Monday, March 7, 2011

Do You Re-Read?

There are two kinds of people in this world: people who re-read books and one-time readers. I am a re-reader.

A re-reader is someone who loves a book so much that she must re-read it on a regular basis. Sometimes, she loves a book so much that she reads it and then starts again from the beginning. These are books that she must have copies of and they must be neatly shelved, by author, in alphabetical or chronological order if it is a series. A one-time reader is someone who reads a book and thinks, “Wow, what a great book!” but doesn’t see the need to experience the pleasure of reading it more than once.

One of the problems with being a re-reader is that the list of books that you like to re-read on an annual basis grows on an annual basis. It used to be that every year, I would read all 58 books in Elinor M. Brent-Dyer’s Chalet School series, all of Antonia Forest’s books about the Marlowe family, Anne Digby’s Trebizon series and an assortment of other books such as and an assortment of other books such The Great Gatsby. I tend to dip in and out of books these days, reading my favorite parts when I think about them. With a job, a baby, a cycling team to coach and a book to write, I don’t have the luxury of time of being able to re-read the way I used to.

There’s nothing wrong with being a one-time reader. Clearly, if you spend less time re-reading, you have time to read more books. A one-time reader might also have fewer books than a re-reader but that’s not necessarily the case. Some people just like to have books around, even if they never plan to read them again.

I think I’ll always be a re-reader. I still love the experience of the plot unfolding, even if I know what is going to happen, and then savor the beauty of my favorite scenes and lines.

Which one are you? And what is your favorite book to re-read?


  1. I wish I read fast enough to re-read because I would. But I'm a painfully slow reader, savoring every word and often re-reading paragraphs I just read because I loved them so much (does that make me a re-reader then? ;-)). My list is so long and time so short. Can't wait for summer . . .

  2. I am also what louisamayalcottismypassion calls a painfully slow reader, for the same reason. I don't often re-read a book, although I have re-read the Chalet School books I own also plus a few others. I have often been sorry for this because I raced through so many books as a young teenager and never went back, for example, all of Jane Austen.

  3. Samantha:

    So true I re-read "Travels with Charley" Steinbeck, "Moods" Louisa May Alcott - first sentence alone :)

    I also have favorite chapters in books just in case I want to "run away fast." Christmas "Little Women"; Chapter 15 "White Heat" by Brenda Wineapple, "House of Seven Gables" any chapter or two at quick notice!

    I may have the read to fast issue, love the stories, get lost in the stories and never want to leave. What is on the next page? "complex"

    Glad to have found you on twitter and I thank you for your follow.

    I will be reading your blog and re reading to fast no doubt.

    All my best,


    Jennifer R. Bernard
    Photography by Jennifer

  4. I'm definitely a person who enjoys a re-read or two of a much loved book, but I don't necessarily do so on a regular basis. Some books that I've loved enough to reread in the past are Ann-Marie MacDonald's Fall On Your Knees and The Way the Crow Flies, Matt Cohen's Elizabeth and After, Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, and Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. There are many others as well that I haven't yet reread, but can imagine myself doing.