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My Make Time to Reread Project (& a peek at my bookshelves)

October 5, 2011


Originally, I thought this would take a long post to explain, but then I realised last night it really doesn’t. After all, I’ve already written about my love of rereading. Pre-blogging, I was a huge rereader; now, not so much. But I miss it tremendously! And as you can see from the photograph, I’ve finally got my bookcases set up the way I want them, so it’s the perfect time to start: I have a large, easily accessible rereading pool right here (except for the two shelves marked ‘to be read’ and the French & Russian shelf which includes quite a bit of reference stuff, all of those books are ones I’ve read before). So, I’ve decided that for the last three months of the year, I’ll spend the first fortnight of each solely choosing fiction books I’ve already read. The only exceptions are for library books that aren’t easily accessible: for instance, books that I’ve requested through inter-library loan or books that have a ridiculously long wait list that I’ve finally reached the top of. Also, I’m not going to give up nonfiction, it’s just that I’m not putting a rereading requirement on those selections: I’ll probably try a few, but it’s really revisiting fiction that I miss. I haven’t yet quite decided what I’ll do about my diverse reading preferences during this project…in the past, I read primarily white authors from England the US, so my rereading pool is heavily skewed that way. That’s part of why I decided to take an every other fortnight approach, but I can also just reread more recent (from the past couple of years) novels/short story collections to add more diversity! I’m not going to keep myself to the strict 1:1 ratio that I do for normal reading, though.

When the month began, I was limited to ebooks, because my hands were still in a lot of pain, but now that I’ve cut way back on typing, they’ve finally become happy again. So my physical books are once again accessible, and I’m sure I’ll be choosing from them soon! You can always see what I’m rereading via my sidebar: currently, I’m in the middle of Northanger Abbey and Laurie King’s The Game. And my first reread of the month was The Two Towers: I’ve been listening to a fun podcast series, The Tolkien Professor, and it made me crave him, so I was delighted to discover my library had ebooks of the series! I’m impatiently waiting for The Return of the King to become available. ;)

As far as blogging goes, once I’m back on my meds (a week from today, October 12th), I imagine I’ll mix up posts about my rereads with posts from my backlog of new-to-me books. I’ll give first preference to rereads that I haven’t blogged about before! Until then, I thought I’d fill the time with more photo-heavy posts: a series introducing you to my bookshelves in more detail! As you can seen, I’ve gone with a different organising scheme (for newish readers, when I lived in Colorado I shelved my books by colour): it kind of created itself organically, so it works for me. I also undertook a massive library cull, so I can’t wait to introduce you to my ‘leaner’ collection! ;) In the meantime, you can click on the top photo to enlarge it if you want a ‘sneak peek.’

What are your favourite books/authors to reread?

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60 Comments leave one →
  1. October 5, 2011 7:59 am

    Love photos my shelves very disorganised at moment Eva .As for rereading I m planning to reread dickens next year for 200th am borrowing my late grandfather complete works from parents to do so ,all the best stu

  2. October 5, 2011 8:10 am

    I miss rereading. There are a couple of titles I plan to pick up in December and reread. I’m also reading Northanger Abbey.

  3. October 5, 2011 8:51 am

    Love the photo of your shelves. I’m generally a great one for rereading but I’ve noticed since I started blogging that I’ve been doing less and less as I keep hearing about enticing books that are new to me. Still, there are always authors I make sure I reread every year, like Austen, Gaskell, and Heyer, not to mention childhood favourites by L.M. Montgomery (I don’t think I’ve missed a year reading Anne of the Island since I first read it when I was 9). I have also been having the urge to reread mysteries – esp. Laurie R. King and Dorothy L. Sayers – but all of those are buried somewhere in storage! Good luck with your season of rereading!

  4. Edie permalink
    October 5, 2011 9:10 am

    Right now I am in the middle of rereading The Mists of Avalon. I read it for the first time nearly 20 years ago and I’ve been feeling the urge to reread it now. I also like to reread the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings every so often and I am planning on doing a big reread of Charles de Lint’s books.

    I do have a question about Laurie R. King. Can I just dive into her Mary Russell books without having read the original Sherlock Holmes books?

    • October 5, 2011 5:23 pm

      Edie, I’ve only read a couple of Sherlock Holmes stories, but I’m a huge fan of the Russell books. The only time my lack of previous Holmes knowledge was even a slight problem was in The Moor. I suspect there are some in-jokes and references I don’t get, but I’ve never felt like I was missing anything.

      • Edie permalink
        October 6, 2011 12:45 pm

        Good to know! Thanks so much, Teresa. :) I had gotten one of her books from a Borders closing sale (it’s a later one in the series) and before I went and got the rest, I wanted to make sure that I wouldn’t be completely lost. It sounds like a really great series.

    • October 6, 2011 12:42 pm

      I’m seconding Teresa: I don’t think you need to read Doyle’s stuff first, except The Moor is a bit richer if you’ve read The Hound of the Baskervilles (the only one of the original Holmes stories I really enjoyed!).

      • Edie permalink
        October 6, 2011 12:51 pm

        Thanks Eva. I’m thinking that reading the Mary Russell stories might even make the original Holmes better. :)

      • October 8, 2011 10:39 am

        Maybe…personally it reminds me of how annoying Watson is! LOL

  5. October 5, 2011 9:45 am

    Your shelves are gorgeous and I love seeing so many of my books (same editions too) up there. I see my W&P and Emma up top and Exlibris, love it. I’ve been trying to make an effort to reread more. I struggle with thinking it’s “wasting” my reading time. Which is, of course, absurd. I’m going to try to reread some favorites next year. This year I reread all 7 Harry Potter books, Pride & Prejudice and The Book Thief, all favorites. I found that with each reread I discovered new things I loved about the books. It really deepens your relationship with the book.

  6. October 5, 2011 10:46 am

    I think I must stand alone in being not a lover of rereading. This has been a recent discovery too and a bit of an eye opener.
    I love looking at your shelves. They look fabulous.

    • October 6, 2011 12:43 pm

      Nick Hornby isn’t a rereader, so you’re in good company! ;) As long as you know what makes you happy, more power to you.

  7. October 5, 2011 10:59 am

    Oh, I love the Tolkien Professor! I’m finishing up the recorded class sessions on The Silmarillion at the moment—I plan to move onto the Q&As and miscellanea before getting to his lectures on The Silmarillion.

    • October 8, 2011 10:40 am

      Once I finish Return of the King, I’m going to reread Silmarillion so I can start listening to those lectures! I haven’t read it since I was 16ish, so barely remember anything.

  8. October 5, 2011 12:03 pm

    Your bookshelves are so lovely!

    I love the idea of rereading, but I don’t get around to it much. With so many books that I’ve yet to read, I have trouble allowing myself to carve out the time. I do plan to reread at least one book by the end of the year though – Hardy’s Tess of D’Urbervilles. It was my first Hardy and I know that I missed so much the first time around.
    The only time that I’m leery of rereading is when it comes to a book that was a favorite as a child. Sometimes my jaded adult perspective destroys the memory.

    Good luck with your rereading project!

    • October 6, 2011 12:44 pm

      I’ve actually yet to reread a childhood favourite and not love it again! Of course, I stay well away from the Animorphs series: I don’t imagine revisiting that would be as much fun. ;)

  9. October 5, 2011 12:45 pm

    Your bookshelves are so pretty. I like rereading but haven’t done so in a very long time- there are just so many new books I always want to read I feel like I’m falling behind. Plus, I have this silly imagined scenario that one day when I’m old no new books will be printed (only in e-format or something) or I’ll be unable to visit the library or for some reason be limited to what I have, and I’ll be forced to re-read all the favorites that grace my shelves.

  10. October 5, 2011 12:49 pm

    Your shelves are lookin’ great, Eva!

    I’m excited to hear about your re-reads. I usually find that good books very much reward re-reading; I can observe the shape of them and the connections between different, far-flung details I had no cause to notice the first time through.

  11. Ruthiella permalink
    October 5, 2011 12:51 pm

    Wow, your shelves look fantastic! I wish I could take the time and organize my own books. Right now they are scattered all over the house.

    I don’t like to re-read generally and usually only do it in a pinch…if there is nothing else to read that I can lay my hands on or if I find I can’t remember the plot. I have found a compromise, however. I don’t really like audibooks, but I find I have no trouble listening to books I have already read. SO this past year I have listed while on my way to and from work to previously read books like “Bleak House”, “Hard Times” and “The Secret Garden”. The only downside is I get the audiobooks from the library (CD format) and there are many I would really love to “re-read” which are not available at my library.

  12. October 5, 2011 1:53 pm

    I love the photo too and I’m glad your hands are doing better. I’ve never been much of a re-reader.

  13. October 5, 2011 3:14 pm

    Great photo – and thanks for the extra info about which books are where… Always interesting to see other people’s bk shelves….

    And you seem to be much more disciplined than I am with your rereading schedule (i.e. the first 2 weeks of each month etc…) Very impressive. Once I was finished with my master’s, I found that I really enjoy just floating from book to book and topic to topic, altho’ obviously this depends on when the due dates are for the ILLs….

    And glad your little mitts are doing better…

    liz in texas (but going to England tomorrow) – whee

    • October 6, 2011 12:45 pm

      I’m just trying this out to get myself back into regular rereading: I find giving myself a bit of structure at first really helps me establish new reading habits that I want anyway. :) Have fun on your trip!

  14. October 5, 2011 3:53 pm

    Your bookshelves are so, so pretty! Makes me want to quickly reorganize mine so they look somewhat close to as nice as yours. :) And I would love to reread some books this year too, but I think I’m a little overbooked with commitments to make that happen. Next year I’m going to scale way back so I should be able to do some rereading. I would love to read the HP books again as well as some old faves.

  15. October 5, 2011 4:01 pm

    I love the way you’ve organized your shelves. They look so pretty and are also so functional. Good luck with your rereading. I look forward to your future posts about this project.

  16. October 5, 2011 4:20 pm

    I love to reread Beloved, Master and Margarita, So Long a Letter and anything by the Somali author Nuruddin Farah. Oh, also The Leopard by di Lampedusa. Enjoy your rereading. happy to hear that you are feeling better. Take care.

  17. October 5, 2011 5:22 pm

    I never get tired of rereading Dorothy Sayers — whose books I espy on your mystery shelf! Hurrah! And James Herriot’s books are such good books to reread, especially because they are pleasingly modular and can be read in convenient segments when brushing my teeth etc.

    • October 6, 2011 12:46 pm

      Yes! Except I don’t have all of the Sayers. Booo. I can’t wait until they go out of copyright so I can pop them all on my Nook: right now only the first is available.

  18. October 5, 2011 5:29 pm

    I don’t reread nearly as much as I used to. At one time, I’d reread all my favorite series frequently (often reading the past books before a new installment came out so those first books would get read a lot). Dorothy Sayers, C.S. Lewis, Laura Ingalls Wilder were also frequent reread choices. When I couldn’t afford to buy books on a whim as I do know, I’d know it was time to buy a copy of a book when I got frequent reread cravings and got the same book out of the library multiple times.

    Last year, I started rereading books during my lunch hour, and that’s been a great way to work rereads into my schedule, although sometimes I just get eager to finish and bring the book home and immerse myself in it. And I love to reread on audio!

  19. Jillian ♣ permalink
    October 5, 2011 6:06 pm

    I’m reading Northanger Abbey in a few days as well! (First I want to read The Mysteries of Udolpho.) I love the reread project — and your shelf organization is awesome! :-)

  20. October 5, 2011 6:16 pm

    I love rereading! I haven’t done so in a while, but my favorite books to reread are usually childhood favorites such as the L.M. Montgomery books. (Although I love discovering new-to-me books of hers too!) I’d like to reread The Lord of The Rings sometime soon too–I’ve been itching to for a while but simply haven’t had time.

  21. October 5, 2011 7:33 pm

    Even when blogging, I was never much of a big rereader. Now with my boys, I tend to find time or aplace to reread some of the my older stories like fantasy and adventure but nothing that I consider just regular old fiction. Love this picture, by the way!

  22. October 5, 2011 7:57 pm

    I’m so jealous. Your shelves look like they came out of a designer magazine! :-) Mine look like they need a good cleaning.

    I haven’t done much rereading this year but I’ve started a small list for next year and plan to stick to it.

  23. She permalink
    October 5, 2011 8:55 pm

    Dang, I want those book shelves!

  24. October 5, 2011 10:21 pm

    I love all the labelling!
    Rereading…hmm…I like to reread The Thorn Birds every so often. Also, Little Women. GWTW.

    My son likes to reread practically everything. He internalizes books, both fiction and nonfiction.

  25. October 6, 2011 1:18 am

    wow, you shelf is gorgeous!!!

    I love how you’ve organized your shelf. I usually don’t re-read books but I do have some I would absolutely love to read again.

    Love you Korean Jewellery Box.

    • October 6, 2011 12:47 pm

      Thank you! It was my mom’s: she got it when she lived there in the 80s, but she passed it on to me. :)

  26. October 6, 2011 4:39 am

    I’ll just assume that you’re copying me and will merely say that imitation is the best form of flattery ;)

    • October 6, 2011 12:48 pm

      lol! I’ve actually been planning this for months, but I had to wait until my bookshelves were sorted. But I very much enjoyed following along w your rereading! :p

  27. October 6, 2011 6:32 am

    I so love seeing how other people arrange their bookshelves. I think it is so indictative of a person’s character! How wonderful. You may have inspired me to do a similar post!

  28. October 6, 2011 7:59 am

    Your shelves look really great. I wish I could single-stack my books and have other stuff on the shelves like that. (Maybe when I get the TBR down to a manageable size).

    As for re-reading, what’s the point in keeping books you have already read if you don’t re-read them every now and then? I have about a dozen books I have re-read numerous times and I keep finding new things in them as I read more in other books and learn more in other ways.

    • October 6, 2011 12:49 pm

      I culled about half of my books so I could have space to sort my shelves the way I wanted! ;)

  29. October 6, 2011 9:35 am

    Your shelves look beautiful! I kept my organized by color for about a year and a half and finally switched back to sorting by author and subject a few weeks ago because I couldn’t find anything.

    I reread much more in pre-blogging days too. I have a huge collection of Anne McCaffrey’s sci-fi and dragon books that I used to dip into for my guilty pleasure reading and I have only read one or two of them since I started blogging three years ago. I should set aside some time for them periodically like you have for your books, I just don’t know when that will happen – maybe in the spring.

  30. bookgazing permalink
    October 6, 2011 10:13 am

    I love anottated photgraphs and would love to see more of your shelves, so glad to hear it’s coming.

  31. October 6, 2011 12:50 pm

    Thank you for all of the compliments everyone! And I’m delighted to see several people are reading Northanger Abbey: one of my very favourite Austens. I heart Henry Tilney. :D

  32. October 6, 2011 8:23 pm

    I love looking at bookshelves! I am terrible at rereading, but I have been doing a bit better lately. Good luck with your project!

  33. October 6, 2011 10:30 pm

    I used to be an avid re-reader before I became a book blogger. I had read most of the books I owned at that stage more than 5 times, sometimes many more times than that and I never got sick of it. When I discovered book blogging though, I became hungry for more and more new literature to read and re-reading fell by the wayside. Now that I am pregnant and my brain seems to have stopped functioning I am doing a lot more re-reading than normal and I am loving it. You can discover so much more in a book the more you read it.

  34. October 7, 2011 12:26 pm

    You’re so organised, and your shelves look amazing! I live with my parents and share a room with my sister, so there’s not that much room for bookshelves but once I have a place (or just a room!) of my own, it’s going to be all about the bookshelves. Yours are beautiful and aspirational :)

    • October 8, 2011 10:41 am

      I live with my parents too Laura! Although I’m lucky enough to have my own room, it’s too small for my bookshelves, so they live next door in the guest room. I hope you get some space for shelves soon. :)

  35. October 8, 2011 9:14 am

    I love seeing your shelves! And that is a great way to organize. Perhaps when I finally have enough shelves for all my books I can do something similar! :)

    • October 8, 2011 9:16 am

      oops. Posted before I was done.

      I love rereading and I really miss how often I was able to do it before I started blogging. Every now and again I read a classic I have already read, but not nearly as many as I would like! I love rereading, so I am excited to see you are revisiting some great titles!

      As for Northanger Abbey, I haven’t read it since the first time I picked it up…I should give it a reread too!

  36. October 8, 2011 11:18 am

    I love to reread. There’s something about reading a book again for the second, third, or even fourth time that is so comforting. I love rereading Steinbeck or Morrison. One of my favorite books to reread is Natalie Babbitt’s Tuck Everlasting.

  37. October 9, 2011 10:02 pm

    I love all the objects that are cohabiting with the books in the bookshelves – the whole tableau looks so inviting!

    I’ve gotten out of the habit of re-reading, but when I was a more frequent re-reader, I enjoyed The Call of the Wild & White Fang (and I have the battered mass-market paperback to prove it) and the first Mary Russell book. Also I think I’ve read Stewart O’Nan’s A Prayer for the Dying at least three times. This year, I’ve re-read Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell and A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute and found both reading experiences to be superb.

  38. October 9, 2011 10:28 pm

    I really like your rereading project. I think I may try that too come November. I recently reorganized my shelves. I now have a shelf dedicated to books I haven’t read and another of books that I would like to reread first.

  39. October 11, 2011 10:19 pm

    Hi Eva

    Your shelves look great! I hve just recently purchased new shelves to accommodate my ever expanding library but already they are filling up. I tend to organise in colour and according to challenges I have set myself includng my current one which is to read my way around the world (a book from every country. My question for you is what do you do with the books you have culled (sell them, give them away?).
    Thanks,
    The Literary Nomad

  40. October 12, 2011 5:11 pm

    Best blog post photo. EVER.

  41. October 14, 2011 10:56 am

    Great idea for a project, Eva! I’ve never been a big rereader, but I’d like to do more of it. Currently I’m having the most success revisiting classics I read in high school but don’t really remember. I’ve enjoyed most of them upon rereading, which is encouraging!

    Always fun to see other bloggers’ shelves, too. Yours are lovely!

  42. October 19, 2011 7:51 am

    I love an organised bookshelf and yours is lovely:) I keep meaning to re-read books but get easily seduced by new ones!

  43. October 20, 2011 4:31 pm

    I reread..everything. I don’t feel that a book is mine until it has been reread several times to milk all its nuance. Some are comfort reads, undemanding and peaceful, like Georgette Heyer and DE Stevenson and Frances Hodgson Burnett; some are I-have-to-be-in-the-mood reads, like The Book Thief or The Persian Boy. I even reread Agatha Christies. Reading a new book is like acquiring a new article of clothing – it needs to be worn a few times before it fits you properly!

  44. October 24, 2011 10:57 am

    Lovely shelves :)

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