Friday, January 15, 2010

Re-Reading

How many of you have favorite books you re-read many times? Maybe a childhood favorite that every few years you drag off the shelf and read again. Maybe a new book that was so different and interesting, you revisit it to make sure you didn’t miss any fabulous tidbits or ideas.

My husband will do that with movies. I might watch a movie at the theatre and later rent the DVD to watch. My husband likes to buy DVDs so he can watch movies over and over. He’ll pick something like The Bourne Identity and watch it, then watch it again a month or so later and then … again and again. I can’t do that. About the only movie I can tolerate more than perhaps twice is Jumping Jack Flash, my favorite, although I haven’t seen that in years.

My daughter gave my husband, one Christmas, a full season of the TV show 24. He’s a huge fan of that show. He watches it every week and if he’s out of town, I have to tape it for him. He’s seen them all. But that didn’t stop him from beginning a 24 marathon the day after Christmas.

We’re not even on the same wavelength when it comes to some TV shows. He likes 24, obviously. I like The Good Wife. But, oddly, we tend to like the same books. We’re both into Lee Child and are working our way through the series.

I don’t see myself re-reading the Child books, but I do occasionally re-read a book in order to study the structure or skeleton of the writing.

Honestly, I don’t re-read many books. I’m usually ready to move on to something new. What about you?
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45 comments:

  1. My memory is so horrible, Helen, that I can reread books in a year's time and not remember them!

    Elizabeth
    Mystery Writing is Murder
    Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen

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  2. Both my husband and son will watch movies over and over again - once is enough for me with movies and books.

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  3. I love rereading books! I think I read Gone With the Wind every year from when I was fourteen until I was thirty. I haven't in a long while though. Usually what I do is I look through my books and find one that I haven't read in awhile. I might pick it up and hold it and think -"now?" and sometimes it is yes and sometimes it is not yet. My best friend never reads fiction more than once - she is askance that I do - 'but you know the story' she might say. And I will reply 'and we've been telling each other the same stories for thirty five years and I'm not tired of them - are you?". Luckily I am a very fast reader because I also adore new books! Speaking of which, yesterday I found a new little bookstore in Halifax called The Jade W., new and used, and I found another book by Hilary Mantel - this one is on the French Revolution. Yum!

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  4. I don't re-read either, unless it's a reference book. Those I have a hard time assimilating all at once and remembering it all.

    I do watch movies more than once, but that's usually if nothing else is on. I watched Pretty Woman again last night. I was going to watch a few minutes, but all of a sudden I was still watching it until the end. I tend to do that with romance movies I really like, but prefer something fresh if given the choice. I don't buy DVDs unless they're at the library sale and are so cheap I don't feel bad about it. Those I bring with on vacation in case it's an off day on TV or at the casino.

    Morgan Mandel
    http://morganmandel.blogspot.com

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  5. When I was younger (before I started to write), I used to re-read certain books (I read the entire HOBBIT/LOTR trilogy every few years, and I'd go back and read various Robert B. Parker books).

    Lately, though, like you, there are too many books I want to read ONE time for me to re-read books.

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  6. I'm a rereader. I have one or two books I've read at least a couple dozen times (Witches of Karres by H. Schmidt) and others I've read ten or more times. If it's a series, I tend to reread the preceding books before reading a newly released sequel.

    However in recent years I've bought so many books I haven't reread very much. I have to really love it to do that. (Sunshine by Robin McKinley, the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs, or the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews are the ones I've reread the most in the past couple of years.)

    As far as rewatching movies, I and on and off the fence as far as that goes. When I was working shiftwork upwards of 80 hours a week for severalyears, I tended to rewatch movies a lot. I think that Conspiracy Theory and Grease were the top two contenders. But the all-time, I-can-watch-this-over-and-over movie is The Santa Clause. I just love that movie for some reason!

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  7. I always knew I re-read a lot, but since I started keeping track of my read books, I have proof.

    Half the books I read last year were books I'd read before, and I read at least 20 books twice in the same year. Re-reading something I love is like putting on a fuzzy bathrobe and curling up in front of a fire. It just feels like home.

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  8. So many of you reread favorite books. That's wonderful. And it's so interesting to hear which ones you love to read again and again.

    writtenwyrdd, I totally identify with you on being not sure why you re-watch a movie (yours was The Santa Clause, mine is Jumpin' Jack Flash). JJF is probably a B+ movie, but for some reason it just makes me chortle.

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  9. I reread the classics such as Hammett, Chandler and John D. MacDonald and frequently revisit parts of current favorites. I'll drop everything if one of the Godfather movies is on and my wife does the same for certain romantic comedies. We'll both drop everything if Kill Bill is on.

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  10. Years ago I re-read one of Kathleen Woodiwiss' books over and over. Now I can't even remember the title of it. As for movies, I tend to watch them over and over again too. Sometimes I watch them and sometimes I just listen with it playing in the background. Two movies I could almost tell you word for word what they're saying, "Pirates" by Johnny Depp (the first one) and "Independence Day" with Will Smith. Not sure why I keep going back to that one. For awhile it was "The Abyss."

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  11. Very, very few. But there are those few. Jane Eyre is one. I'll pick that up every few years or so. And Alice Hoffman's The Ice Queen. I reread that as soon as I'd finished the first read!

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  12. I tend not to re-read as there are so many good books to get to.

    I have made a couple of exceptions over the years and revisited The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Stand, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenace and The Razors Edge.

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  13. I don't re-read books, but I do watch moves I love over and over. BTW, I love Jumpin' Jack Flash, too. Just watched it again recently. Whoopi is amazing. I've seen West Side Story about 16 times, as well as other musicals. There's a comfort in knowing what's coming, I guess.
    karen

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  14. Yes, I re-read, normally my history books though. There are so many factoids pack in them that it's easy to forget that Alexander Hamilton was with Washington when he crossed the Delaware, or that he made a night assault on a British outpost at Yorktown.---You never know when you'll need that kinda info. (Grin.)


    Best Wishes Galen.
    Imagineering Fiction Blog

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  15. There are certain series I like to reread at least once a year. And then, every now and then, something I'm writing reminds me of a book I once read so I'll reread that book too.

    I also do the same with movies.

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  16. I have a bookshelf full or books that I can't part with because I love to reread. Eventually, I have to make myself purge, and then I donate them to the library.

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  17. I just re-read On Writing after recommending it to someone and realised I do many things Mr. King frowns upon (i.e. plot mapping)

    I like re-reading books because like Elizabeth I forget them. Also, I love stories a lot and can't easily distance myself enough to read as a writer so sometimes I re-read and try to keep myself pulled out of the story and look at things as a writer.

    I watch movies over and over too. The English Patient? Forget it- I'm in the double digits- AND I still cry!!And my husband ALWAYS falls asleep.

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  18. My husband also watches the same films on DVD over and over. His favorites are "Independence Day," "Armegeden" and "Top Gun," which he wants me to watch with him. He's also into all the "Star Trek" versions which I don't mind watching after a year or so. I've reread very few books because there are so many good ones out there to read.

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  19. I watch movies over and over - my favorites are The Big Sleep (Bogie/Bacall) and My Man Godfrey, but I'll watch anything that I liked multiple times. As for books, I've re-read The Count of Monte Cristo, Something Wicked This Way Comes, A Prayer for Owen Meany and Cannery Row at least twice. I also go back to books I like and re-read passages, just to study the writer's technique.
    P.S. It helps that I'm a fast reader.

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  20. I don't forget my favorite books, but I do enjoy re-reading them from time to time. Especially when I go away and am staying in a hotel.

    I love re-reading Truman Capote's short story, The Grass Harp. Of course, Jane Austen is wonderful to visit over and over.

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  21. My DH has so many DVDs, I'll go into a video store and end up getting him nothing 'cause I can't remember whether he already has it.

    My TBR pile is so tall, I would feel guilty picking up an already-read book.

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  22. I often re-read books. It's fun!

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  23. At the moment, my tbr pile is close to 450...and I just ordered another set of books from amazon. Addiction? Oh yes...

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  24. I have one movie like your Jumping Jack Flash. Mine is Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

    As to books, there's one book I've read three times. Another twice. These are the stand-out ones. There've been a few others, but not many. There's usually some reason that makes me go back and re-read, beyond the fact that I enjoyed the book enough to keep it in the first place.

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  25. I have bought a lot of DVDs and books thinking that I'm going to rewatch or reread. But I rarely do, because there are always so many new ones to digest or old ones that I haven't yet experienced. Although some musicals I have gone back to more than once as well as some of my favorite films like "Wizard of Oz" or "Apocalypse Now". A book is more difficult for me because it's so much more of a time investment.
    Lee
    http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/

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  26. I, too, forget what I've read, and re-read books, often not realizing I've read a book before until just before the end. Maybe like Miriam, I should start keeping track of what I read.
    I often re-read Carl Hiaasen's books just to see how he does it!
    I asked for the DVD of Mama Mia because it is so cheering to me and fun to re-watch when I'm blue.

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  27. I should keep a list of books I've read, too. I don't. But I should.

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  28. I'm a re-reader. And I watch movies more than once, too.

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  29. Not to scare you, but there's probably over 200 books I've read more than once! I've read Watership Down at LEAST 50 times. I always find something new, but it's probably the comfort of familiar characters that cause me to return.

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  30. There are many books I've read more than once. I've probably read To Kill A Mockingbird 30 times. Little Women, A Wrinkle In Time...just to name a few more that I feel compelled to read over and over.

    There are even more movies that I have watched repeatedly. Many to the point that I can recite the dialog. In most cases with movies, I re-watch just because they happen to be on cable when I sit down to watch TV.

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  31. As you wrote, there are so many good books out there that I don't reread fiction.
    My TBR shelves are huge so I always have a big selection of books I haven't read.
    My husband and I both read a lot and share similar tastes in many authors.
    Of course, my collection of nonfiction always remains on my book shelves, to be consulted. C.S. Lewis has the prime position there, and also gardening books.

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  32. I re read and re watch all the time I have a horrible memory but also I like the comfort factor of visiting an old friend.

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  33. Y'all have convinced me of the merits of re-reading. If I ever whittle down my TBR file, I am going to re-read before buying another book!

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  34. in the mid 90s I swore off buying any new books until I reread the ones I already had. I didn't have more than maybe 300 at that time...and it took most of a year of rereading until I reread all the ones I was willing to.

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  35. I also rarely re-read, but I do with some classics, like Tolkien and Austen and Dickens. I also re-read children's books, like Dahl and Lewis, mostly because I'm reading them to my children, but also because I enjoy them so much. As for re-reading for educational purposes, I plan to re-read several Eudora Welty books that I own (because I think her dialogue is incredible) and a book of Katherine Mansfield's short stories (because she has a spark in her writing that fascinates me).

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  36. I re-read (as in numerous times) many of my favorite books. They are like cherished friends to me.

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  37. I have several books that I re-read, but the most dog-eared of those is a book of short stories by Roald Dahl.

    (I'm new to your blog. Wish I'd found it sooner.)

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  38. As with so many things, it depends. I have certain books & movie I can rewatch/reread. Others - not a chance. Lord of the Rings I can reread/rewatch a lot. I tend to watch it every year when I'm wrapping Xmas presents. :)

    Most of my repeats are scifi and fantasy now that I think about it. Hmmm.

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  39. I have a special bookshelf full of favorites- mostly from childhood. Laura Ingalls Wilder, James Herriot, The Hobbit... Crystal Cave, even Nancy Drew and Cherry Ames then my all time fav- A Woman of Independent Means...
    Reading them again Is like running into an old friend- or like comfort food for the soul...
    I recently pulled "These Happy Golden Years" off the shelf and took it to the Y with me- made the elliptical seem like nothing

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  40. Welcome Laurita! Come again.

    So many favorite books. How many of you re-read your own books once they've been published?

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  41. I rarely reread a book, but did reread several of Rosamund Pilcher's books when I was temporarily out of reading material, especially The Shell Seekers. Her writing has strong settings--so much so, I think I'd recognize them if I ever visited the regions where they take place. As I child, I reread Little Women often. There are a few movies, though, that I enjoy watching over and over: Waking Ned Divine, Beaches, Sleeping with the Enemy, and Groundhog Day (every Feb. 2nd), to name a few.

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  42. I have all my writer's books that I continuously read and review. But, my favorite book, is These Is My Words. It's fiction diary entries of a young girl coming across the west by wagon train.

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  43. I can watch favourite movies over and over It's a marathon moment, and it's all about Simon time.

    I read Dean Koontz and Gerald Seymour again, and when I was a teen I'd reread Sven Hassell books. Rinse and repeat.

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  44. I don't reread many books or watch many movies over and over, although I will admit to watching The Man From Snowy River more than once, just for the incredible action scenes with horses.

    And I have read and re-read Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott for the inspiration and to savor her wit and use of language.

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  45. I DO reread books, but only specific ones. I've read Madeleine L'Engle's "A Wrinkle in Time" so many times you'd think I could quote it word for word, cover to cover by now.

    I'm reading a series by James A. Owen at the moment (now awaiting the next book...whenever that will be) and will definitly reread that one once all the books are in my posession.

    Happy Monday!
    Jen

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