A resolution revisited

Sorry about the unannounced disappearance over the last week or so. I had a stressful day at work last Friday trying to deal with a difficult colleague and it left me feeling very down for a few days and not very interested in blogging. I was struggling to concentrate on any of the books I was in the middle of reading and found myself reaching instead for The Disorderly Knights by Dorothy Dunnett to re-read a favourite scene…and of course I ended up re-reading the rest of the book! As anyone who has read it will know, it finishes on such a cliffhanger that it’s almost impossible not to want to pick up the next book in the series as soon as possible, so naturally I have had to move straight on to a re-read of Pawn in Frankincense as well.

oscar-wilde-dramatist-if-one-cannot-enjoy-reading-a-book-over-and Having been reminded of how much I used to enjoy returning to my favourite books again and again, I remembered the list of reading resolutions I posted at the beginning of the year. My top resolution was to spend more time on re-reads…and until now, not a single one of my 2016 reads has been a re-read! This is something I really want to change as there are so many books I keep saying I would love to re-read and it makes me feel frustrated and sad that I just never seem to get round to doing it.

So, for the rest of the year I’m determined that I’m going to stick to my resolution and do a lot of re-reading! I’m not going to set any targets in terms of numbers, as I don’t cope very well with targets where reading is concerned…or with lists. I know that if I mentioned any specific titles here I would immediately feel under pressure and lose my enthusiasm for re-reading them, so I’m afraid you’ll have to wait and see which books I choose to re-read!

Do you enjoy re-reading too or do you prefer to discover new books?

Which are your favourite books to read over and over again?

35 thoughts on “A resolution revisited

  1. Didaskalon says:

    Yes. Actually it almost feels as if I hadn’t even read it or I had forgot so much detail. It is a pleasure to re-read after a few years though, not right away. I re-read parts of the Odyssey and was surprised how much I forgot or the exquisite details. It was truly a pleasure to read most of it again.

    • Helen says:

      I prefer to leave a few years between re-reads too, at least in most cases. Just long enough to forget some of the details! I would like to read the Odyssey again as I’ve only read it once and am interested in trying some different translations.

  2. Didaskalon says:

    Lastly, re-reading Plato also has the same effects. We think we know it, but in fact, we have forgotten most of what we read. We only have vague summaries. So yes again, it is a pleasure to re-read.

  3. Tracey says:

    Hope things get better at work for you. My reading has been hit on the head by an unexpected house move. Totally can’t concentrate. Maybe I should try an old favourite.

  4. piningforthewest says:

    I don’t often re-read books but du Maurier’s Rebecca is a bit of a comfort read for me as are Benson’s Mapp and Lucia books. I’ve just finished East of Eden and I loved it, I know I’m going to re-read that at some point. I hope that your work problems disappear.

    • Helen says:

      Rebecca is a comfort read for me too. I’ve read it several times already over the years and also have it on my Classics Club list, so another re-read could be in order soon. I’m pleased to hear you loved East of Eden – I’ve been meaning to read it for ages!

  5. Lyn says:

    I love rereading but, like you, don’t do enough of it. My favourite rereads are Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Gaudy Night, Persuasion, Tey’s Daughter of Time, Pym’s Excellent Women. I think I reread less than I used to because of the blog. I feel I should be reviewing new books (not always brand new books but new to me) but I’m trying to get over that feeling!

    • Helen says:

      Blogging is definitely the reason why I don’t re-read as often as I used to. It has made me much more aware of the number of new to me books I want to read and, like you, I feel I should be reviewing the new ones rather than re-reads. I’m hoping to read Wuthering Heights again soon!

    • Helen says:

      I can understand that – there are books on my shelves that I know I’ll probably never read again, but I’m still keeping them just in case. 🙂

  6. kiwijo says:

    Just keep re-reading Dunnett. There’s always something to unravel, another gem to appreciate. Or the wisdom of age that makes you appreciate something differently the next time you re-read it. On an entirely different note, I understand that Christopher Lee used to re-read The Lord Of The Rings annually. If we tried that with Dunnett, there truly wouldn’t be time for new books.

    • Helen says:

      I couldn’t re-read Dunnett annually, but certainly every few years! I’m only four chapters into Pawn in Frankincense so far and already picking up on a lot of details I hadn’t noticed before.

  7. Anbolyn says:

    I don’t like to re-read at all except for favorite spiritual or inspirational books. Those are my comfort reads. But with fiction I always like to read something new or new-to-me. I’m glad re-reading the Dunnett helped take your mind off your work stress!

  8. Pam Thomas says:

    Dunnett will always bear any amount of re-reading – I know chunks of the Lymond books almost off by heart, yet I still go back to them regularly.
    A different way of ‘re-reading’ is to listen to the book. I always have an audio book in the car, and although many of them are new, I’ve also revisited old favourites. I find you get a completely different slant on the book if you listen rather than read. A lot does depend on the reader, but it’s usually a very positive experience.

    • Helen says:

      I only discovered Dunnett relatively recently, but I have a feeling I’ll be re-reading her books for the rest of my life now. I’ve never had much interest in listening to audio books, but I do like the idea of using them to revisit old favourites in a different way.

  9. jessicabookworm says:

    I am sorry to hear you had a hard time at work recently, but I am so pleased a comforting re-read helped you. I adore re-reading! I often reach for an old favourite when I am unwell or feeling down. I actually had a disappointment at work recently and I think a re-read is in order too.

    • Helen says:

      Thank you, Jessica. I’m sorry to hear about your disappointment at work too. I always find re-reading very comforting as I know what to expect and I know I’m guaranteed a good read. 🙂

  10. Lisa says:

    I’m wondering which scene in Disorderly Knights drew you back into the book!

    I’m sorry to hear about your stressful week. I’ve had a bit of a week myself, and so our long holiday weekend here comes just at the right time. I was thinking of comfort re-reads yesterday while I was stuck in traffic. Georgette Heyer tops the list for me, but also some childhood favorites like Laura Ingalls Wilder, Louisa May Alcott, and Maud Hart Lovelace. The Wind in the Willows I think.

    • Helen says:

      The sheep in helmets, right at the beginning so that I just had to re-read the whole book! 🙂 Revisiting childhood books can be very comforting, although I don’t do that very often at all. It’s been years since I read any of Wilder’s or Alcott’s children’s books and even longer since I read The Wind in the Willows.

  11. calmgrove says:

    Sorry to hear about that discomfort with a colleague, never nice is it. For me re-reads are often a source of solace and comfort after an upset, rather like retreating to a favourite cosy den — though I wouldn’t recommend more upsets in your life to get you re-reading more!

  12. looloolooweez says:

    Ah, I’m sorry you had to deal with that tough day at work, but there’s nothing like picking up a old favorite to heal the wounds of a bad day, right? I like rereading, too. Lately I’ve been turning to Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books when I need a bit of brain comfort food.

  13. FictionFan says:

    I love re-reading but seem to be constantly putting it off because of all the new books. Hope you manage to revisit some of those old favourites – I find re-reading so much more relaxing than new reading. 🙂

    • Helen says:

      I find re-reading more relaxing too, as you already have an idea of what to expect so aren’t in as much of a hurry to find out what happens next. There are so many books I want to revisit and I’m determined not to put them off any longer!

  14. Margaret @ BooksPlease says:

    I like re-reading, but just don’t do it much these days. I always used to re-read – books like Pride and Prejudice, Great Expectations and Tale of Two Cities and the Louisa May Alcott books as a child. Actually I’ve just recently re-read a book immediately after my first reading. It’s amazing how much I missed the first time!

  15. Alex says:

    I’m also re-reading Lymond. Finished Gemini and a few weeks later started Game of Kings all over again, this time with the “Ultimate Guide to Dorothy Dunnett’s Game of Kings”, that has been really helpful. This time around I’m determined to get every single reference!

    What was the favorite scene that hooked you?

    • Helen says:

      There are a few that I like in The Disorderly Knights, but I started with the sheep in helmets and then had to re-read the whole book! Now I’m reading Pawn in Frankincense again – there’s a certain scene that I’m dreading (you’ll know which one), but otherwise I’m enjoying it and noticing lots of little things I missed the first time.

    • Helen says:

      I used to re-read all the time but in recent years I’ve been too tempted by all the intriguing new books I’ve become aware of through blogging. I’m hoping I can find a better balance.

  16. Judy Krueger says:

    I have not been a re-reader until very recently. So much I still want to read of books I have not read before. But the best thing about re-reading, when I do it, is getting more out of the book the second time around. Second best is seeing how I have changed, as a reader and a person, since I read the book the first time. Two books I have read more than twice are The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley and Green Dolphin Street by Elizabeth Goudge, my favorite of her books, and I have read all her novels!

    • Helen says:

      Those are both things that I love about re-reading too. I find that however many times I read the same book, I have a slightly different experience every time. I’m looking forward to reading Green Dolphin Street!

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