There are a few books I’ve read more than once…

white ceramic mug on white textile

There are only two reasons I’ll reread something. Either to see how I’ve changed since the first time, or because I feel I missed something. Age has a lot to do with the former, and insight with the latter. Both may be closely related, and accompanied by a sense of nostalgia. Fond memories alone aren’t my reason to read.

For example, I first read the Dune series (only through Chapterhouse) when I was fifteen years old. I thought I might have a different view in my late twenties, I was right. The backstory felt more real, my connection to Paul was more distant, but the urgency for his quest to succeed was stronger. Time changes us all.

By comparison, I reread “Time Enough for Love” by Robert Heinlein at least three times. It isn’t to see how I’ve changed, but to find other meanings in the book I hadn’t seen before. The characters, settings, and events have more meaning each time. Maybe lots of books are like this, but I reread so few I don’t’ have enough frame of reference.

Both reasons for me to reread are connected. I could even argue they are different facets of the same idea. Age and insight do go hand in hand. For me the difference is inward versus outward. Can I see more of a change in myself, or recognize more depth in the material? Both answers should be yes, but the devil is in the details.

Leave a Reply