Runners Who Read

Who knew? A bunch of runners who enjoy reading and discussing what they read.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Re-reading books

Sorry if I am late to the party. Just finished the semester and am only now catching up on life and reading (as if there is a difference?)

Just wanted to reply to Kim's question about re-reading books. I re-read books all the time - often as a result of recommending them to someone else. Inevitably the process of re-reading brings some unexpected insights that I didn't have the first time around. I actually just pulled "And the Band Played On" from my shelves last night because I realized I wanted to read it again with my nascent epidemiologist eyes......

The same goes for reading an author's collected works. I think there is something particularly wonderful about getting a view of an author's world from several books. Sometimes, I appreciate the author even more (like my recent experience in re-reading Andre Dubus collected stories and memoir.) Other times, I discover that re-reading a collection I had remembered it more fondly than it deserved. That recently happened when I re-read several of Hellenga's books. I really disliked his protagonist (and found the writing facile) the second (maybe third) time around. Maybe I was just in a bad mood, but the experience was really sour the second time around.

I am really looking forward to getting some great recommendations from this group......and am already on the waiting list at local library for McEwan's book on 9/11 based on your recommendation, Paul.....



Blogger T said...

An English teacher of mine in high school told our class that she felt that you couldn't truly appreciate an author until you had read all of his work. I subsequently took it upon myself to read all of Vonnegut and Bret Easton Ellis. I'm not sure why I picked those two. I think I appreciated Ellis more before I read all of his work. And Vonnegut... well, I still appreciate him quite a bit, but my fanaticism might have been driven in part by the fact that I was 17 at the time.

12:39 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

Some authors' work is so rich and multifaceted they practically necessitate re-reading -- for me, Shakespeare, Dante, and Proust are three examples. All can be read for different things each time and never be exhausted.

Other writers are simply tremendous storytellers who create vivid worlds, and you want them to revisit that world again and again -- for me, that would include Tolkien, Patrick O'Brian, or Robertson Davies. I've lost track of the number of times I've read Davies' The Rebel Angels, in large part just because I like listening to his "voice."

1:40 PM  
Blogger Paul said...


I'll be very interested in your reaction to McEwan's new book,Saturday. The main character has strong mixed feelings about the war in Iraq. Did you read Hitchens' review in the Atlantic?

The Rebel Angelswould be an excellent book for our discussion, Ed. I'd love to read it again and talk about it with our group.

Paul Gottschalk

4:21 PM  

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