Books? What Books?

I am a compulsive re-reader. I have shelves of books in my house, scattered throughout every room. They’re piled on my bedside table, on the couch, even on the floor in some places. I’ve gotten better in the last few years with getting rid of books that I don’t re-read, so by-and-large what’s in my house now is stuff I’m going to keep for a long time.

And some of them I have had for a long time. My copies of The Elenium series by David Eddings I’ve had since high school. *frowns* Though I think I might have replaced one when it fell apart on me. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read those books. I still come back to them time and again, wiggling a little in excitement as I read about Sparhawk riding into Cimmura in the rain.

Nora Robert’s The MacGregors series is another set I’ll read over and over. I admittedly don’t own a lot of her books, but my mother does and it’s become a sort of ritual for me when I visit my parents to grab a book off the basement shelves on my way to bed. (And consequently end up not sleeping!)

I also re-read on an annual basis either David Weber’s Honor Harrington series, or the Prince Roger series he co-wrote with John Ringo. Those science fiction series wake in me some desperate longing to go to the stars. *laughs* And to improve my own writing abilities in the sci/fi genre. Though I think I have resigned myself to the fact that I won’t ever have quite the grasp on battle tactics and ship movements those two authors do!

There is another shelf in the house, or more specifically, in my office. That is the To Be Read shelf. *grins* At present it’s got about 80 books on it. I also own a Nook. *sheepish grin* And there’s more books on that.

So why? You might ask yourself. If I have all these new books to read why do I keep coming back to the old ones? The ones where I already know the plot, know the twists, know the characters. Why do I choose to spend my precious time re-reading old things?

The honest truth? I love them. I truly and deeply love the stories they tell. Or I love the characters. Or I love the exquisite way the author has with words. Sometimes it’s all of the above. *laughs* And more. Like visiting old friends, there is a certain comfort in re-reading a book. There’s no pressure of “what’s next?” no real drive to get to the end. It’s just an enjoyable visit, or a leisurely stroll.

What about you? Are you a re-reader? (Compulsive or otherwise. *grins*) Do you have a TBR shelf bursting with neglected books while you continually go to the Keeper shelves to pick out something familiar? Do you even have Keeper shelves or do you give away books as soon as you’re done reading them?

K.B. Wagers

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20 responses to “Books? What Books?

  1. Jar O' Marbles

    I am a compulsive reader for certain..and definitely a re-reader. I’ve got some books that I re-read every year or every other year. And I’ve always been that way, I’d read Heidi about 12 times before I turned 12. lol

  2. I am a compulsive re-reader, though admittedly, the books that see most action at my house these days are my two shelves worth of poetry volumes, probably because I have cultivated the habit of reading one or two (or if it’s a lazy Sunday morning, maybe even a dozen) poems with my morning coffee.

    I do read Elizabeth Cunningham’s “Return of the Goddess: A Divine Comedy” nearly every fall, because it just embodies the season so beautifully. And I have some Nora Roberts books I turn to when I need brain candy and some Stephen King books I read when I want to get scary inspired. πŸ˜€

    Also, since I have kids, there’s a whole bookshelf full of picture books I’ve collected over the years. Those get re-read ad nauseum, even now when my boys are older. (I wait for someone with a little kid to come over if need be!) “The Gardener” is one I’ll read to myself – it’s this gorgeous depression story told in letters (I think that’s called epistilary, right?) from a little girl to her parents/grandmother about her life in the city, where she’s been sent to live with the uncle who can afford to feed her. It makes me cry every time.

  3. Raymond Bolton

    I used to be a re-reader. I wish I still had the time. But over the last few years, when I really began taking my writing career seriously, I’ve embarked on a quest to read the work of as many authors as I can to study their writing styles and techniques. My already-jammed schedule leaves me precious little time to read, let alone re-read, if I am to find enough time to write. Consequently, in addition to real, bound books, I subscribe to audible.com in order to make use of the nearly one hour per day I spend commuting and keep up with the voracious appetite I’ve developed.

    Some day, if I ever retire, perhaps I’ll have time to revisit the past and enjoy the familiar, but there is so much out there I have yet to read, I spend all my time seeking out new delights, or in the case of the occasional disappointment, new lessons.

    • I hear you Ray! Time is always an issue.

      When I’m queen of the world πŸ˜› I’m making an extra 6 hours in the day for reading!

      Audible.com is a great resource. I’ve used them a number of times.

  4. I am a compulsive re-reader, but I will never own a to-be-read shelf. When I buy new books, I have to read them immediately. Have to. Having a story near me that I have not dived into headfirst… that just drives me crazy. *laughs*

    • *laughs* I used to be like that, but lately I’ve just run out of juice (and time) … but I can’t seem to keep from buying books. (I think it’s because people keep writing such interesting ones!)

  5. I’m a voracious reader of all kinds – fiction, non-fiction, poetry. And books I love? I might reread them twice a year. I, like Lisa, have Nora Roberts and Jayne Ann Krentz books I read over and over again – especially when I’m tired or busy and can’t concentrate. I reread all of Jane Austen every summer – though I have to force myself to read Mansfield Park – I start with that and leave Persuasion – one of my favorite books ever – to the end. I read fast – in a normal week I might read 5-8 books – so I don’t feel too badly about as many as half of them being rereads. My TBR shelf? It’s huge – I start to have panic attacks if I don’t have enough books to read – every kind of book I might want to read – so it’s probably 100 books (maybe more – I should count it) big.

    Kate

    • I re-read Persuasion and Pride & Prejudice every year too.

    • *sighs wistfully* I used to read that many a week. I’ve slowed down a lot over the last six months. Hopefully once things are less crazy in my life (ha! right!) I’ll have some time to settle down and start up again.

  6. I also have a Nook and that hungry B is constantly being fed. Not to mention stacks of books on the shelves. It’s so much easier with the Nook though. Sure a lot lighter to carry around than a tote bag of books! I’ve always had a bunch of books nearby. What if something happens and I can’t get something to read? A scary thought!

    • I know right! *laughs*

      It’s insane, but I also love having Nook access on my phone. I can be anywhere and just snag one of my books off the shelf and start reading.

  7. I used to be a much bigger re-reader. Part of that was that I had (have) a very small circle of writers and/or books that I know will not let me down and those writers are not writing often/fast enough to keep me endlessly supplied with new reading material and thus I had to circle back. Part of it is that I get tired of endlessly trying out new books that don’t deliver (or don’t deliver in the way I want) and so I circle back to favorites, ones I know will give me the feeling or experience I’m looking for. Which is unfortunate when the feeling I want is the breathless excitement of going someplace NEW, but in lieu of that, I’ll take something that just makes me feel GOOD about reading and those favorites will do that.

    Nowadays, I find myself kind of determined to break out of the hard shell of “ONLY these authors” and find some new ones, so I am doing more new reading (with varied results) and trying to whittle down my TBR pile (with varied results) and the limited amount of reading time I have means I have less time (and more guilt) for rereading. The “best” excuse for rereading is when a new book in a series comes out and then OF COURSE I have to go back and reread the previous volumes, I need to be up to date! *laughs*

    God, I wish they’d put Eddings’ books out as ebooks. I loved The Elenium (and the Tamuli and The Belgariad and the Malloreon) but all my books are in storage in Chicago and I have no idea when I’ll see them–or be able to reread them–again. *sighs*

    • I really stunned myself last year with breaking out of my comfort zone and reading more non-fiction and historical books. It used to be that those kind of books were just boooooring to me. πŸ˜€ But now I find that I really enjoy them.

      *laughs* The only time that re-reading for a series thing is a problem is when it’s like the 7th book. Then I balk and I’m like “ah! I have to read all six first and catch myself back up!”

  8. I don’t read “Nora Roberts” but her alterego JD Robb holds a special place in my heart.

    I reread some of my favorites, MZB’s Firebrand and only the best Robin Hood ever *grins* gets reread every Fall. In the Spring, it usually means I’ll re-read Tad Williams War of the Flowers and Emma Bull’s War of the Oak.

  9. I work for a huge library system, and feel like the shelves of our 47 libraries belong to me. Well, as a tax payer, in a way they do.

    I don’t reread any books either, like Raymond – there are too many authors new to me I want to try. And I don’t keep a lot of books, but I have many signed copies from the authors who appear at the library system for my programs. I keep those because there is a memory attached to every one of them.

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