Re-reading novels – is life too short?

Being a member of a reading group I often find that the book chosen is something I have already read.  I used to feel it was a waste of time to re-read and tried to wing it by looking at a synopis online, but faced with Wolf Hall as our next choice might be wise and useful to re-read it? Will it give me a better ubooks-ahoynderstanding?   I re-read Wuthering Heights in my 30s and was saddened to see Heathcliffe as a tiresome bully instead of the hero of my teenage years.

Perhaps ones initial emotional response to a novel should not be tested with a second read. What do you think?

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Posted on March 2, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Very definitely reread. Do it all the time, if you’ve time! Sometimes we’re so swept along by a first reading and maybe by all the hype that has gone on to bring a book to our attention in the first place that our judgement is clouded. Rereading helps to shut out all the irrelevant chitchat and allows us to see the writing as it really is. Cassandra Clark

  2. Yes, definitely reread. I bet your comment about Heathcliffe will ruffle a few feathers though!

  3. I think instead of racing through a book to find out ‘what happens next’ you can take it slower on the second read and consider other things – language, characterisation, so it can be more satisfying. It’s got to be a good book though – well written.

  4. I think sadly, yes, life is too short to re-read. It’s an unhappy situation because I agree that you get different things from a book at different stages in your life, but there seems to be an increasing number of books I want to read and a decreasing time in which to do so. Love the comment about Heathcliffe, I wonder do you regret re-reading Wuthering Heights given that you lost a hero from your teenage years?

  5. Wolf Hall – Just re-read this and it was even more wonderful second time round. Descriptions beautifully written and evocative, Cromwell’s home life at Austen Friars especially enjoyed. Depth of information about the religious and social changes taking place are so interesting and I took more care reading about them the second time. And the weather! Missed the importance of the references the first time but once you notice it, the weather is everywhere – they even moan they don’t get proper winters or proper summers like they used to – humourous – but also serious points being made – poor harvests = starvation = dissatisfaction with king and his whore. Highly recommended.

  6. Yes, right now life is too short to reread novels There are many other novels that need ticking off on my list and not enough hours in the day! Maybe when im retired and have lots of time on my hands then maybe my thoughts may be different. So maybe its a matter of not having enough time rather than it not being a book good enough to reread?

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