandson, are another exception.
The article goes on to say: “In praise of rereading in the New York Review of Books, Larry McMurtry wrote, "Reversal of fortune can, I suspect, be a spur to rereading; where once one had read for adventure, now one rereads for the safety of the unvarying text."
Looking over the books on my shelves, I spot books that I thoroughly enjoyed and may even appreciate more the second or third time through. But these same shelves also contain many books I haven’t had the opportunity to read yet. Those books look more enticing to me because I don’t know how they end. Besides the books on my shelves, I have a long list of other books I want to buy to read, plus there are new releases daily. In other words, so many books and so little time.
I agree with Ms. Crossen when she says: “If rereading enriches, however, it also lacks the thrill of the chase, the feeling of being mugged by the writer and forcibly hauled into a previously unimaginable world.”
According to an article I found from the American Library Association, the most reread books were (Sorry, the most recent survey I found was from 2004, but my research was limited by some very important factors, such as the rapidly approaching happy hour.):
J.R.R. Tolkien - The Lord of the Rings
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Shakespeare's collected works
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
Jane Austen - Pride and Prejudice
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter series
Laura Ingalls Wilder - Little House on the Prairie series
A.A. Milne - Winnie the Pooh
Alice Walker - The Color Purple
What about you? Are you a one-time reader or a rereader? What books do you reread?
Thanks for stopping by,
Tags: Mason Cooley, Wall Street Journal, Nabokov, McMurtry, Tolkien, Rowling, Dickens,