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To read or not to re-read - that is the question!

by: Marilyn Owen (15 February 2015)

I recently read a thought-provoking article on the merits of re-reading books in the Guardian’s book section.

Re-reading a hundred times over…

The article is by author and columnist Stephen March who has, in his own words, “perused PG Wodehouse and Hamlet more than 100 times each”.

It set me thinking – re-reading is often obligatory, I recall reading over and over set texts for examinations or study – for example, Othello for my “A” Level English – but I don’t recall how many times I did so and nor did I count. It is reminiscent of the act of proofreading when three proofreads should ensure all proofreading errors are picked up and corrected. The author has coined the expression “centireading” to express the significance of one hundred; one hundred being a milestone for re-reading that one can aim to reach.

And the advantages?

Well you do feel you get to know the text somewhat. The text becomes a part of you and you know the characters and the plot – which means you don’t have to be concerned about what happens but instead can just relish the language and the characters. If the book happens to be part of your academic studies, you are at an advantage in that you know the book – or should do by this time.

Are there any disadvantages?

If I choose to re-read a favourite book a hundred times I’m not extending my reading – only going over the same ones again and again. In some ways, it’s like watching old TV programmes, just for the comfort of doing so. I am reminded of my sister-in-law who reads her Catherine Cookson books countless times.

A personal library

You need a good personal library if you plan to re-read your favourites! My own collection is astronomical and I plan to keep my favourite books and pass them on to my granddaughter. I’ll have a chance to re-read them when I’m older and greyer in my rocking chair – there’s nowt like a good book, in my book!


Views: 2584

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Ref: 154 I sometimes think that when studying a book eg for exams, a student can spend more time reading and re-reading than the author spent writing it!
Romany - 10:31 16-02-2015
Ref: 153 There are too many books that I haven't yet read that prevent me from re-reading books I have already read!
Garry - 10:24 16-02-2015

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