Re-Reading is dejavu all over again

[Updated :    FLASHBACK CHALLENGE website is HERE!! 🙂     Buttons maybe sometime later.  ]

I’m challenging myself in 2010 to re-read a few books.

I never re-read books!

So.   Since Jenny seemed so upset to hear this, I decided I needed to try this strange experience with more study.  Besides, somebody somewhere said to really read a book, it must be in the second or third time.     (I’ll go look up that quote – I’m butchering it, I’m sure.   I think it was Nabokov.)

Here’s my list:

Mrs. Dalloway / Virginia Woolf

Wind, Sand and Stars – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (my review of reading it the first time)

Are You There God?  It’s Me, Margaret / Judy Blume

Jane Eyre – because I feel like I’m lying when I say I’ve read this but surely.  Surely!  I did read this already, right?   maybe not.   I can’t really remember.    I know I know the story, so let’s see if I can get through a ‘read’.

and… after finding out about a LOTR challenge, I’m considering diving into The Hobbit.


“Curiously enough, one cannot read a book: one can only reread it. A good reader, a major reader, an active and creative reader is a rereader. And I shall tell you why. When we read a book for the first time the very process of laboriously moving our eyes from left to right, line after line, page after page, this complicated physical work upon the book, the very process of learning in terms of space and time what the book is about, this stands between us and artistic appreciation. When we look at a painting we do not have to move our eyes in a special way even if, as in a book, the picture contains elements of depth and development. The element of time does not really enter in a first contact with a painting. In reading a book, we must have time to acquaint ourselves with it. We have no physical organ (as we have the eye in regard to a painting) that takes in the whole picture and then can enjoy its details. But at a second, or third, or fourth reading we do, in a sense, behave towards a book as we do towards a painting.”

-Nabokov’s Lecture on Literature

and another quote for you entertainment:

“Tell me what you read and I’ll tell you who you are” is true enough, but I’d know you better if you told me what you reread. ”
François Mauriac

Yea, I don’t think Frank would bother getting to know me very well.


The official Challenge site offers up a few levels to commit to (My FIVE books fits into the Scholar level) and also suggests re-reading books from various time periods of your life:   childhood (AYTGIMM – first read in 1976 of 1977), high school (Jane Eyre – early 80’s), adulthood (Mrs. Dalloway – 2002 when I was prepping for the full The Hours movie experience).

14 thoughts on “Re-Reading is dejavu all over again

  1. That is a great list for the challenge! Funnily enough, we were considering calling it the deja vu challenge, but I think we’re just going to go with Flashback Challenge. If I could get my nose out of Elizabeth Chadwick’s The Greatest Knight long enough to write a post, then I’d have posted about it already 😉

  2. Jane Eyre is so very worth rereading – glad that’s on your list! And I hope you don’t find the experience altogether unpleasant; I reread books so often they become comforting like a nice hot bath or a bowl of soup on a cold day…

    1. I know, I know. I feel I must have some vitamin deficiency in my inability to appreciate a re-read. I’m starting with Mrs. Dalloway though and then The Hobbit. I’ll make Jane Eyre third even though it is likely the most unfamiliar. OH! and I was also considering the audio versions but it occurs to me that it sort of defeats the concept. 😛

  3. You have a wonderful list. I am really surprised that u never re read 🙂 I do that so much . Are you there God ?It’s Me Margaret is a really good book . I would have put it in my list if I hadn’t read it just a few months back.

  4. What a great idea! I keep thinking I need to go back and read all of the classics I was forced to read in highschool and college and see if I like them now or not!

  5. I don’t think an audiobook defeats the concept. I always have a good time in classes where we’ve all had to read a “common book” because I can point out to my college students what a difference it makes when I’ve only read a novel once. Half of what they identify as being “really smart” is just rereading and then pointing out what I’ve noticed.

  6. Pingback: The Hobbit « Care's Online Book Club

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