Do you guys do a lot of re-reading? I've done a little in the past, but not nearly as much as I would like to do because it seems that I'm always behind on the stack of newer books that have more recently caught my eye. But I did decide a few months ago that it was time for me to start taking advantage of the substantial Library of America books that I've accumulated in the last few years.
For those unfamiliar with the LOA books, they are high-quality editions of American classics, both fiction and nonfiction, and there are something like 250 volumes now. I should mention, also, that the LOA is a non-profit publisher, so if you are working on putting together a really fine home library, please do consider them in your plans.
Anyway, I picked up a volume of Steinbeck books and started there before I could lose my good intentions. And it worked. I was instantly reminded of all the reasons that I've always found John Steinbeck's writing so fascinating - and of the six of books that I've read this year, three turned out to be re-reads. What surprised me about that is that I enjoyed two of the re-reads as much as I enjoyed them the first time around, and one not as much. It's the difference between reading them as a young, inexperienced man and reading them as a much older, battle-scarred one that intrigues me.
In the past I've re-read a few books on a regular basis: To Kill a Mockingbird, Lonesome Dove, and The Prince of Tides, among them, but it's been at a sporadic and unpredictable rate. Some years, I do no re-reading at all; during other years, I re-read several of my all-time favorites.
I was reluctant to re-read anything for a long time, fearing that I would ruin an old favorite by carefully reading it through a different set of eyes and biases the second time around. But that hasn't really happened - yet. And with 83 volumes of Library of America books already in my collection, my re-reading can be as varied and unlimited as I could ever wish it to be. (I put the Steinbeck aside a couple of days ago and decided to read a Raymond Chandler novel or two. And The Little Sister, which is not a re-read, has been a revelation. Man, that guy was good.
So...do you guys re-read? And, if not, why not?
Link to Library of America