The Re-Reading Project

As I hinted at in my 4th Quarter Reading Report, I’ll be working on a reading project this year, which I’m calling The Re-Reading Project.

For a long time, I’ve been debating with friends (and strangers on the bus) whether or not we’re as literate a society as we used to be. Whether we read as much as we used to or not, I’ve come to realize that we’ve definitely become a culture that doesn’t really re-read books anymore. I’m definitely guilty of that, especially as a book reviewer. There’s so many new books to read – and new movies, new t.v. shows, new articles and new experiences. We’re a culture of content providers and content consumers. But I’m starting to think that part of true literacy (the comprehension part, the part where you engage with ideas and stories over the span of your entire life), is re-reading. We’re lucky if we have one favorite book that we read several times in our lives. It’s hard to do, unless you set aside time and do it consciously.

So, I’m setting aside time and doing it consciously this year. And maybe I’ll start a new practice for myself. In planning the titles I’m re-reading this year, I realized that there are tons of books I’d love to engage with again.

For the Re-Reading Project of 2014, I decided to re-read books that I read before I was 16, each of which I remember impacting me greatly. There were a few years that yielded a high number of these titles (1995-1997 in particular, when I was 13-15).

Generally speaking, I’ll re-read one title a month and write a post about the book and my newest experience with it. During January, however, I’m going to re-read several titles that are all very short, each of which I read very young. I’ve been faithfully documenting what I read for almost twenty years, so I have a record to turn to, but all of January’s titles were originally read in my childhood and pre-teens, before I recorded my reading.

I hope y’all will join me: tell me your own experiences with these books, or with other titles you’ve loved or reacted strongly to in the past. I hope it inspires you to re-read the books you remember impacting you. Let’s start a re-reading conversation, a re-reading revolution.

First up: The Boxcar Children.

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3 Comments

Filed under books, literature, pop culture, review, The Re-Reading Project, what I'm reading

3 responses to “The Re-Reading Project

  1. Great minds: I started re-reading my favorite book, Lolita, yesterday. Only then did I see your post.

    I’m not sure if I’m going back to my pre-Sweet 16 books yet, but there’s certainly value in reexperiencing a work that you read long ago.

    I initially read Nabokov’s masterpiece in 2004. I had the annotated addition, which is a geek’s delight. The first 70 or so pages are simply essays about the book, some of which Nabokov himself wrote! What I’m noticing is that even with the footnotes (they explain allusions, foreign language words, and ontological debates), I missed a lot of the meaning. Now, with nine and a half years of life experience behind me the experience is clearer and richer.

    Of course, I have no idea how I’ll feel when I finish the book.

    • emofalltrades

      That doesn’t surprise me that we’re doing something similar. Please let us know what you think of Lolita once you finish re-reading it. My next reading project may be “12 Books I Should’ve Read,” and Lolita will probably be on it. 🙂

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