This weekend I re-read Hour of the Witch by Chris Bohjalian, to get ready for my mystery book club at work on Wednesday. All last week, before I started, I was cursing myself. Why did I read this on my own last summer when I was pretty sure we were going to read it in March? I haven’t re-read a book in a while because, with a few exceptions (you know, Youngblood Hawke and a few others 😉), most books are a “one and done” experience for me. Would my notes be enough? Well I couldn’t find them in my notebook and then I realized I’d read it during my short-lived “I’m only going to take notes on my new Kindle” phase. Argggh.
End result? I re-read it and got A LOT more out of the book the second time around. Not just the plot and character development, but the second time around, I started to better understand the setting and time period (Boston in 1662) and appreciate how much research went into writing this historical fiction. And for these reasons I enjoyed it even more!
So, not a new topic, but I’m interested in knowing what you do.
Do you re-read books and if so, which ones? Leave a comment!
Thanks for visiting – come back soon!
76 thoughts on “To re-read or not to re-read…that is my question!”
So many books in my library and on my Kindle, I don’t re-read–at least not intentionally!
Haha! That’s good, Marian. I think we all have had the experience of starting a book and realizing, “Wait, I’ve already read this!” Thanks for stopping by.
Not usually! I have too many new ones to read. But if I had more time I wouldn’t mind…
Hi Paula – yes time is a big factor. Thanks for stopping by!
The mark of a good book is it’s rereadability.
So true – thanks, Leon!
I’ve started to re-read books. Not any one genre but ones I see on my bookshelves that I’ve forgotten about but must have liked enough to save a copy. Currently I’m reading Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts and Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose. It’s been fun to revisit old friends.
Hi Ally – that’s nice! I have re-read The Catcher in the Rye a few times. And then I decided to re-read Salinger’s Franny and Zoey – have you read that? I remember loving it the first time, but the second time around I didn’t understand a word of it! Thanks for the visit 🙂
I read Granny and Zoey in high school but never again. Now I wonder if I’d get it or not?
I also tried to re-read Magic Mountain – I had no idea what I was reading…
I’ve never tried to read that. Ever
My copy had dense print…nuff said.
I have reread a few books, generally ones that I have loved: Oliver Twist, Ken Follet’s Pillars of the Earth, Michael Crighton’s Timeline, Sarah One Jewett’s Country of the Pointed Firs, and a few more. It’s comforting to read them!
Hi Noelle – OMG I haven’t read any of those! I understand the comfort you get from re-reading a favorite. I thought of you when I was re-reading Hour of the Witch. Have you read it? I really enjoyed your book, The Last Pilgrim. So much research was required by you – I was impressed by it! Thanks for the visit 🙂
I need to read that book. I know quite a bit about the history of witches in New England so it should be an interesting read. I recommend Sarah Orne Jewett’s book – she was a contemporary of Willa Cather.
Oh I’ll look her up – thanks, Noelle!
I can think of only two books I’ve reread. The Crysalids by John Wyndham and Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I’ve saved some books that I may reread, but I usually reach for a new one.
Hi Jo-Anne – totally get it. Just not enough time to re-read and study. Still, I”m glad I re-read this one, especially since I have to lead the discussion on Wednesday. I would not have been confident relying on my memory from last summer. Thank you for stopping by!
I don’t have time to read all the books I want to so I don’t reread books. Occasionally I have and you are right, you usually get more out of it the second time. Then there are books like Anne of Green Gables which I have read numerous times as I read it to young people and never get tired of it.
Hi Darlene! I’ve yet to read Anne of Green Gables – I know it’s a favorite of yours. As I just mentioned to Anneli – I’m mostly like you – there are too many books I want to read, so I’m not likely to go back and re-read one. Thank you for the visit!
For the most part, I feel like Darlene does – no time to read all the things I want, so no time to reread.
I get that, Anelli – and I’m mostly like that too. I was surprised by my experience re-reading Hour of the Witch. I thought it was an excellent book, but I would never have thought to read it a second time. But I’m glad I did. Thank you for stopping by!
When I was teaching I often reread the favourite stories to the kids, but for my own reading, I knew there was too much out there to ever get it all read.
Hi Anneli – I think about teachers who re-read books – I’m not surprised that you would pick your favorites to read to the kids. I would do the same. When I think about how many times I read the same books to my kids when they were little – knew them by heart!
Exactly, and it’s great when they know them so well that they say the words along with you.
Hi Barbara, some books are worth re-reading and I have done so, albeit years apart. Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Great Expectations, and The Scarlet Letter are a few I’ve re-read.
Hi Robbie – yes, Jane Eyre is one I’ve re-read and in fact, I got a lot more out of it the last time I read it so I understand why that one is a favorite re-read. Oh, The Scarlet Letter – for some reason not a favorite of mine, probably because it was a school assignment. Thank you for the visit!
I like the psychological aspects of The Scarlet Letter
Yes, it’s possible I would enjoy it more if I re-read it.
I reread a few, but very few. To Kill A Mockingbird 3 times, 1000 White Women 3 times, Where the Crawdads sing 2 times. But…If you include the editing process, I’ve read every book I’ve written 231 times. 🙂
Hi Pat – yes, I’ve read TKAM a few times too. I’d like to re-read Crawdads – that was such a great book. I like your comment about how many times you’ve read your own books in the editing process! 🙂 Thank you for stopping by!
My new favorite since Crawdads is West with Giraffes. I have it on my kindle readers so I’ll read it again later.
That’s funny, Pat but also too true. I’m sure I’ve read my own books a gazillion times and almost have them memorized.
Are your books on Amazon? What did you write?
Thanks, Pat. Here is my Amazon author site https://www.amazon.com/stores/Darlene-Foster/author/B003XGQPHA
I only re-read books that I review.
Hi Rosaliene – yes, that makes complete sense. Books I review I read very carefully and take notes. Thank you for reading and commenting!
I have from time to time re-read books and usually I’ve found that the second time is a richer experience. Cheers.
Hi Lynette – we can’t re-read every book we’ve read before, but the second time around has been good for the ones I’ve chosen. Even this one, which although very good, I didn’t think I’d ever re-read it. Thank you for the visit 🙂
difficult because as you get older you’ve less book time left. But it’s that old notion you never step into the same stream twice. I’ve read Growing up in the Gorbals a few times. It’s a rich world and the language drags me back to another time. As a writer editing (re-reading) draft after draft makes you hate your own work until you want to smash it with a hammer and run away.
Hi Jack – your comment about re-reading and editing your own work made me smile – I helped my father publish two books and I read them so many times I thought my eyes would fall out. Thank you for reading this and commenting!
Hi, Barb – Great question. I usually have a very long and vivid memory for the books that I read (trust me, that does not begin to make up for my other shortcomings), so I seldom reread books. But there are exceptions. I reread Dickens’ A Christmas Carol every single year. And, I have reread Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods because it always makes me laugh outloud! 😀
Hi Donna – I used to think I had a good memory for books, but I’m not so sure now that I’m older! Those are two good choices for re-reads 🙂 BTW, I tried out the AI image and paragraph – more to come on that and I’ll be sure to give you a shout-out! Have a great day – looking outside and it’s snowing – we went the whole winter with barely a flake!
Question? I seldom re-read books and would only re-read if I had nothing else to read.
I think we’re all basically the same that way. I don’t think I would ever re-read a thriller because there wouldn’t be as much “thrill” however there are a couple books I like to go back and look at. Thanks for the visit 🙂
I re-read very few books because there are so many great books and new authors to try. It would be interesting, though, to re-read mysteries I read 20 years ago and see if I still enjoy them. Since I know so much more about writing in this genre than I did back then, it’d be interesting to analyze other authors’ techniques.
Hi Debra – that would be an interesting reason to go back – to understand techniques. Thank you for the visit! 🙂
Very rarely do I re-read a book due to time constraints and the plethora of great stuff–new and old–to read for the first time. Honestly, I can’t recall the last time I re-read an entire book, but I do sometimes re-read short stories.
Hi Mary – re-reading short stories is much more do-able! Thank you for the visit – hope you are doing well. 🙂
I rarely reread books, but a post of Sheree’s prompted me to do so with Alessandro Manzoni’s “The Betrothed’ I will feature in when finished – after more than half a century I hadn’t remembered any of it.
Hi Derrick – I’ll be looking forward to seeing your comments on The Betrothed. I haven’t read it, but I imagine I wouldn’t remember much of anything I read even 20 years ago. Thank you for stopping by. 🙂
I have re-read Geraldine Brooks, “People of the Book” several times. And Murakami’s “Kafka by the Shore”. Muraski’s “Tale of Genji” which covers one hundred years of Japanese history during the ninth century. Genji is a long book and is told in Japanese style of writing. Murasaki wrote the first novel in history. Her turn of phrase is beautiful. And Ken Follett’s “Pillars of the Earth”. Ire-read to hear the poetry of the author.
That’s a wonderful reason to re-read. Thank you for stopping by, Grace!
Being mildly dyslexic, I am a slow reader, so I don’t usually re-read books. However, I have read Catch-22 three times! That said, there are a couple books I read long, long ago, long before I was a blogger, that I’m wondering if I should re-read them just to put reviews of them up… still… it is doubtful, but maybe… who knows?
Hi Davida – I have been thinking the same thing – about re-reading books to get them on the blog – not sure if I will, but one example is The Kite Runner – one of my favorites. Thank you for stopping by!
I’m definitely a fan of rereading! As you point out, sometimes on a reread, I’ll find more to appreciate — maybe because on a first read, I’m often rushing through it to see what happens! It can be nice to go back to a book I loved and enjoy it more slowly, pay attention to smaller details and look for foreshadowing, etc. I sometimes reread the most recent book in a series right when a new book is about to come out, just to get refreshed on the details. And sometimes, it’s just because I know I loved a book, maybe further in the past, and want the opportunity to experience it again.
I often do rereads via audiobook, because it’s a really enjoyable way to experience a story a bit differently (and then also doesn’t take away from the time I sit reading new-to-me print/ebook editions).
Hi Lisa – thank you for stopping by to comment. One of the ladies who comes to my library book club also re-read Hour of the Witch, but she actually listened to the audio and followed along in the book at times. She said it was very enjoyable. I definitely appreciated the book more than I did the first time because I could see how the author prepared the reader, in subtle ways, for plot and character development. Hope you have a great weekend!
I’ve re-read some of Michener’s work and also some of the Jack Reacher series, just because I liked them. 🙂
That’s great, Tim! I’m sure you enjoyed more things about them during the second read. Thank you for the visit and for commenting!
Actually, my willingness to re-read a book is how I decide whether or not I want to keep it. All the books on my shelves are books that I enjoy reading more than once. If a book is “one and done,” then I give it away.
Good strategy – I”m about to go through some books and will probably do the same. Thanks for the visit, Ann!
well it sounds like you were meant to reread this book – and some books really do need to be read again
for me – a great one is a non-fiction one from 2013 – The Brain that Changes itself”
and then i also like to reread some classics (ie Les Mis)
Oh yes, I don’t know that nonfiction book, but I can see how re-reading nonfiction is definitely useful. I’ve never read Les Mis – that’s a long one, isn’t it? Thanks for the visit 🧡🧡🧡
Hi – yes, Les Mis is long and I read it about every ten years – but I dive into it maybe once a year (to find a passage, etc)
my first copy of Les Mis was in High School – an abridged version that we “had” to read – and then once I was swallowed up – I could not stop talking about the story – I think I was 14 –
It is both my and my husband’s fav book (besides the bible)
and then for many years – my hubs and I gave away copies of les mis to “special folks” for example, I gave a copy to Kyle Reed – the best boss I ever had – and the hubs gave a copy to Kip White, who introduced him to Taylor guitars – (later – at Kip’s untimely funeral- we put two silver candlesticks on the table at the service and it was kind of artsy addition with the other plain candles – but only a few folks knew it connected to les Mis (Kip loved the book too)-
Oh what a lot of powerful memories you have that are associated with Les Mis. And such a nice tribute to your friend, Kip.
Yeah! The candlesticks were from pier one (clearance and I had them sitting so grabbed them when we left for the funeral)
And I am going to see the local musical for les mis in a couple weeks – the musical is here in town this month (I have seen it a few times over the years) but I despised the musical with Hugh Jackmam and Ann Hathaway – that musical movie was so bad – have you seen it?
I haven’t – I’m afraid Les Mis has passed me by!
Well maybe it will make your list some day!
Hope you have a great weekend and enjoyed content chatting 😉
You too 🙂
If you do have time to check it out –
here it is on Gutenberg
I’m a one-and-done reader, too. If I loved a book before, I want to remember that experience and not be disappointed if I see flaws the second time through. However, there are some books I read when I was too young and didn’t understand the nuances (or period in history) that I wouldn’t mind trying again (The Grapes of Wrath, for example).
Hi Priscilla, that’s a very good reason not to re-read a book. I’ve read The Grapes of Wrath a few times – it’s one of my all-time favorite books. I should probably re-read Of Mice and Men because I doubt I understood it when I read it in middle school. Thank you for the visit!
I only reread something if it’s for book club and I’d read it before…too many good books out there
So true! I wouldn’t have re-read this except it was for a book club! But I did like it as much the 2nd time. Thanks for the visit, LA!
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