Beverly Long: Rereading Our Favorite Books

beverly_long.JPGIs it just me or does everybody spend valuable time rereading books that they’ve read once, twice, or many times before?

 

It’s not as if I don’t have anything new to read.  My stack of to-be-read books is no longer a stack, it’s more like a large pile that continues to grow at an alarming rate.  Something akin to dirty socks, only heavier.  If one corner of my bedroom begins to sag into my basement, I’ll have no one to blame but myself.

 

Yet, still, with limited time to read and many books to choose from, I find myself gravitating towards books that I’ve read before.  This past weekend was no exception.  I reread Janet Evanovich’s Lean Mean Thirteen and a couple of Suzanne Brockmann’s romantic suspense novels—written back when we were just learning about the world of Navy Seals. 

Why do we do this?  Is it laziness?  Is it an effort to experience the joy of reading without any of the responsibility of paying attention to the fine details of a complex plot?  I know that at the end of a long day when I’m reading a few chapters before bed, I find myself more inclined to pick up one of my “favorites”, rather than tackling something new.

 

stay_with_me_beverly_long.jpgIs it that we’re lonely?  Are we missing the friends we made or the world we encountered when we first stumbled upon a particular book?  As a teenager, I remember reading and rereading the entire series of Trixie Beldon mysteries.  Trixie and her best friend Honey and all the rest of the gang had become my friends and every once in a while, I simply needed to revisit all the experiences I’d had with them over the years.

 

Are we trying to relive the past?  Does a particular book remind us of a particular event?  Does rereading a book that we read twenty years earlier help us remember what our life was like twenty years ago?  Do we suddenly feel twenty years younger?   I’m not sure about that but I recently reread Little Women and I could remember very vividly being ten years old, curled up in the big chair in my parent’s living room, with that thick book in my lap.

 

Or is it as simple as we just fell in love with the writing?  My copy of Outlander by Diana Gabaldon is looking really worn from the number of times I’ve read it.

   

here-with-me.jpgAs a reader, rereading has given me great joy.  As a writer, hearing from readers who’ve read and reread my books is just about the nicest compliment that I’ve ever gotten.

 

What about you?  What books do you reread?  Why? 

I’d love to hear your stories. 

Anyone who comments will be entered into a contest to win signed copies of Stay with Me and the sequel, Here with Me.  These are time-travel romances, the first set in 1888 Wyoming Territory, the second in present-day Napa Valley.  For more information, visit www.beverlylong.com.

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48 thoughts on “Beverly Long: Rereading Our Favorite Books”

  1. Sometimes rereading a book is like revisiting an old friend,you know how it ends an it makes you feel safe an cozy,sounds corny,but in our busy lifes sometimes I myself like to just relax an let myself be taken away an feel comfortable knowing,hey guys,its gonna work out!lol,I KNOW!this sounds stupid now im writing it,but I love some books that ive read dozens of times,like a old worn out sweat or jammies you just cant throw away,they just make you feel good,for no reason at all,thanks an welcome here,Vickie

  2. Good Morning. First of all I absolutely loved your books. These are going on my reread shelf. I have quiet a reread shelf. I love books. No I mean I love them. I love to hold them, smell a new book and can barely great rid of any of them after reading it.

    I think some of the reasons we reread a book is as mentioned we get attached to the characters. That is the same reason that sequels do so good cause we hope to “see” these people again if only for a brief moment.

  3. Hi, Beverly. I’m a great re-reader, but I tend to go back to childhood favorites. Definitely comfort reads! I’ve re-read the Betsy-Tacy series many times. In the past couple of years, it was Katherine by Anya Seton, one of my all time favorites. And I’ve also read the Williamsburg novels by Elswyth Thane countless times. It does take less brainpower to revisit an old favorite. Like seeing a movie many times, if you miss a few minutes, it’s okay. And sometimes, we don’t have a lot of extra mental energy at the end of a busy day to follow new people and a new plot!

  4. Vickie:
    I agree that there is great comfort in going back to a book that you’ve read before–it’s the joy of knowing that “this one will make me laugh” or “this one will make me cry”. Our expectations are always met.

    Beverly

  5. Blythe:
    I’ve never read the Betsy-Tacy series but if it was good enough for you to take several passes at it, I’m going to check it out. Thanks

    Beverly

  6. Do I reread Oh yeah!!! I have a book called Rebel Temptress by Constance O’Banyon that I have reread so many time it is in really bad shape. It came out back in the early 80’s and it is out of print. I also reread a lot of others. I still get that heart warming feeling when I reread them.

  7. I forgot to mention that Rebel Temptress is like short GWTW so that is why I have reread it. I have also read Gone With the Wind several times.

  8. Hi Beverly – Nice to have you blogging with us at P and P! I relate rereading a good book to watching a movie over and over again. Something about it makes you smile. You remember how good the book/movie was and you want to feel that way again. I’ve read all of LaVryle Spencer’s books twice at least, but presently, maybe I have time for Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Oh, and I did reread many of Kathryn Woodwiss’s books too. They were my first introduction to romance really.
    Great blog today!!

  9. There are so many books I reread. Like books by J.D. Robb/Nora Roberts, David Eddings, Merline Lovelace etc. Reading a book you have already read is like visiting a familair place.

  10. Have you guys ever read the book then watched a movie made from it,disapointing,they leave out so much,id rather watch the movie then read the book,ill sit an say oh no,they left out such an such part of the book an whoever im watching the movie with will say oh really,an I know they are thinking just shut up already,lol.Ill go back an reread the book again just to see what they added or missed or I forgot,lol,bad habit,I guess,Beverly I forgot to say how much I enjoyed your books,thanks for being here today

  11. Hi Beverly, welcome to our little corner of the world! It’s great to have you. And you’ve come up with an intriguing topic. I love to reread favorite books, especially those by LaVeryl Spencer and Kathleen Woodiwiss. My copy of “The Flame and the Flower” is really ragged as is “The Gambler” and “Forgiven.” Some books really thrill my heart and take me to worlds I love to visit. The characters are like close family.

    Thanks for the reminder that I need to pull out a few and reread them. Hope you have a wonderful day here with us!

  12. Beverly I really enjoyed your blog as I am a big re-reader. Is that a word…LOL I have so many that I re-read, that to list them would just be silly, so I’m going to put up a few. Actually Diana Palmer wrote Trilby, Nora, Amelia, know them. I have re-read them until I’ve had to tape the pages. I’m not sure that I can even explain, but there are certain emotins that go along with certain books I think, and when I’ve had which ever day it is, sad, black, happy, I go to the book that I need to make that day end for me. Some people drink, I read. LOL Enjoy the rest of the week-end everyone!!!
    Amy

  13. Charlene:
    I was recently cleaning my basement and came across boxes and boxes of books that I’d read in my 20’s when I was just playing with the concept of writing my own book. Going through the boxes was a trip down memory lane and I remembered very vividly when and why I’d fallen in love with reading romance novels.

    Thanks for the opportunity to be part of the Petticoats and Pistols blog.

    Beverly

  14. Amy:
    What an interesting way to look at it–that given the type of day, you need a certain type of book to finish it out right. I too have books that I’ve read so many times that the pages fell out. I remember having to go buy another copy of Mackenzie’s Mountain by Linda Howard because I’d ruined my first copy.

    Beverly

  15. Oh goodness, re-reading books is like visiting an old friend. I loved Betsy-Tacy and still re-read the Trixie Belden one set at Thanksgiving. And I just bought Little Women at Lousia’s house in Concord and it’s my new favorite thing….I recently re-read “Katherine” and also “Green Darkness,” and Daphne du Maurier’s “House on the Strand.” Thanks for a great post!

  16. Hi Beverly! Welcome to P&P 🙂

    I agree with Tanya, re-reading my favorite books is like visiting old friends. I still have the first two romance novels I ever bought, FORGIVING and HUMMINGBIRD by LaVeryl Spencer–as well as a stack of other favorites. Some characters make such an imprint in my mind that they feel like family. I often pick them up when I’m feeling the need for some familiar faces and warm feelings 😉

    Thanks for hanging out with us today 😀

  17. Ah, I heard someone mention Elswyth Thane. I too love her her books, particularly “Yankee Stranger” and I reread them on a regular basis. I’ve also gone back to Celeste DeBlasis, who wrote my favorite book of all time, “The Proud Breed,” and also “The Tiger’s Woman.” I was researching something the other day and wandered on Anya Seton and remembered how much I loved her books. You got it. I went to Amazon and ordered them. They are now sitting on top of my TBR pile.

  18. I agree that rereading books is like visting old friends, going on vacation to a favorite spot to see them. I also reread series books before the next one comes out. Trixie Belden was a favorite of mine too, I used to hide Trixie books inside my textbooks and read in class. I still have my set, I may have to re read a few.

  19. Besides a couple of gothics and Catherine Cookson, the first two “real” romances I ever bought were HUMMINGBIRD LaVyrle Spencer and THE RAINBOW SEASON Candace Camp. I’ve read them a million times, along with many others. I read Anne of Green Gables every couple of years — and okay, I confess here: I was a horror reader before I ever picked up a romance. I have read THE STAND Stephen King at least twenty times.

  20. Hi, Beverly! I do enjoy rereading certain books–maybe for a little of all of those reasons you suggested. I like revisiting characters and even though I know how the story ends, I like the way the author’s written their journey so I like traveling that path again 🙂 And I’ve mainly reread romances, but some childhood favorites are a treat to reread, too, especially since I can read them to my children, and it’s the first time for them 🙂

  21. Hi Beverly,Thanks for stopping by today. Like everyone else, I just love to read and no matter how many times I have read the same story, I still enjoy it ,it never gets old and I can still get lost in the story ( I have reread books by Jodi Thomas and Georgina Gentry 10-20 times). When I was a kid and money was tight, my sister and I would check out as many Nancy Drew books that we could fit in our bicycle baskets and ride them home from the library. We pretty much checked out the same books over and over again and we were never bored. (Kids’ section in our public library was almost nonexistant). As previously mentioned, it’s a great escape from a long day’s work and being inside a ficitional ( especially a happily ever after) story is a great way to decompress. Thanks again for your post.

  22. Oh, Lord, YES! I am a re-reader 🙂

    Only a handful though…Redeeming Love & The Atonement Child by Francine Rivers, the Key & Born In triologies by Nora Roberts, With One Look by Jennifer Horsman.

    I’ve been known to re-read Judith McNaught books also but finally gave them away the last time I cleaned out my bookshelf (hubby cut me down from 6′ x 6′ to a 2′ x 3′ shelf so I have to weed out books more often) 🙁

    Great post.
    PamT
    “Inspirational with an Edge!”

  23. I reread most of the books on my shelves… I enjoy them, so why not step back into their world every now and then… You fall in love with some characters, so you want to visit again and again!!!

  24. I’m a chronic re-reader. I talked about this yesterday. I sometimes…mentally being strict with myself…with say, “Okay, I’m reading this again from cover to cover, every word.”

    That’s actually fun because I re-read scenes. I’ll skim through a book and stop to linger over a favorite scene, then start skimming again, or skim over whole subplots I don’t prefer to linger on the part I love.

    I’ve got the usual suspects on my shelf. I’m a big romantic suspense fan, in contemporary or historical and I LOVE it if there’s humor. Julie Garwood’s books, the scottish Laird/English Lass books. I just can NEVER get enough of those.

    And I’ve got a handful of authors that I own every book they’ve ever written, then others I like a particular series but not the rest.

    My favorite book ever…an odd choice…Jude Deveraux, the middle book in her anthology “The Invitation” a book called Matchmakers. Seriously the funniest thing I’ve ever read. it’s one that I don’t ever skip a word when I’m reading because every one’s a gem. It reads like Jude wrote it while she was mad at the whole world, way past deadline and on a 72-hour straight caffeine jag.

    I re-read Cheryl St.John’s The Doctor’s Wife every now and then, that hero…wow, the nicest, finest, most wonderful man. In fact I haven’t read it for a while. Maybe it’s next. 🙂 Land of Dreams, The Truth about Toby..

    I have several of the Petticoat Ladies’ work in my collection.

    I said yesterday, Chapter Seven of ‘Breathing Room’ by Susan Elizabeth Phillips…my favorite romantic comedy scene of all time.

    Francine River’s Mark of the Lion Trilogy, seriously, a book to read if you want to see true ‘world creating’ at it’s finest. You were just IN ancient Rome. And if ever there was an impossible love it’s in that book. A Roman nobleman and a Jewish slave girl who is secretly a Christian in a era when they enslaved Jews but fed Christians to the Lions. Talk about CONFLICT!

    I have a real insomnia problem and new books, which I read many of, keep me awake. But rereading…I can read awhile, then set them aside, sleep, not get tied up with what happens next. So I reread books I love every night to get to sleep. And I still stay up too late.

  25. Oh, YES, Pam, Redeeming Love is a definite reread. I read the original (before revision for the new pub) and I adore, I mean LUV LUV LUV that story. Anyone remember Jill Marie Landis’s Sunflower?

    Mary, I am blessed by having a book (or 2) on your favorites list. Yes, Caleb was one of those heros I couldn’t bear to leave behind. That’s probably why I have him show up in two more books. LOL

  26. I don’t reread books. I cannot get interested in a book where I know what is going to happen.

  27. I’ve had such a good time reading your posts. As you have all named off your favorite books, I’ve been adding a few titles to my “must go buy” list. Several of you said that you’d read and then reread books up to twenty times. I think I’m close on a few of my favorites. If only I’d spent that time doing something productive. But wait, reading is productive. It brings me joy and peace and new friends–what could be more productive and satisfying than that?

  28. Linda:
    I’ve been thinking about your post from earlier this week when you wrote about the different types of heros. I think that’s perhaps what draws me back to a book–if the hero is fabulous and I can’t get him out of my head, then I’m more likely to want to read that book again.

  29. Hi, Beverly! I do reread books. The one I’ve reread the most is THE VISCOUNT WHO LOVED ME by Julia Quinn. It has one of the funniest scenes I’ve ever read. And I just love that Anthony and Kate.

  30. For me picking up something I have read before is like comfort food. You want something familiar and beloved to bring you comfort. Julie Garwood’s historicals are like that for me, old and familiar friends.

  31. I used to reread more books before but recently don’t have time to read new ones that sound interesting. I do like to read books in series which have the same characters, since they seem familiar and are like old friends.

  32. Hi Beverly, Love time travel romances! I now have 3 large book shelves and 1 of them is dedicated to books I tend to re-read again and of course I keep them in Author order then in series order I never break up my series books. I have gone back and re-read a book even though I had many others to choose from simply because I loved the char. and especially if a follow up book has come out i’ll go back and read the first one to refresh myself for the follow up. I’ve re-read a book before and saw the story differently and picked up things i didn’t remember from before so that was interesting it could’ve been the mood i was in when i read it the first time. wonderful post!

  33. Beverly I was reading what you wrote to Linda just now about the heroes, on her post earlier this week That usually determines how much I enjoyed a book also and whether i re-read one or not. Those heroes sure do play a big role don’t they?

  34. Hi Beverly! What a great blog! I have so many books I’ve reread and saved over the years. LaVerle Spencer and the earlier Kathleen Woodiwus top my list. Plus the favorites from my childhood — Little Women for sure! Ann of Green Gables, and my alter ego –Tolkien’s LOTR and The Hobbit. As a matter of fact I am in the market for more bookshelves .
    The writing never grows stale to me–I am always amazed how wonderful it feels to settle in, hot chocolate nearby, and immerse myself in another world. It does have a lot to do with the heroes, as you mentioned. Ruark in Shanna tops my list as my favorite hero of all times. (And he doesn’t even wear a Stetson–oh my!)

  35. Hi, I sometimes reread books, but I do not do as often as I like to. I usually read it when I need a refresher or to bring by the memories. One book I remember rereading was Secret by Robin Gunn Jones. I haven’t read your books yet, so I think this is a great opportunity to win them to try them out.

  36. Hi Beverly! What a great topic for a blog. It definitely had me thinking about why I do reread books! I like to re-visit characters because I have enjoyed reading about them so much. And/or maybe there is a certain scene or part of the book that held my attention and was so “moving” that I wanted to re-experience it.

  37. I do re-read my favorite and much beloved books. They are so many and varied. Classics, Westerns, and Historicals always hold my interest and provide me with much comfort and contentment.

  38. I haven’t reread any books lately, I’ve been too
    busy trying to keep up with my tbr stack which seems
    seems to be developing a life of it’s own! I have
    reread some of my early Harlequin novels which are
    too numerous to list. I keep watching both stacks
    which, strangely, seem to be growing taller!!

    Pat Cochran

  39. I’ve only read one time travel but really enjoyed it and at the moment I have the entire Outlander series in my tbr pile. I think I need to read more 🙂

  40. Jeanne, Have you ever read Son of the Morning by Linda Howard. Time travel, but it’s this huge sprawling novel about the depths of evil and the heights of goodness and the battle between them.
    extraordinary work…and of course, true love.

  41. I reread books that give me that “sigh” moment when I finish them. I want to experience that feeling over and over.

  42. I’m not big on rereading but that’s only because I too have a huge tbr pile. Usually it’s series that I reread and a lot of times it’s because a new one has been added so I like to go back and have them all fresh in my mind again. And Trixie Beldon books were the first books I had that were my own. I did reread those lots of times. I didn’t have too many of my own books and took lots of trips to the library instead.

  43. I enjoyed reading your blog, Beverly, and have gotten several ideas for great books to read, including yours! Someone already mentioned Elswyth Thane; “Dawn’s Early Light” and “Yankee Stranger” are two that I’ve reread. “To Kill a Mockingbird” is also a classic that I can read over and over, as well as “Tender Victory” by Taylor Caldwell.

  44. I reread alot of books. But only when I’m out of new ones. I usually try to read the ones I don’t remember very well. But I go back to my favorites too. I enjoy reading them again because I sometimes miss something the first time around. 🙂

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