In Praise of Rereading

praise rereading dorothy sayers
For decades my escapist reading—with few exceptions—was mysteries. Once you know who did it, what would be the point? The one exception for me was Dorothy L. Sayers.  My motivation for rereading the Lord Peter Wimsey/Harriet Vane mysteries was to discover the early clues and figure out how she built to the big reveal. But I also discovered that Sayers’ characters—clear, distinct, and appealing—grew and developed.


I seldom read non-mysteries then, and rereads were even rarer. Two of those exceptions were Austen and Mitchell. They both were mirrors reflecting a period in history and characters that reside in real people, regardless of historical period.


praise rereading diana gabaldon books
Not too long ago I read and then reread Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. I reread because this is a far ranging saga. By the time certain characters play a major role I’d lost track of earlier cameo appearances. On rereading, I could appreciate how intricately interwoven the people, places and events were. Having written only two books with repeating characters (Dark Harbor and Tiger Heart) I marvel that the details didn’t trip over each other, that they didn’t contradict themselves, and that the characters matured (as opposed to changed).
new genre new year maas
More recently I read Sarah J. Maas’ series Throne of Glass. And now I am rereading it. Partly that’s because of the great experience rereading Gabaldon. But in addition, Maas has created a whole new world. As fantasy fiction, she’s created a new physical world, but also new history, new creatures, and new personal powers. The first read familiarized me with these aspects of the series. Like Gabaldon, Maas has characters who grow and change over time—but her timeframe is much more compacted. And as a series targeting young adults, I became very aware of the meta-messages inherent in the plot and characters.


winston graham books
My experience is that rereading a series is especially gratifying. Perhaps it should be required—in the interest of fully appreciating the author’s creativity and craft.


I’ve now committed to reading A Wrinkle in Time between now and March 9, prior to the movie premiere. It was touted as a reread. For me, it will be a read. My youngest daughter has read it many times. Her older daughter has read it. Her younger daughter received it for Christmas but hasn’t read it yet. Could I resist such a recommendation?


And the best part is, this is the first book in a series. There may be more rereads in my future!


Bottom line: Reread a favorite you haven’t read for several years. Is it as good as you remembered? Better? Different? Let me know.


Wrinkle Re-Read

The Best Soap Opera Ever!

winston graham book series
And you don’t have to take my word for it. Winston Graham’s first four books in the Poldark series were the basis of the BBC series broadcast during 1975 and 1976. The next three books were the basis of a 1977 series. These seven books became a 29-episode drama that was all the rage in Britain and the U.S.


I read the books and followed the series with rapt attention, and for a time took to drinking port on Sunday evenings while watching each episode.


In 2015, I watched the original series again, wiling away the morning hours while encased in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber five days per week, for six weeks. This series was (and no doubt still is) available from the library. (I also watched two versions of Pride and Prejudice during those treatments, but that’s neither here nor there.) Somehow I remained oblivious to the fact that the BBC launched a remake in March of that year.


So, when PBS started airing the new series, I didn’t realize it was new. Having just watched all 29 episodes, I ignored these broadcasts until last Sunday. I immediately realized that the cast, while true to the original characters, was different. Fortunately, I was able to pick up the story line with ease and now I am hooked again.


I decided to reread the books, only to discover that they were jettisoned during our 2013 move, so I went to Amazon and discovered not seven but twelve books! I had been oblivious to the publication of five more books in the series! So now I have a treat in store.


best soap opera ever winston graham book series

What makes the Poldark saga so great? 

First of all, the excellent writing. Winston Graham takes the reader to Cornwall to see and hear the pounding surf. He lets the reader into the minds and hearts of the characters. And his characters are humanly complex—flawed but lovable, even the  villains are understandable. Then there is the action. For me, he has defined page-turner. Graham also taps all the drama available in love, lust, and sex; struggle for survival; competition and grudges; deceit and deception; lies and murder; birth and death.


winston graham book dates
By all means, watch the TV series. But also read the books!