Monday, 11 May 2009

Musing Mondays

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about re-reading…

Have you ever finished a book, then turned around and immediately re-read it? Why? What book(s)? (question courtesy of MizB)
Finding myself stuck on a train (the one in front of us has broken down and, by the sound of it, we could be in for a long wait), I decided that the moment to join in with Musing Mondays, at least occasionally, has arrived.

It's not unusual for me to re-read a book immediately upon finishing it - sometimes, I just don't want to lose the mood it has evoked. I think the last book where this happened was August Folly by Angela Thirkell. Regular readers of this blog will know that she is a favourite author of mine, and I loved both the humour and characterisation in this Barsetshire novel set in a golden age before was has broken out. Slightly longer ago - before I started writing here - I remember doing the same thing with Dance With Me by Victoria Clayton, an enchanting novel set in the 1970s.

More unusually, perhaps, I have a rather odd habit with authors whose style I particularly enjoy, of re-reading before I have finished the book. This frequently happens with a new William Gibson novel: I read about two-thirds - up to the point where the denouement is signalled but hasn't really begun - and then immediately begin again from the start and read right through to the end. Gibson seems to lend himself to this odd habit, his plots seem deceptively simple, but are often multi-layered, so that I find on the second reading there is much detail that I have missed first time round. Of course, this oddity only really works on a first reading, once I know a book there isn't any point to the practice, though complete re-reads aren't precluded, and I think it would be true to say that I have read most of my books at least twice and many of them far more frequently. It does seem to be rather freakish behaviour, I hardly know anyone else who re-reads as much as I do, and no-one else with the two-thirds habit. If there are kindred spirits out there, I'd love to know!


  1. The only time I re-read a book that I'm as far in as that is if for some reason I've had a gap in reading it and can't remember who people are and what has happened in much detail.

    I do like to re-read either because I enjoyed the book so much I want to repeat the experience, which is sometimes a disappointment, or because I read it so quickly the first time that I've missed some of the detail - that happens more frequently than I would like!

  2. My favorite Angela Thirkell is Pomfret Towers...

    I used to be an avid re-reader before I started being a blogger. Now the list of books I haven't read is so long and enticing that I don't have any time for my old friends anymore...except in times of dire-est comfort reading neediness.

    The last book I can remember turning around and re-reading immediatly is The King of Attolia, by Megan Whalen Turner. There is so much in there that even after several more re-reads I find new connections and make new realizations.

  3. Margaret, I feel some books whizz past so fast I'm glad to be able to slow myself down by re-reading.

    Charlotte, I do sometimes feel that I ought to be going on to something new, especially if I'm re-reading a book I've blogged about, but I think it's a case of leopards and spots!