Jenna left a comment recently, saying: “It amazes me how many times you can re-read a book…I must be missing some quality bookish genes. I have like one book that I’ve reread more than once.” Which made me think that I ought to write something about rereading – but then I realized that I did, in January, write a post called “on rereading.” In addition to all the reasons I mentioned there, here’s one more – I have a terrible memory. I might recall the author, title, and a few random details, but I often forget the finer points of a plot or exactly how things resolved themselves. Which is why I can happily reread mysteries like the Vicky Bliss books – until I get into the story, all I know is “that’s the one set in Egypt.” Then I get a ways in and remember, “that’s one of the bad guys!” or “doesn’t she end up escaping from some house?”
But despite all those reasons to reread, I completely understand the impulse to never reread. There’s more than enough to keep us busy without revisiting older titles. There’s something to be said for novelty – especially when you’re checking books out of a well-stocked library.
The whole issue reminds me of how much I love and believe in the Reader’s Bill of Rights:
- The right to not read.
- The right to skip pages.
- The right to not finish.
- The right to reread.
- The right to read anything.
- The right to escapism.
- The right to read anywhere.
- The right to browse.
- The right to read out loud.
- The right not to defend your tastes.
(from Daniel Pennac’s Better Than Life)
Funny, I’d forgotten that it includes the right to reread – perhaps it should also include the right to not reread?