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06 March 2012


I think you read A River Runs through It because it's probably not that often that you read a book wherein the author is happy with every sentence, every word. The quality of the writing is admirable, the story true fiction, and the book is highly economical, isn't it? I re-read that book to remind me of truths I've forgotten (or that I can remember but not the author's economical phrasing of it).

By the way, that Gig book you spoke of a couple of days ago...truly, truly interesting. One night I read excerpts and was disgusted with our species. The next day I read a bunch more and found something to emulate in our fellow human beings. I'm guessing I will yo-yo a few more times. Interesting. Have you read the Studs Terkel?

I think you have to be a re-reader from childhood to appreciate it. I never re-read books. Maybe because there are too many books to read, why waste my time reading something I've already read? And I always had the unsettling feeling that "I've read this already" and I didn't like it.
Now, since blogging, being challenged and made aware that rereading can be pleasurable, I have enjoyed and appreciated the view of a story from a different time and place. (However, I wish I had left Narnia alone; I am still upset that the magic was gone the second time through.) And I would even suggest that some books NEED a second reading - Mrs. Dalloway was one that improved second time through, as did Atonement by McEwan.
I have a few books I say I want to reread but I still let them get crowded and buried under the New and sparkly must-reads that demand my attention. I used to never keep books until blogging and now I have over 200 on my shelves - most UNREAD.
Still, I wanted to mention that A River Runs Through It is on my tbr and this motivation was reinforced by FIRE SEASON by Philip Conors; Maclean wrote about being a lookout.

Most of the time, when I reread it's for comfort. But there are those books that I reread because I know I didn't quite get them the first time. A few of my favorite authors (Dorothy Dunnett being the prime example) write such elaborate, complex books that it's fun (but not exactly comforting) to go back and pick up more details on a second go-round, after I know the basic plot. And some books I read before I was ready or when I was in the wrong mood, and I've had better luck on the second try. Mrs. Dalloway is on my list for a second try someday because I did *not* like it when I read it in college, but I'm more patient with that kind of book now, 18 years later.

CR Fan,
Oh you know how I love your moniker.
Of course, the beauty of the writing is a large part of what makes ARRTI so comforting to me. And the time and care that went into the story.
I have read the Terkel and I did enjoy it, but I never re-read it. I think I liked that "Gig" was closer to our time. More immediate.

Interesting. I probably did do a lot more re-reading as a child, when I had lots more time. I always enjoyed it then too.
I'm sorry Narnia did not work as a re-read--I've had that happen to me too. That kind of tarnishes the first experience in retrospect, and I agree it's a bummer.
I think you are right about needing a re-read sometimes. This is most certainly the case with me. I am a fast but messy reader (it's how I do everything, really) so when I re-read I always pick up new things, which I enjoy. More deliberate readers may not need that.
I wish you good luck with A River Runs Through It but I'm sorry I've built it up--I know others I've suggested it too have not understood the appeal of "that fishing book"--but as with all reading, it just depends on the person! (No worries if you don't like it; you can tell me.)

Exactly. I don't mean to miss details, and a lot of time I'm not reading real complex stuff, but it still is nice to go back and find something new in books.
And I totally agree with stopping books you're not enjoying, just to re-try them later. It has happened to me countless times, that a book I didn't like at first turns out to be a favorite. I wish you good luck with Mrs. Dalloway!

The re-reading: Agreed that it's all about the comfort. During times of trial, You Know Exactly What You're Getting with a re-read. (Nobody's gonna get diagnosed with something incurable partway through unless you Already Know About It.)

And Norman Maclean: How can a person *not* re-read his stuff? The man. Oh, that man.

Ah, Knowing Exactly What You're Getting. Something I, with my love of routine, definitely need for comfort.

Oh, Norman. Although I've been burned so often with people not liking ARRTI. I get this a lot--"Why did you make me read that fly-fishing book? It was so boring"--so I've backed off recommending it. Thank YOU for loving him too.

I'm guilty of re-reading, too! I've read "A River Runs Through It" twice. Now when I find myself reaching for a book I've already read, I look online for suggestions for similar books. I've read "Tuesdays With Morrie" at least three times, so I recently picked up "What Really Matters" by Karen Wyatt, MD (http://www.karenwyattmd.com/) and ended up loving it!

I think a lot of us do a lot of re-reading...and sometimes I reach for them precisely because I don't have to go searching them out online. (Sometimes I'm just done looking at stuff online.)

Thanks for the Karen Wyatt recommendation!

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