I have been rereading Genevieve Cogman’s The Masked City, in anticipation of The Burning Page being released next week. I love the series, which began with ‘The Invisible Library’: think alternate worlds and books of power and sassy librarian spies.
The funny thing is, when I first read ‘The Masked City’, I remember being disappointed. Revisiting the book almost year later, I’m struggling to see what my problem was.
This got me thinking about rereading generally. Some of my customers don’t: they give their books away, even if they enjoyed them, which doesn’t make sense to me. Part of the joy of owning a book is the ability to reread – even though this seems like an indulgence sometimes.
I have a couple of favourite books that I try to reread every year: Sabriel by Garth Nix is one (this reading often extends to the entire series). The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is another; I STILL cry over that one, and I’ve been reading it for ten years (yikes). I dip in and out of the Harry Potter books, and ‘Peter Pan’, as the mood takes me. These are the books I consider to be part of my reading identity. It is important to me that I revisit them, often, whatever the length of my TBR pile.
I also reread for the practical reason of keeping up with series. I wish I’d reread Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s Illuminae before starting Gemina, if only so I didn’t spend two thirds of the book trying to remember whether a major character had died or not. But I learned from my mistake! I’m going to restart The Tearling Trilogy by Erika Johansen, now that the series has wrapped up. I’m hoping the second book improves.
Because some books do get better. I read ‘Wuthering Heights’ for the first time at university, as one of my set texts. I PROPERLY disliked it on my first reading (I thought all the characters unsympathetic, and they were so awful to one another). I then ended up having to read it a couple of times over the course of the semester. ‘Wuthering Heights’ is now one of my favourite classics. I don’t think rereading necessarily makes me kinder; perhaps it’s that I’m more familiar with the story, so can let go of my expectations.
Obviously if you despise a book I wouldn’t recommend you double the pain, but if your initial response to a book is ‘well, that was… disappointing’ maybe set it aside and come back later.
What about you? Any keen rereaders out there?