Re-reading Comprehension


I *am* much further along now!


Since I’m knitting one repeat a night on what should have been a quick little project I started in April, and then investing any remaining knitting time on my October (hem) cardigan, I don’t have much to show. 

Might I distract you with a book discussion?  More specifically, a re-reading discusion?

Let’s start with the basics.  Do you re-read books, ever?

If so, what makes you reach for the book again? 

For me, I generally re-read my favorites, just because like an old friend, sometimes life compells you to reach out for something familiar and comfortable.  However, there are noteworthy exceptions. 

  1. The Bible.  I don’t wear my faith on my sleeve or my blog, but there you have it.  Right now, my favorite part is Ecclesiastes.  I read what I feel drawn to, pure and simple.
  2. Cookbooks.  Yeah, I READ cookbooks.  I won’t explain or defend too much here, because I know I’m in good company.  But when I re-read, I’m generally searching for a hint or tip that I KNOW I saw somewhere…
  3. Harry Potter.  If you’re not a fan at all, I hope you’ll stick with this post anyway.  You see, I’ve re-read most of the series more than 3 times, because JKR did a wonderful job of hiding hints, using colors as symbols, and most especially, there are obscure references to mythology and folk lore on nearly every page of some books.

So, now you know where we’re headed, but let’s back up a bit first.  I was introduced to Harry Potter by the preacher’s daughter, when I was teaching her 6th grade Sunday School class.  (No pressure there, none at all!)  Fast-forward several weeks, and my stepmom sent the first three books to my stepson for Christmas.  I wasn’t sure they were on his reading level, so I did the responsible thing and picked up HP & The Philosopher’s Stone, better known as … & The Sorcerer’s Stone here in the States, but humor the old Philosophy major, will you?

As I recall, within two days, I’d read the first three books and joined the rest of JKR’s fans, tapping my fingers and toes, waiting on the July release of the next book in the series.  While Goblet of Fire is far darker than the first three and has turned off a reader or two, I believe it is also the best book of the series, but I might be biased; I’ve read it at least four times.

Why?  Well, because the first time I read her books, I’m all about plot.  I just want to know who dies, who lives, and what that snake Snape does to poor Harry and his friends.  (No spoilers here, and I don’t hate Snape, for the record.) 

Then, I give myself time to remove my emotional reactions, and I re-read for details.   After that, I took a notion at some point in the series and re-read, noting when, where, whom the color green was mentioned and other such trivial things that I thought mattered at that moment.

Courtesy of Amazon

I’m on that second re-read of the last book, Deathly Hallows now.  (Do visit Wiki and check out the different cover art for the different countries.  I love it!)

Why yes, it’s taken more than three years for me to diffuse enough to re-read, but between time and the very angry, rapid first reading I did in July, 2007, I’m finding that I barely retained the basic plot elements.   And you know what?  So far, I’m not hating the book at all.   Seems it’s much more productive to read with a nearly open mind…  I’m even finding some great symbols and myth references, which I claimed were grossly absent from the book.  Hem.

…and if you made it through this whole post, you get an A for today.   I’d love to know more about your re-reading habits.


14 comments on “Re-reading Comprehension

  1. Sue says:

    Yes, I reread. Some characters have grown or should I say matured with me. I felt one way about them when I first met them, but after a few years as I’ve changed I see them thru new eyes.

  2. gMarie says:

    I do reread and I find I pick up different bits that I missed the first time in my rush to absorb the story. We have all 7 volumes of HP at home – might be time to start them again? g

  3. Nichole says:

    I’ve re-read a few here and there, but not often…….

  4. AlisonH says:


    And I have a signed bookplate from Rowling for finding a plot goof. One single letter… Mr. Weasley’s warning about not trusting something where you couldn’t see where it kept its brain became Mrs. Weasley’s in a later book. (Or was it the other way around.) I imagine that got corrected in later editions.

  5. Of course I re-read! Heh, makes the whole “Re-Read Challenge” I’m doing this year make sense, eh? Why? Like you, I like to visit old favorites every so often. I also “get more out of it” if I read a book more than once. The best stories have many “layers” to them, which are hard to discern in only one reading. Love your “one repeat” solution for knitting….I use it too. 🙂

  6. Anniebananie says:

    I am constantly re-reading books – Jane Austen (both her works and biographies of her); Julia Child biographies, anything by Anthony Bourdain, and a few others. I read them until the bindings fall apart.

  7. Blond Duck says:

    Random Question: Do you think level of education effects writing?

  8. Amy says:

    I’m trying to re-read ‘Deathly Hallows’ right now as well. But with having picked up a new book, ‘The Lost Symbol’ (very addictive reading!), trying to finish a small shawl by the 23rd (I am making a new one for my MIL – I’m not all that happy with the one I made for her months ago,) and trying to sail through NaNoWriMo, I don’t know if I’ll get half way through the last Harry Potter by the 19th.

    I love to re-read really good books. I am so picky about new ones, and I just love the ones I’ve already read.

  9. Marjie says:

    You know I read cookbooks, too. I reread a book if I think I missed something, or if it’s complex. Otherwise, I wait several years to reread because while I know overall what happens, I find I can enjoy the book all over again, without the pressure of finding out what happened to one character or another!

  10. Walden says:

    Before crafting, I read much more. I use to re-read books often. There are often things you forget or things you find because you didn’t know their importance before. Now, I read little, which means I re-read pretty much never. I miss it.

  11. In the past I have re read books now I am lucky if I read because i would rather knit!

  12. Anita says:

    I do re-read certain books. Depends on the story. 🙂

  13. Bubblesknits says:

    I definitely re-read. Mostly my favorites. There are a few Nora Roberts books that I go back to over and over again, like visiting with an old friend. Then there’s the Wheel of Time series, that I really do need to re-read (for the 3rd time), but I’m still miffed with Robert Jordan for up and dying on me before he’d finished the series himself. Rather selfish of me, I know. There *is* another author finishing it up, but I’m determined to wait until I have the entire finished series in my hands before I invest any more time in it. The next to latest book is still sitting downstairs (not even upstairs on the bookshelf), unread, from LAST Christmas. (Not taking any more chances with the author’s mortality, ya know?)

    Sorry…didn’t mean to rant. I get a little worked up about all that. LOL

  14. Knittysue says:

    Oh yea…big re-reader here. My last read over was Diana Giabaldon’s Outlander series. One day I’ll tackle re reading HP.

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