Thursday Thoughts is a weekly meme hosted by Ok, let’s read. This is my first time doing it – I think it’s good to have a chance to discuss bookish things in a more structured manner.
So, on to the topic!
I reread books a lot. I love the familiarity of the words I read and I always feel like I’m among old friends when I read about characters I’ve met before – this is one of the reasons I like reading series as well. It’s like listening to a favourite song or rewatching a classic movie – it’s comforting because you know how the story will end and you feel at home. I don’t mind knowing all the plot twists.
I actually always find something new when rereading – whether it’s a particularly clever turn of phrase or something that I’ve managed to forget since the last time I’ve read the novel. Some books are just written in a way that makes my insides sing and I love the feeling so much I want to recreate it every so often.
That said, I’ve loved some books I could never, ever reread (well, I know I shouldn’t say “never” with such a conviction, but I just can’t imagine the circumstances that would make me pick up such a book twice). A perfect example of this is The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera – a book that tore open my heart and left a huge dent in it, but I never want to read it again.
Now for the books I have reread: I put them into two categories – the ones I’ve reread so many times I’ve lost count and those I’ve “only” reread once or twice. I would say that the main criterion I use when deciding what to reread is that I choose books that make me feel good. It’s as simple as that. I don’t care much about their literary value or genre (though they’re mostly fantasy or romance, because these two genres comprise the majority of what I read), just the “I am home” feeling that comes with them.
Books I reread very often
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – I’ve read this so many times I think I could recite half of it by heart. I don’t feel particular pride (or shame) over this, it’s just the way it is. I first read it in Slovenian, and if I remember correctly, the translation is really good, but I’ve since adopted the English version completely. Another favourite by Ms Austen is Persuasion, though I haven’t read it quite as often as Pride.
The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien. These two I blame for sparking my undying love of epic fantasy. I know they’re chock-full of problematic issues (like the black-and-white characters and abysmal lack of women), but they’re the trigger that pushed me to try out other, more complex fantasy I’ve read since.
The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. I don’t think this one needs any additional explanation. My favourite is The Half-Blood Prince and my least favourite The Order of the Phoenix.
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky – I know this is an unusual choice and it’s been a while since I last read it, but there was this period in my life when I first had to read it (for school) and then I couldn’t put it down. I must have read it five or six times … It just stuck with me.
Then, there are the books I’ve translated, which I necessarily read at least five times before they go into print. Some I’ve loved rereading (The Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy and Ketchup Clouds, for example), and some were quite excruciating by the fifth reread, but it’s all part of the job I love.
Books I’ve reread once or twice
- Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer and The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins – this was partly due to my PhD thesis and partly because I liked them enough to give them a second try.
- The Cynster series by Stephanie Laurens – she is one of the best historical romance authors I’ve ever read and I love her novels.
- Most of Karen Hawkins‘ works – ditto for what I wrote about Laurens, but Hawkins has this great sense of humor that I just can’t resist. I’d read anything she wrote, basically.
- Katie Fforde’s Wedding Season – a really sweet contemporary romance!
- The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch and The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss – these two gentlemen are, I think, my favourite fantasy writers of all time (and that’s saying something). I’m waiting impatiently for the next instalments of their series.
- Amelie Nothomb’s Stupeur et tremblements – I read this one in French (the author is Belgian, I think) and it’s hilarious.
- Roald Dahl’s Matilda and The Witches and Astrid Lindgren’s Ronia, the Robber’s Daughter and Brothers Lionheart – my childhood loves that were still fantastic when I reread them as an adult. Will definitely be reading these to my kid, as soon as s/he’s old enough :)
Yeah. I think this is the basic list, but I’m sure there are more I haven’t thought of … That said, I’d love to hear your thoughts on rereads, so don’t forget to share your links in the comments (or to comment even if you’re not participating in Thursday Thoughts).
Do you reread? What do you reread? Why do you reread?