Books, Revisited: Why I Re-Read Books

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HAPPY OCTOBER, EVERYONE! Ok, so I’m not sure if you’d figured this out yet, but holy crap I love October. I’m so excited it’s here & cannot wait for Halloween (except that whole “I really need to start working on my costume” thing). Anyway, I’m feeling refreshed and totally energized by the prospect of a new month and a new season, and my trip to the salon a couple weeks ago definitely helped things, as well! Clearly, I’m feeling like rambling because of all the excitement. I haven’t had that much caffeine yet today, I swear!

Today I wanted to talk about revisiting/re-reading books. I’ve only read a handful of books more than once (children’s books excluded), and I was thinking this morning –  since I just finished re-reading Heir of Fire & have moved on to re-read Queen of Shadows – about which books I have chosen to devote more of my time to than others, and why.

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Similarly to re-watching movies over and over again, re-reading a book gives you new insight to the story. You pick up on things you didn’t notice the first time around and you put the pieces together in the way the author intended, rather than the way your brain decides to piece it all together before the author comes out & explains it (did that even make sense?). Let me try again: I love using an author’s foreshadowing & tiny clues to try and figure out the twists and secrets before they are revealed later in the story. At the same time, by doing that, I miss out on just experiencing the story and taking time to really connect with the characters. On a second (or third, or fourth) read-through, you know where the story is going & you can just marvel at the way the author brings the narrative together.

The obvious difference between re-watching a film and re-reading a book, though, is time commitment. I’m not a very fast reader, so reading a book multiple times really is a commitment & takes away from the time I could spend reading new books (and putting the tiniest of dents into my To Be Read list, you feel?). So, what makes a book re-readable for me, personally?

  1. FEELS. This is the primary reason I will re-read a book. If it makes me feel strongly – any emotion, really, but just resonates on an emotional level? It’s definitely worth reading again. This is basically the first criteria for whether or not I’ll take the time to revisit a book. If I didn’t feel anything for it, why bother, right?
  2. BEAUTY. I am a sucker for poignant books with beautiful language or beautiful settings. I have read The Great Gatsby more times than any other book (I think I’m sitting around 5 or 6) because it is just so beautiful to me. Tragic, of course. But beautiful. I’m certain that as my experience with classic novels grows, there will be a few more that I add to this list. I’ve also re-read the book The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant three times since the first time I read it. That book is like soul food for anyone obsessed with Renaissance-era art history.
  3. SEQUELS. So series are a huge thing right now, obviously. Seems like every book you pick up these days is part of some series or another, and finding stand-alone novels can really be a daunting task. What about that feeling when you finish a book that you didn’t KNOW was in a series and then you have to wait a year (or more) for the next installment? That might be one of the worst feelings. By the time that next book is released, you’ve likely forgotten some of the key points of its predecessor, and a re-read would help pull you back into the world and better understand what is happening in your new book.
  4. ADAPTATIONS. This is one I haven’t really experienced yet, but would definitely qualify as a reason to re-read something. In a time when Film/TV adaptations of best-selling books seem to be the norm, it’s likely that one of your favorite book series is going to be adapted at some point. Now, my previous exprience has just been to read books once the adaptation is already nearing completion, so it’s not a re-read scenario, obviously. But The Selection and Throne of Glass series have both been optioned recently for adaptations, and you can rest assured I will be re-reading if/when those projects reach completion.
  5. NOSTALGIA. There are always those books you read when you are young that stick with you because they resonate on some level or are really integral to developing the person you choose to become.  I started a Harry Potter re-read this year for that very reason. It’s a series I love desperately, that had a huge impact on me as a teenager (obviously I’m not alone in this), but I haven’t read the books since Deathly Hallows was released.  Another great example of this for me is Ella Enchated by Gail Carson Levine. I adored that book the first time I read it & it may have been the book that really cemented a love of reading in me. I have re-read it a few times over the years, but I’m actually probably due for a another read-through soon.

I mean it when I say I don’t have many books on my re-read shelf. It really takes a hugely emotional connection to a book before I’ll consider spending extra hours on it. Because, why would I when a new favorite could be next on my TBR pile?

Here’s a look at every book I can remember reading more than once. Again, excluding children’s books & beginning at about mid-grade level:

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Fun fact: Twilight should technically also be on this list, but I didn’t include it because the only reason I’ve read it more than once is that I completely forgot I had read it the first time. I don’t know if that’s on me or Stephanie Meyer, but apparently it really didn’t resonate that much the first time through.

So, how about you? Do you tend to read books once and move on, or do you re-visit old favorites? How do you choose? I’d love to hear from you!

Until Next Time ❤

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August Recap! I’m All Planned Out.

So blogcation is officially over, as evidenced by my two whole posts last week. Haha. Seriously, I’ve got to do some heavy-duty work to get myself ahead of the game. As I said before, August is a crazy busy month for us every year, so I was grateful to be able to focus on the things going on around me with minimal distractions.

Hubby’s 28th Birthday

This year, I had the hardest time figuring out what to get K for his birthday. I don’t know about you guys, but my husband is the WORST person to buy gifts for. Everything he wants either costs hundreds of dollars, or else he just buys it himself. I finally came up with a solution and ended up pooling money with his brother, his parents, and my parents so we could get him an electric smoker! This thing is awesome, has tons of room, and even has bluetooth capabilities so he can control it and check the meat temp right from his phone. Perfect for a techy dude like my husband. 🙂 We’ve used it a few times now, and have had a lot of fun figuring out the science of smoking meats. It definitely takes some practice to get things perfect, though.

As for a party, we decided to just have people over for a casual BYOB hangout at our house. We had a few people over for lunch and then just hung out for a few hours until the actual party started around 5:00. Over the course of the night I estimated around 40 people stopping by to wish him happy birthday! It was a really great night with friends, culminating in an epic Cards Against Humanity tournament dominated by the birthday boy. All-in-all, pretty awesome.

Kiddo’s 5th Birthday

We both took off work at noon on the day of her birthday to come home & re-arrange her bedroom to fit her new full size big-girl bed in. That was not an easy feat, let me tell you. Girl’s room is packed to the brim. Here, I’ll show you…

Yeah, Ernie wanted in on the action

See what I mean? It’s super full. But it’s cute as hell. After we did the re-arranging, we picked her up from school & brought her home to surprise her with it! She loves her bed & the extra floor space we somehow managed to create for her to play in. After the big reveal, she tore into a pile of presents that had come in the mail from various sources (mostly books from book club friends) and then we headed to Toys R Us so she could pick out $40 worth of toys from mom & dad (yes, we gave her the gift of shopping…she is certainly my offspring). She ended up picking out a Shopkins playset, a My Little Pony Funko blind box, and a few blind bags from Littlest Pet Shop and MLP.

The big party was the Saturday after her birthday – My Little Pony themed, of course – and like the terrible blogger I am, I didn’t manage to get any pictures of the party itself, just kids whacking at a pinata and crowding around the presents.  Everything was pretty much rainbow-themed, since Rainbow Dash is her favorite pony. I also went with enough sweets on the menu to make Pinkie Pie proud. My mother-in-law made an epic stacked rainbow cake with a MLP transfer that said “Happy 5th Birthday, Evvie!” It was a really great party with more kids than I really expected. Luckily I don’t really ever have to plan activities for her parties because we just set up our giant inflatable water slide & let the kids go crazy on it.

FOOTBALL

We could talk about the first couple weeks of  September, here, too…because FOOTBALL! We’re huge Iowa Hawkeye fans, so we tailgated the first game of the year on the 5th and then had our 5th annual Iowa/Iowa State party for the Cyhawk gmae against our rivals this past Saturday. We even hauled our 55″ Plasma to the back yard so we could watch outside and then set up a projector in our den with something like 130″ of screen. It was good times, but I’m all partied out. No more. Until Halloween. Thanks 🙂

WORK

I don’t talk much about my day job because it’s basically just that, but we moved offices at the end of August, which was super chaotic for me, being the Office Manager-type person on our team. So that contributed to high stress levels & is worth mentioning .

BOOKS READ

Ah, the relaxing stuff! I was pretty productive in the reading category in August. At least, more so than most other months throughout the year. I knocked out 3 novels and 3 graphic novels this month:

  1. Stardust by Neil Gaiman – I’m actually working on a pretty comprehensive review/ film comparison post. No promises on when it’ll be done. But it’s coming.
  2. A Court of Thorns & Roses by Sarah J Maas – Review pending
  3. Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling – Re-read thoughts pending
  4. Batgirl of Burnside– Adult Booklr read-along
  5. The Killing Joke 
  6. The Wicked + The Divine Vol. 1 – Adult Booklr read-along for September (omigosh, I’m ahead of schedule?!)
  7. The Martian – I only got 11% of the way through this before the end of the month, but I’m counting that 11%. This was one of the Adult Booklr read-alongs for August, and I’ll have a review up just as soon as I can stop fangirling long enough to form coherent sentences. Thanks.

So, that’s about it. Along with a BUNCH of planning – planning parties, planning blog posts, planning surprises for AdultBooklr…. Planning, planning, planning! Oy. Oh, and the cleaning was never-ending. I’m so far behind on laundry because I was either reading or cleaning almost every night I had free time.

What’d I miss while I was gone? I wasn’t keeping up with reading blogs, either, so if something exciting happened to you last month, let’s talk about it!

Until Next Time ❤

 

PS – If you’re a Throne of Glass fan, you can follow along with my unofficial AdultBooklr read-along of Queen of Shadows on Tumblr & Twitter. Just look for the tag #OGFQoS! I’m having a lot of fun reading this book, y’all!

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Authors I REALLY Want to Meet

T3It’s time for Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! This week’s list had me stumped for a little while because while I’d LOVE to meet any author of any book I’ve ever read, there are only a small handful of ones I obsess over. However, once I loosened my grip on the definition of “author”, I was able to fill in the remaining gaps. 🙂

Ten Authors

  1. JK Rowling. Author of my favorite series & just generally a genius. I’d love to interact with someone who has so much imagination that she can create a world as rich & complete as Harry Potter.
  2. Kiera Cass. My next favorite series – especially after reading The Heir. I would spend most of my time fangirling & begging her to tell me whether the cliffhanger at the end of The Heir turns out OK or not! OMG. Seriously.
  3. Ransom Riggs. The Miss Peregrine books were definitely my favorites I read last year.  This is another instance of a rich & wholly complete world that has come from somebody’s imagination & I just want to pick that person’s brain to figure out how you even DO that.
  4. Ernest Cline. Currently reading Ready Player One. I honestly don’t have much experience with Ernest Cline’s work, other than that. But what I’ve read of RP1 has already made me want to meet him. I’m sure we’d have plenty to talk about.
  5. Ted Dekker. Ted Dekker was my favorite author all through high school. Honestly, his books are probably the only reason I SURVIVED high school.  His stories are filled with suspense and wars on morality. There are heavy religious undertones (which was fine for a girl who spent 3 nights a week in church) and lessons about persistence and martyrdom. I’m actually re-reading some of his stuff this year & I still enjoy it just as much, even though I’m not nearly as religious as I once was.
  6. Brian K. Vaughan. I’m such a huge fan of Brian K. Vaughan’s body of work. He may not be a “novelist”, but he is sure as hell an author. Between Saga, The Runaways, Y: The Last Man, and his work on things like Buffy Season 8, I’d just want to hang out with him for a day. We’d get some coffee & come up with a new story to tell. On that note…
  7. Joss Whedon. Totally counts. Forget about the controversy right now & just appreciate Joss for Joss. I do. ❤ The only reason he’s so low on the list is because it’d be cheating to put him up high when his primary career is not “author”. But I’d give nearly anything to hang out with him for a day.
  8. Richelle Mead. I’ve only read the Vampire Academy & Bloodlines series, but I’m fully obsessed with them both. I didn’t realize how vast her body of work is until recently when I started looking into other series to dive into. Someone who can produce such a high volume of HIGH QUALITY fiction is definitely someone I want to meet.
  9. George R.R. Martin. I haven’t READ any of the Song of Ice & Fire books. I will someday, but I hate the feeling of waiting for a new release, so without even having a release date, I’m just not willing to get myself in that situation. I’d still like to meet the man behind Westeros, though. And maybe try to kick his ass into gear on cranking out that new book. Haha.
  10. Hannah Hart. My dream BFF. I love everything about her. This was a no-brainer. I’m just glad she wrote a book so I could put her on this list 🙂

Honorable Mention: Veronica Roth. So I can punch her in the face. Not joking. She ruined an entire month for me. Well, ok. I’d at least give her a stern talking-to.


How about you? Any authors you’re just dying to meet? Let me know in the comments!

Until Next Time ❤