Musing Mondays – On Re-reading

10May09


Have you ever finished a book, then turned around and immediately re-read it? Why? What book(s)? 
(question courtesy of MizB)

Yes, yes I have, and both books are two of my favorite books of all times. I have also almost done it with another two books (both of which I read this year), but, I just put them back on my TBR shelf :)

So, the two ‘almost re-read’ books are : The Great Gatsby and A Clockwork Orange. I don’t think you need any prizes to guess why! Gatsby is the work of a genius, and it’s just so beautifully written, with a captivating story line, that you can read and re-read it endlessly. On the other hand, A Clockwork Orange is mind-blowingly fantastic, with Alex being one of the most intriguing characters in literature (in my opinion anyway!). Like I’ve said somewhere before, I envy people who haven’t read these books, for, if and when they do, they’re about to have one of the best reading experiences of their life. 

Now, which books did I actually re-read? Okay, wait for this… and nope, please don’t call me a freak!

One of them was a proper chunkster: Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead. I read the book, for the first time, when I was fourteen, and far more of an idealist than I am now. And that book introduced me to the enigmatic almost-perfect Howard Roark – a man who stuck to his ideals, and did not cave into the demands of society like Peter Keating. I think it was the first time I’ve fallen in love with a fictional character, and now, some ten years later, I still love him. I want to be like him, in many ways, and if and when I fall in love with a real (non-fictional) person, Roark will be the benchmark. I feel sorry for the poor guy already. The thing that made The Fountainhead brilliant, wasn’t only Roark, but the way Rand handled the whole ‘virtue of selfishness’ philosophy, and made me a true believer. I honestly think that’s the one book that changed my life, and helped me become a better person.

And then there was JD Salinger’s Catcher In The Rye. I concur if you say that Holden Caulfield is one of the most hypocritical narcissistic characters in the history of literature, and that his holier-than-thou attitude can drive you up the wall! But, you can’t help but love him! Well, I couldn’t anyway. Specially towards the end of the book, when we see him interacting with Phoebe, his sister. And when we finally realize why the book is called Catcher In The Rye. During that part of the book, I could relate to Caulfield as he lamented the loss of innocence in children, and was quite agitated about the expletives scribbled on the bathroom walls at the school. I know many people say Caulfield’s despicable, but… there’s just something about him that makes you really like him (well, makes me really like him). And yeah – I actually agree with him as well, when he says digressions make life more fun! 

I don’t quite know why I re-read this book – I think it might have had something to do with a very anti-climatic ending, along with Caulfield’s personality. I really wanted to understand him, and get to know him better… and the only way to do that was to re-read the book. Yes, I know he’s a fictional character, but the just don’t make people like him! I half-wish they did. 

So, how about you? Which books have you re-read/been tempted to re-read? And, has there ever been a character you’ve come across that has just completely blown you away?

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6 Responses to “Musing Mondays – On Re-reading”

  1. 1 thebluestockingguide

    I don’t think you’re a freak. Different strokes for different folks. Here is mine

  2. 2 jo

    Oh, I should have put Clockwork Orange and Catcher in the Rye on my list too! I read Catcher in the Rye as a teenager and would like to read it as an adult to see if my reaction is different!

  3. 3 Yvonne

    I rarely re-read, but that’s because my TBR is so big. I know I won’t read everything in it in this lifetime, but I’m going to try. LOL

  4. 4 Nise'

    There are a few books that I re-read, but only two that I remember immediately re-reading.

  5. 5 uncertainprinciples

    I tend to read Catcher In The Rye 3-4 times a year! In fact, it’s the only book I always have at hand, as just skimming through it makes me feel more cheerful. Good ol’ Holden Caulfield!

    @Yvonne – I feel your pain! But some books are worth it. I think so anyway!

  6. 6 uncertainprinciples

    By the way, been thinking about it and realized that Cormac McCarthy’s The Road should feature in the above list as well. One of the best books I read last year.


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