I read an article on The Guardian website today which claims that “anyone who talks about re-reading a book is arrogant, narrow-minded or dim.” The author goes on to add that people only re-read in order to show off. I don’t agree with him.
I only read very special books more than once, unless they’re university course books that I have to sweat over. Generally, I find that there are so many other books ready for me to explore instead of re-reading. The books that I do re-read are often those that I simply enjoyed more than others. Alternatively, there are those that I feel I have more to learn from, or those that I need to return to in order to fully understand. For instance, my re-reading of War and Peace not long ago: how can you expect to take in all of this mammoth book in a single reading?
Books that I’ve enjoyed and read again include The Waves by Virginia Woolf and Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Berniéres – I felt that both were beautifully written. I also gained more from Love in The Time of Cholera by García Márquez and The House of The Spirits by Isabel Allende by reading them a second time. It wouldn’t surprise me if I return to the aforementioned texts at least another time. Other people may well hate those books, but for me there’s something in the writing that greatly appeals to me.
Below is a list of some books that I plan to read again, for the reasons I explored in the first paragraph. Perhaps I’ll read some of them this summer, but I’m not going to place a time frame on it. I’ve found it very useful to keep lists such as this on my blog for future reference – is that a selfish reason for blogging? I do hope that such posts get others thinking about their own literary collections – about both what they have read and what they’d like to read.
- The Book of Laughter and Forgetting – Milan Kundera
- A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
- The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Flappers and Philosophers – F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
- Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
- The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
- Paradise Lost – John Milton
- Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoevsky
- Notes From Underground – Fyodor Dostoevsky
- One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel García Márquez
- Ulysses – James Joyce
- Dubliners – James Joyce
- Requiem for a Dream – Hubert Selby Jr.
- Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen