27 May 2012

Sunday Salon: More Thoughts on Re-Reading

I was listening to the Books on the Nightstand episode about re-reading books today, and it made me revisit my own thoughts on re-reading books. In the past, I've asserted that I am not the type to go back to any type of media except music. As I get older I find my stance on re-watching movies and TV shows has softened, mainly because there aren't a lot of new movies and shows that give me the same stirring of emotion that I get from my past favorites. With books, however, I still have trouble understanding how people re-read them. The few times I've tried, I ended up getting bored. When J. K. Rowling was still in the midst of writing the Harry Potter series and the time would stretch out between books, I would attempt to re-read the last book in preparation for the upcoming installment. Invariably, I would get one or two chapters in, the entire plot would coming flooding back into my memory, and then I would lose interest in finishing.

Lately, though, there have been a couple books I've thought about reading again. One is The Great Gatsby.  I learned to read before I started kindergarten and had a mother who did not buy me books but also didn't monitor what I read. This meant that I grabbed books whenever I came across them and a lot of them were too advanced for me. Even though I read The Great Gatsby, I could not tell you what it was about because I didn't understand it when I was reading it around age 12. There are other books like this that I feel I should read again because they are considered classics and I am now mature enough to decipher them.

CURRENTLY READING: A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick. This book is more literary than I expected. I'm not a scholar, so my definition of "literary" is that the book tells you about what the characters are thinking rather than showcasing dialogue and action. For me, reading literary fiction is difficult because with every page I find myself wondering when the characters are going to do something. So far Goolrick has injected a bit of dialogue and movement just when I'm ready to throw the book down in disgust. I've got a cozy mystery on my bedside table that would be a much easier read, though, so it will take discipline for me to  finish this book.  I don't really have to because it isn't for a class or review or anything, but I get mad at myself when I give up on a book just because it is challenging.

6 comments:

Laura @ The Shabby Rabbit said...

I feel the same way about some book i've read. weather I read them too early or when I was in a different place in my life.

But I've never read The Great Gatsby and its on one of my challenge lists so I'm very much looking forward to it!

Lisa said...

Great Gatsby is increasingly on my "must read soon" list. The one I read too early and don't understand the love of is The Catcher in the Rye.

Dani in NC said...

Lisa, I almost mentioned "Catcher in the Rye" in the post. Like you, I read this book way too early and didn't understand it. That's the only reason I feel that I can read it again -- I am drawing a total blank on the plot!

Shannon @ Reading Has Purpose said...

I'm actually participating in a Re-Read challenge this year. There are some books that have such an impact on my life that I think it would almost be negligent to never pick them up again. The book that I will re-read next is Money:What Financial Experts Will Never Tell You.

Nose_in_a_book said...

I don't re-read books very often but I do think it's a sign of a genuinely good book if you can re-read it and still enjoy it.

Dani in NC said...

Shannon, I don't count nonfiction books when I say I don't re-read. If I have decided to something like save money and then I find my resolve wavering, I will reread the book that encouraged me in the first place.