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The Other Side of the Argument

I wouldn’t say that I am morally opposed to rereading books. I have a handful of books that I have reread.  (More on that later.)

Let me just throw out a few numbers. We’ll call this list of numbers “Perspective.”

659 – the number of books on my “to read” shelf on Goodreads.

730- the average number of hours I spend reading each year.

2.5 years- the approximate amount of time it would take me to finish all the books on my “to read” list.

BUT, THERE IS MORE!

2- the number of adolescent boys that come into the library that have read almost everything that I can recommend. (I can’t STAND not having something to recommend! I gotta stay on top of it!)

20- the average number of patrons I get in a month that are looking for something NEW to read. (As in, published recently. Once again I HATE not having something to recommend!)

50- the number of novels I try to read as part of my own personal work goal. (These are specific books. 18ish Beehive Book Award Nominees, 20ish “Battle of the Books” books, and 12 book club books.)

304,912– an approximate number of books that are published each year JUST in the US!

130 million– the approximate number of books in existence!!!!

In a nut shell

no time for that

There is too much to experience! Too many new characters I haven’t met, new ideas I haven’t considered, new facts I haven’t learned, and new genres I haven’t explored!

But, like I said, there are some books that I have reread.

Basically it boils down to 2 categories. Fairy tale re-tellings and regency romance.

Here’s a basic list.

*Ella Enchanted

*Goose Girl, Enna Burning, River Secrest, and Forest Born by Shannon Hale

*Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson

 *A Heart Revealed and Lord Fenton’s Folly by Josi Kilpack (I haven’t reread these yet, but I probably will within the next couple years.)

I think another reason I don’t reread a lot is, I don’t want to ruin the stories I loved. I think it was the fifteenth time through Ella Enchanted that I realized some of the writing drove me crazy.  I love that story so much! I didn’t want it to change from being something I loved to something I was annoyed with. So, I have held off on that one for a while now. I’m hoping if I wait long enough I can overlook the annoying things.

Also, I think regency romance books are kind of the same plot, same characters, different names. If I read more than two in a row, I realize how unoriginal they are. I don’t like the realization that the books that I really enjoyed are kind of just mediocre.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on re-reading. I think whether or not you reread just depends on why you read. I think Jessica loves to get caught up in the characters and be in the world. She escapes reality. That is awesome. I have read a few books that I have really felt like I was just there. I have had that book hangover feeling. Except, I don’t really like it. It’s super depressing. It’s like somebody has died, but I don’t even have the comfort that I will get to be with them in the afterlife. They aren’t even real. What is more depressing than missing someone that doesn’t even exist? I know you can go back and be with them again by re-reading- but you only get to be with them in the exact same setting. You have to see them be idiots again, knowing that you’ll love them in the end but you have to go through the whole process all over again. That’s painful.

So what kind of reader am I? I think the main reason I read is because I like to experience new things. I like to live inside someone else’s head for a little while- and that someone is the author. I can live with an author hangover. They are still real. It is not outside the realm of reality that I could meet them someday.  So I do reread, but I reread authors… if that makes sense.

I think I am just rambling now. So- just a quick sum up: Re-reading is great. If you want to read a book that you have already read DO IT! Absolutely. Not everyone reads for the same reasons. I don’t consciously not re-read. If I want to re-read a book and it outweighs my desire to read something new- I do it. But, I can’t rate my books based on my desire to reread it. There just aren’t enough of those, and actually, most of the books I want to reread are just pretty mediocre.

My rating system has to do with how a book was able to open my mind about something. A five star book is one that I am contemplating for days or weeks afterwards. A five star book to me, is a book that makes me want to learn more about a new culture, a historical event, or an idea I hadn’t given much thought to.

Yep. Still rambling. I’m going to end this now.

I don’t think this argument really is an argument- more just a clarifying discussion with two points.

What kind of reader are you? To read or re-read, that is the question. (See what I did there…)

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3 thoughts on “The Other Side of the Argument”

  1. I agree that some books are less magical when you read them again and again. This is how I felt about Harry Potter most recently, reading it with the kids. I noticed some flaws and some things about the writing started to bother me…. and I hated it! I don’t want to remember the Harry Potter books that way. I want to remember the rush I was in to eat up every word and see what happened and the magic I really felt in those first few books.

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    1. Also, reading books as an adult that you loved as kids is stressful. All I could think while I was reading Harry Potter to Lily is “Where is the wizarding CPS during all this?!” And we’ve been reading Matilda, and instead of thinking all of Matilda’s little pranks are just funny- I am thinking “this isn’t giving Lily any ideas right?”

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  2. Loved this post! I don’t do re-reads. Well, not many anyway. I think I am afraid I will feel differently about the book reading it a second time and I don’t necessarily want to give up the magical feeling I had reading it the first time. All the statistics at the beginning of your post blew my mind.

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