The Romance of Re-Reading, or Why Do It All?
They’re right of course. Re-reading seems such an extravagant act when you think about the amount of unread classics out there, not to mention the amazing new releases and the pile of to-be-read books on your list. This is a guilt that have kept me awake in the middle of the night. This is the reason why I get to work late in the mornings. Start Ursula Le Guin’s The Earth Sea series or go back to the comforting hole in the ground where a hobbit lives? It’s like getting stuck in your 90s playlist really, come to think of it.
Re-reading is real. There’s more of it happening than what most bookworms are comfortable to admit. I have re-read Sherlock Holmes’ adventures more times than was healthy. This is the result:
An excuse to buy this:
If there’s any salvation among us re-readers, is that it is fully endorsed by all great authors, whom in return we re-read.
When you re-read a book, you keep reliving the first moment it touched your mind. You sense the tides of excitement. Rising, falling, anticipating the climax you become more aware of the movements in the narrative and it reinforces the effects in the imagination.
Terry Pratchett, This Reader’s most favorite author remembers the times he re-read Tolkien’s Middle Earth saga Lord of the Rings. Having read it when he was around twelve years old he said:
“I don’t recall going to sleep. I *do* remember waking up with the book open on my chest and finding my place, and going on reading. It took me, oh, about twenty-three hours to get to the end.
Then I picked up the first book and started again.” **
I think I had a similar experience. Only it was his Guards! Guards! that I actually read again right after finishing. When I read Lord of the Rings, I had to admit, I waited another day to absorb everything before reading it again from the beginning.
Arguably, the first reading will always be a blur. It’s the moment of creation. Re-reading is where the mind relaxes so it can zoom in or out in between passages. Like romancing the pages, slower and surer. The first blush blossoming to true love. Did I just say that?
If you haven’t felt the urge to re-read something then you can’t really call yourself a serious reader just yet.
I’ve given up on reading more to re-reading better, or deeper- well most days anyway. And I urge the reluctant to do the same.
**Excerpt from the article “Tolkien Effect” published in “Meditations in Middle Earth”.