One thing I have learned in the 10 years I have been working with readers and training librarians is that there are a lot of people out there who like to re-read their favorite books. Some, I have found, re-read a favorite book once a year.
I myself am not a big re-reader, but there are a few books I have purposely gone back and read again. The only book I have ever read more than 3 times (I am probably up to 6) is Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I also happen to have another strange rule with this book: I refuse to own a copy.
Let me explain how my crazy brain works. Bradbury wrote this classic book in the LA Public Library, using their pay-by-the-hour typewriters. Most copies of the book include an introduction explaining how important the public library is as a defense to those who want to squash our 1st Amendment rights. I feel one of my duties as a champion for public libraries is to check this book out of the library only. Owning it, to my quirky brain, is an affront to Bradbury's message.
Obviously the message of this book (the right to read anything you want) strikes a cord with me. But each time I re-read it, I get something new out of the novel.
Thinking back, I have also re-read Little Women and To Kill a Mockingbird in order to experience them during different stages of my life. I have found new inspiration and interpretations each time I have read these novels, but again, they were purposely read when I was in a new stage in my personal life. I would estimate I have read each 3 times. But until my kids are ready to read these books, I don't see myself reading them again.
One of the assignments my students can choose to do for their research papers is to look into a book that has had made an impact on society. We often suggest to students who are interested in this assignment that they look to classic books they enjoyed as children/young adults and re-read them. We ask them to add their changing impressions about the book and its appeal to them personally to their research paper on the book's larger impact on society. Some of the most popular books researched over the past 6 years are Catcher in the Rye, Little Women, Dracula, To Kill and Mockingbird, Fahrenheit 451, and 1984.
So for today's Monday Discussion: What books do you re-read and why? If you a huge fan of re-reading, please share why you love it. On the flip side, if you do not like to re-read let us know why.
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