Rereading Books Can be Exhilarating

I suppose I was about ten when I started dipping into my mother’s book shelves and finding friends inside her books (not to mention adult subjects!). Daphne du Maurier comes to mind as one of her authors and there were many more but my brain has edged them out.

I’ve made a practice of reading as many books as I can in a year and almost all have been new.  Every now and again, though, I remember my mother’s reasons for moving all her old books when she downsized to an apartment.  She loved rereading those old favorites, as she had forgotten the stories anyhow, and it was like rediscovering old friends.

And she was right.  In preparation for the Algonkian Niagara Writers Conference, I reread  Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and The Great Gatsby.  They were new and fresh, as though I’d never read them before.

When I moved four years ago, hundreds of books didn’t make the cut.  Those that did were by Colleen McCullough, Edward Rutherfurd, Pauline Gedge, Margaret George, Alison Weir, Margaret Laurence, Herman Wouk and many others.  And I brought my journals wherein my notations after reading my books have helped keep the joy alive for years.  I started this when teaching senior high school English and my students would ask me about possible books for their projects.  My journals allowed me to remember a host of wonderful works that they might use.

And those journals now let me relive some of my best reading.  They have another effect on me.  They show me amazing writers’ work, and I think, if they can do it so can I.

Rereading great books, then, is crucial for authors.

Who are your favorites that you’ve read again and again?  Do you worry that your own writing will borrow from those favorites, plagiarise even?  Consider leaving a comment.

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12 thoughts on “Rereading Books Can be Exhilarating

  1. I remember Mom’s books too. I have some of them. I also remember moving books with me to Texas as well as bringing most of those “old friends” back to Canada with me again where they are now awaiting my reintroducing myself to the wonderful historical fiction by James mitchener and especially, Ken Follett.

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  2. I have re-read a few books in my life, but nothing like my daughter who wore a copy of PIllars of the Earth ragged, a book she’d read every summer. When she was younger, she read Harry Potter many times. I remember reading her copy to my son and she’d often come and listen. Once I misread a sentence and she caught me. She had those books memorized line by line. Yes, Elaine, they are like old friends we move right in with!

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    • I love to take my favorite books down and organize them, running my hands over the covers as I find the best way to arrange them on my shelves. It’s a labour of love. Haven’t done that for a while. Thanks for reminding me, Sharon.

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  3. I read Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, about a million times, partly because I loved it, and partly because I didn’t have many books at home. Yes, the library was full of titles, and I would take other books out when someone else got hold of ‘Margaret’, but I was at an age where I, like Margaret, was keen on unravelling the mysteries of boys and periods. The answers, I knew, must lie in the pages of that book.

    Around the letter ‘M’ I reread Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Milhone series, and I’ll do so again when ‘Z’ is released. The series covers Kinsey’s story arc, and it was great to see her grow as I moved from A to M without pause.

    To Kill A Mockingbird was a great read in my teens, and I reread the book with fresh eyes in my late twenties. This post has encouraged me to read this book again through a writer’s eyes. Thanks, Elaine!

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    • What an insightful comment, Sherry! And you’ve reminded me of teaching To Kill a Mockingbird, a thrilling experience for me but also for my students. I loved teaching teenagers the joy of reading to find such stories in books. Thanks for your comment, Sherry.

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  4. I used to re-read my books all the time. Now, there are so many new authors I want to read, I just can’t find the time. But the beauty of books is that they’ll be there when I do have the time! The only ones I’ve consistently re-read over the last several years are all Jane Austen’s. I guess I’m a fan.

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  5. Ah yes, I remember ‘Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret’ very fondly! Sadly my copy disappeared during a house move sometime in the past, so I must find it again ready for my daughter when she is old enough.

    I am currently working through a pile of newly discovered books, some of which I will use as research for my own paranormal romance novels. My favourite authors are numerous, but at the moment it has to be Laurell K Hamilton and her Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series, Those stories are seriously hot!

    Oh, and my husband and I are reading to our baby daughter. So far we have revisited Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl, and are now reading ‘The Chronicles of Narnia.’ I am in childhood classic heaven!

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    • Hello! Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. I loved your spooky post on your site. My friend Jessica Aspen and you should definitely connect as she writes paranormal as well. Check one of the earlier comments.

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