Episode 5 – The Re-read

by | Oct 15, 2018 | Bookish Blog (Previously Living A Life Through Books)

Hello everyone.  Last time we spoke about half-finished books. This time, let’s go the other direction. What about a book you’ve finished and love so much, you want to read it again?  That has happened to me.  I’ve read “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari” 3 times.  First time, I read it.  Second time, I highlighted as I read.  Third time, I took notes.  Perhaps, the third time doesn’t count as I went to the highlights only.  Let’s say, I read it fully twice.  When you are in the middle of the book challenge, how would you score this?  Would it or would it not count as another book read?

Ahhhh.  Our minds play tricks on us.  I kept turning this idea over and over in my head before this podcast. My first response – it doesn’t count. It’s not another book.  Well, that was my first response.  I’ve had time to sleep over it.  I’m still struggling with this one, but remember the rules of this engagement.  You make the rules!  So, if you decided when you take the book challenge that a re-read counts as a book, then it does.  So, what if you are on a book a month challenge, like my 2017 challenge and read a book 12 times.  Does it count?

You are going to have to decide that one.  Part of me says no.  Part of me says, yes.  Every time you read a book, you get something new out of it.  A person who has read a book several times, can probably speak more about the book and with greater clarity and authority than a person who has only read it once.

The other factor about reading a book again, is that of self-reflection.  As I’m doing this podcast, I’m forced to think about this concept and myself.  What makes me re-read a book.  Is it genre based?  Have I ever re-read a novel?  The Monk Who Sold his Ferrari is the self-help category so that’s a different genre. Maybe re-reading is genre based but we can talk about that later.  Have I ever re-read a novel?  The answer is yes.  In my teens, I was obsessed with Jane Eyre.  I read it 3 times.  I read Rebecca by Du Maurier twice.  Here I am over 30 years later thinking about it.  At that time, re-reading the book didn’t cross my mind.  It was very simple.  I loved it, I re-read it.  Now, within the framework of my book goals, somehow the concept is throwing me off. Is this something similar to childhood? When we are children we just take to play and creativity naturally and when we are older, the adulting kicks in and steals our childhood?  This older version of me is processing the concept of re-reading a book while the younger version of me, didn’t even think there was such a concept.  Just do what pleased you, right?

I feel re-reading may be genre based.  There are a lot books with a ton of information in them.  In my earlier podcast, I mentioned the book Good to Great. For me, it would be worth a re-read. There’s only so much information I can soak in on one read.  These books strangely take on the form of a text book or a reference book.  Do we want to re-read the whole book?  It depends on what you got out of it the first time around.  There are some books, I just want to re-read a chapter.  Some, I want to re-read the whole thing.  Like I mentioned Monk Who Sold His Ferrari.  That was a whole re-read.  But if re-reads are genre based and it’s saved for the special genres of self-help and business, then what about the novels I’ve re-read?  In this case, I think there’s no right answer.  I feel re-reading is genre based, but it’s also heart based.  If your heart craves a book again, then feed it what it wants.

I was talking to my husband about this concept and he mentions re-reading as a crap read.  What is a crap read?  I asked.  Maybe I shouldn’t have.  He laughed and said, “You know when you are on the crapper.  Crap read!”  Well, I don’t stay on the crapper too long.  I just get done with my business and move on.  This is going into TMI.  Crap read or garden read or couch read or flight read.  Is there a rule for these?  Are re-reads saved for a special occasion?  Did I just use “crap read” and “special occasion” in the same paragraph? Moving on.  So, should they be?

If you ask me, I don’t care. Read what you want, when you want. Period.  After all, shouldn’t reading be fun.  I think that’s the issue.  We force our children to read books that don’t speak to them and essentially in trying to help them read, we push them farther away.  And if a child wants to re-read a book we say, “but you’ve read it already!”  I think about Belle in Beauty and Beast.  “Far off places, daring sword flights, magic spells, a prince, in disguise!”  Yes, a book is a very powerful drug.  It can take you places far, far, far away and when you return you smile, for the experience has made you richer.  And you want to return to that land, again and again and again.

I’ve talked about books and relationships before.  I think a book is a relationship.  If you push it at someone over and over and over, the other party just runs.  They don’t want to hear the B word.  However, if you let them decide, people may come to terms with what they want to read and then read for the enjoyment of it.

One of my nieces is not a reader.  How are we related?  It’s not possible, I would think.  Well, my brother is not a reader.  Again. Is he really my brother?  My parents say so.  The jury is out on that one.  I can’t recall the last time my brother read a book.  We were talking about it and one of my nieces said, “Daddy, did you know aunty read 12 books last year!”  My brother reeled in shock.  12?  I haven’t read a book since high school.  I can’t recall his exact words but yes, my parents still say we are related.  The point is this.  If I asked people to join me in a book reading challenge, they wouldn’t. People don’t do it for you.  They do it for themselves.  When I talked about this concept to Erin, she didn’t read books because I was doing it.  No. She did it for herself.  The concept spoke to her.  With books, if you ask someone to read a book of a genre that they’re really not into, you could potentially turn them away and spend the rest of your life explaining to them that there “are” other books.  No thank you, would be their response.

My niece, the non-reader said to me that she started reading.  Oh good.  I was quite stressed about the genetics.  She said she liked The Maze Runner and it’s a matter of reading fun books.  YES.  That’s what it’s always been about.  It’s about finding that book that claws into you and won’t ever let you go.  If my niece wanted to re-read The Maze Runner, would that be OK?  I think yes. It’s still a book.  It’s still keeping the reading habit alive in her and it’s reinforcing a sense of pleasure from reading.  Maybe at some point, she’ll read a different book.  Maybe, but for now, I think if you want to read one book, over and over and over and that’s your goal, far be for me to say anything about it.  Do it.

I’m personally growing with this podcast.  As I grew through reading books in my experiment, I got to understand myself and my limitations.  My likes, my dislikes.  Doing this podcast is expanding my mind about the concept of living a life through books.  After all, everyone’s concept is different and that’s the beauty of it all.

So, read. Re-read.  Whatever you choose.  Your life, your destiny.  For me, if I keep ahead of my reading goals for this year, I may just choose to use the last 2 months to re-read.  Why not?

Until next time, this is Dr. Shahnaz Ahmed with living a life through books.  And remember to water the seeds within you.  It’s time.


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