Last week, Julian Barnes wrote about how he viewed EM Forster’s A Passage to India quite differently when he re-read it as an adult which has led him to question the “speedy judgement” of his youth.
This got me thinking about the benefits of re-reading a book. I love a good re-read. The reasons I love revisiting books are:
- Sometimes you miss key details. If you are a speed reader like me you can often miss delicate nuances of the story and that can lead to confusion as to the progression of the story. I swear this is why I never got around to finishing War and Peace. I love re-reading a book just as much as I love re-watching a movie. Those little details can make you view the book very differently.
- If you are in a reading slump, re-reading a much-loved book can get you straight back into the swing of things (see my post on some other ways you can crawl out of a reading slump here).
- For those poor abandoned books that you never quite finished some years ago, re-reading them now that you’re older, in a different place in your life or just have the time to work through the areas you didn’t enjoy way back then can sometimes pay off! Unfortunately, despite many efforts my Abandoned Books remain just that: abandoned.
My favourite books to re-read are: Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks; The Colour Purple by Alice Walker and White Teeth by Zadie Smith. I was required to read the first two during my English Literature A-Level and hated them. I loathed how I had to analyse every word, every paragraph, every implied metaphor. Re-reading these books out of a deadline driven atmosphere has allowed me to take my time with them, analyse them the way I want to and not by a prescribed set of questions – to essentially fall in love with them.
Which books do you / have you re-read? If you haven’t re-read any – are there any you want to?
Thanks for reading – I hope you enjoyed it!