Ah, Rereading!

“Tell me what you read and I’ll tell you who you are” is true enough, but I’d know you better if you told me what you reread.

~~ François Mauriac

A sight no author wants to see ...

Wah! The sight no author wants to see…

So Susan Kaye and I were chatting yesterday about paralyzing fears for the writer. Namely, perfectionism. In particular (for us), the fear of creating a one-read book.

You know the kind. The story is all plot, and once you know the ending, poof! The appeal is gone and the book is tossed into the garage sale box. Like one-watch movies.

I am a hopeless rereader (and rewatcher) of stories that live and breathe. What Christopher Morely said!

When you sell a man a book you don’t sell just twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue — you sell him a whole new life. Love and friendship and humour and ships at sea by night — there’s all heaven and earth in a book, a real book.

~~ Christopher Morley

So what pulls at you to reread a novel?

Last weekend I curled up with a cozy mystery, Nemesis by Agatha Christie. What titles have you reread?

(Image courtesy of Brewbooks – Creative Commons)

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14 thoughts on “Ah, Rereading!

  1. janashe

    I am definitely into rereading – and I think mostly it is for great dialogue, good imagery, clever reuse of cano9n dialogue or twists to plot, insightful character analysis – the things that make me love it the first time ! lol Right now I am rereading the Memory series by Linda Wells – all of hers are ones I reread. Also Lory Lillian, Marsha Altman, Pamela Aidan, Abigail, Regina ….. and I am devoted to following good WIPs then rereading them once published. I also pick up Sherlock Holmes and Elizabeth Gaskell frequently = oh, did I mention I put away tv years ago in favor of a good book? lol

    1. Laura Hile Post author

      Wow, Jan, you have given up TV sure enough! Recommendations from re-reading friends is how I find new favorites.

      And you’ve been able to meet some of your Austen authors in person. So your bookshelves smile … :)

  2. Robin Helm

    I reread the Twilight saga many times, and I read Edward’s point of view (I forgot the name of it) online over and over. No, Meyer is not a master of the craft, but she is a wonderful story teller. I could identify with the characters (klutzy Bella, self-doubting Edward, angry Jacob), and I was drawn in by the plot. There was humor as well as pathos.

    I’ve read Austen’s books many times, too, and I always hope that Darcy will not make that horrible proposal or Wentworth will not put Anne through such torment. I want Marianne to love Brandon on sight and Fanny to be beautiful instead of plain. Emma is the one which I would not change.

    Jane Eyre also fascinates me, and I read Frank Peretti’s books every few years.

    There are Austen variations which I’ve read several times, too, but I’m not going to list them for fear of giving offense. I can say that what catches my attention in this genre is something different. I love Laura’s unexpected sequels, Susan’s insight into Wentworth’s character, Pamela’s clear drawings of the characters, and Barbara’s delicate style. I’m waiting for Gayle’s break out novel, and I assure you that she will write one.

  3. Laura Hile Post author

    Jane Eyre is a favorite of mine, too, Robin. Funny, I’ve never been tempted to write a Bronte variation as I have with Persuasion— I don’t notice white spaces in JE! :)

    Several years ago I was given a complete collection of Agatha Christie novels, so I often have one open. Not that I’m aging or anything, but I find I forget the details, and so enjoy the stories all over again! Plus, Christie is so adept with crafting characters. What I have learned from her is a lot.

  4. Sophia Rose

    Goodness! I re-read so many books and re-watch so many movies that its not for any one reason. I like the creative world, the characters, the plot, even the music, the love story—sometimes I just need the joy of reading and the comfort of a plot that holds no surprises for me. My most often re-read authors are Georgette Heyer and Agatha Christie (I know it seems odd to re-ready a murder mystery, but I like going back and seeing all the clues I missed the first time).

    1. Laura Hile Post author

      Hi Sophia Rose! I reread Christie because I enjoy the way she draws characters. And also how she weaves wisdom into the fabric of the story, things that make you think. I used to reread Heyer…which explains why when I began writing, I chose Regency. :)

  5. Robin Helm

    I’ve read most of the Agatha Christie books, too, but I rarely reread them. I have reread Orson Scott Card’s Ender series a couple of times. Warning: there is is some bad language. Ender’s Game is the most brilliant sci-fi I’ve ever read. It’s the only book I’ve read that completely fooled me with the ending. His other writing is a little too weird for me, but the Ender series is pure genius.

  6. Susan Kaye

    The time is coming for me to reread Jane Eyre. Unfortunately, every reread reminds me how much editing it needs. I’m also considering a reread of Patrick O’Brien’s Captain Jack Aubrey series: 20 books of sea going fun!

  7. Susan Kaye

    P. S. @Laura, thanks for changing the header. I was offline for a week and didn’t really care if we wished the world Happy New Year until the next one!

  8. Lee Nissen

    Dear Ms Hile, I’ve reread your Mercy’s Embrace series three or four times, and wait impatiently for the fourth volume. I’ve also given it to my daughter and granddaughter and recommended it to several friends. You’ve perfectly captured the Austen style while breathing new life (and a new man!) into it. Thanks so much, but please, please finish the fourth volume. Winter is such a dreary time. We need food for thought and humor for our souls. Best wishes, Lee Nissen


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