To Re-Read, or Not to Re-Read?

This is it, people. The time is nigh. Winter is coming and we readers know this to be prime time for our chosen… “sport.” I’m an active individual and I love all things recreational, so in the spring, summer, and fall, you can bet your bottom dollar that you’ll find me out and about frolicking through the meadows, paddling down a river, or hiking up that mountain right over there. Those seasons are far too pleasant to sit inside and hunker down with a book and a hot drink. But this is why God gave us winter. Winter, generally speaking, is misery. Let’s be real. My car door was frozen shut this morning, which I should’ve taken as sign that my day would be better spent in bed with my book and my main man, Mr. Hot-Toddy (I found the best recipe for these, by the way). But no, I soldiered-on through the frost using the ever-faithful windshield scraper that Mom got for me, grumbling and yelling “HEATER, HOT, HIGH” at my non-responsive dashboard, just the way my dad taught me. Clearly, in most ways, winter is not my friend. But I have learned that the random holidays peppered throughout the season are not nature’s only way of making winter tolerable. Cold weather encourages you to stay inside and find something else, anything else to do with your day besides stepping outside. Therein lies the majesty of being a book person; we have a whole 5-ish months to devour all the books we carried with us to lay unopened beside the pool while we splashed and played. It was 23 degrees outside this morning, so I’d say the reading season is in full-swing.

My challenge this winter is the ever-troublesome issue of “to re-read or not to re-read”.  A couple of years ago I read the first five volumes of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series and I have been craving a good, old-fashioned re-read of those lately. However, I have a really difficult time motivating myself to RE-read something when there are so many things I have not read yet. With few exceptions (i.e. anything by Tolkien), I shy away from re-reading things and try to consume as many new-to-me works as I can. I know Hannah has no problem re-reading things; in fact, she just recently read Martin’s series for probably the third time. Many people have no issue with re-reading, but I feel like I’m not giving enough of a chance to the books I’ve been avoiding for so long. I can’t read A Game of Thrones a second time when I haven’t made it all the way through Lolita yet. I know my avoidance of the re-read is irrational, so I’m breaking myself of it, slowly but surely. In order to do this, I couldn’t start with all five of Martin’s 800-ish page books, so I started smaller with Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk.

I read this in high school and I remember thinking it was so strange and interesting, but I didn’t remember much about the story line. Perfect re-read potential, if you ask me. All over again, I loved it. Palahniuk knows exactly how to make the repulsive and offensive character appeal to readers. Last time I talked about Palahniuk, I stated that I would not suggest him to anyone, and I stand by that because it takes a very particular type of person to not be offended by Chuck. However, Invisible Monsters is one of Palahniuk’s milder works and, although I still don’t think the common reader would like it, I also don’t think they would toss the book aside in horror. The characters are pretty bad people; “pretty” being the degree of “badness” (in terms of Palahniuk, they could be so much worse) but they are in fact very pretty people who deal with the 1st world struggles of the beautiful people. Reading about them is like slowing down to look at a horrifying wreck on the interstate; we all want to pass by slowly, take in each and every fascinating detail so that you, in your secure little world, can fully appreciate NOT being that guy on the gurney. His characters are the casualties and their horribly unappealing lives are the wreckage. Like I said, I loved it and I’m glad I re-read it. The verdict is in; re-reads are worth-while. Spread the word far and wide and let us know how you feel about re-reads! We want to hear from you so keep us posted and take time this winter to sit down and get aqainted with an old friend.



Filed under Book Review, Lindsay, Real Talk

4 responses to “To Re-Read, or Not to Re-Read?

  1. Pingback: L: Book Challenge, Day 2 | Untamed Shrews

  2. Melanie Williams

    Not to mention, re-visit the friends you made the first time you read it!

  3. Melanie Williams

    Thanks Lindsay! I am a firm believer in the re-read. Sometimes you just need to re-enter that world, re-live that story, re-capture those feelings you had the first time you read it, or re-escape from the doldrums of the grown-up world. And sometimes you just need to re-read it to see if you’re the same person you were the first time you read it. Perfect case of you do what you gotta do.

    • Those are some really good points, Melanie! I hadn’t thought of it that way but I certainly see your point. A Song of Ice and Fire contains some of the best lit characters I’ve ever encountered. I’d love to revisit the complexity of a well-developed character!

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