Unintended rereading

As a general rule, I don’t reread books. Especially with books I really liked, I’m afraid reading them again might detract from my initial enjoyment. I also figure rereading is a missed opportunity to read something “new.” In 2019, though, I reread six books, more than half of all the books I reread in the prior decade. This was because they were used in foreign lit book studies I led that year. I was happy to see my views of them weren’t affected.

The rereading I hate occurred last week, one that’s totally inadvertent. Perhaps because of my PTSD, I’ve had more books laying around the house and partially read ebooks than ever before. One morning I once again saw I was more than halfway through an ebook called The Pope Who Quit.  For whatever reason, I decided that, come hell or highwater, it was the day to finish the book.  After accomplishing my mission, I went to add the book to Goodreads and I discovered I’d read it in 2013 within eight weeks of Pope Benedict XVI announcing his resignation.

While the book never seemed familiar, I remember thinking (once again) that Goodreads ratings should have half star increments. Turns out, I gave the book 2 stars in 2013 and decided that was still fair.  Similarly, I listed to an audiobook last year that at times inadequately derivative of other books I’d read. When finished, I discovered I’d read the book some 3 years before — and gave it two stars.

I don’t plan to change my rereading policy. It’s akin to when I decided to try to avoid large books (500+ pages) because I’m old and there’s only so much time left. I will mention, though, the two books I’ve read the most. One four times and the other three times, both over the course of three decades. In fact, it may be time to reread the first one.

But how can you read a book you’ve already read when you know there are all those other ones out there?

Emma Bull, Territory

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