Do you like going back and reading books you’ve already read? Have you ever felt that in re-reading a novel, you can gain a better understanding or appreciation of it?
I normally don’t read books I’ve read before because I feel that the magic, excitement and emotions I felt the first time will be gone the second time around. Other times I get bored with it because I already know what’s going to happen. Another reason is because I hardly have enough time to read all the books I haven’t read, let alone re-visit books I’ve already read.
I’ve read The Catcher in the Rye countless times because I felt that it would change everytime I read it – the book wouldn’t change of course, but my reaction and emotions toward it as I got older would.
Pride and Prejudice I read more than once because I loved the story and didn’t want it to end; and A Moveable Feast for the beauty of its prose and the beautiful images of Paris it evoked and the romanticism of being a starving writer.
Recently I got to thinking about some books I read when I was a lot younger that I would like to read again if I had the opportunity because I feel that as an older person, I might learn more from it, gain a better perspective of the story or characters, or just understand it better.
These are some of the novels I would like to read again:
1. 100 Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
2. The Unbearable Lightness of Being – Milan Kundera
3. Catch – 22 – Joseph Heller
4. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell – Susanna Clarke
5. Slaughterhouse-5 – Kurt Vonnegut
6. Persuasion – Jane Austen
7. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
It goes without saying that I loved all those books the first time I read them. Numbers 1-3, and 4 I want to read again because I feel that because I read those in college or thereabouts, there is probably so many things I missed in those novels. Jonathan Strange, Persuasion, and Wuthering Heights I want to read again simply because I want to re-live the adventures in them.
What about you? Do you re-read books? Why or why not? What book have you read over and over again? Given a chance, what long-forgotten favorite would you like to re-discover or complicated classic you’d like to puzzle over again?