The Book Challenge is something I made up myself. There is no prize if I complete it. There is no governing body watching to see how I perform. There would be no one but myself to point fingers should I cheat. However, I do worry about cheating, as it isn’t something that I inadvertantly want to do, and herein lies the problem – I don’t have any hard and fast rules that have to be followed, and deciding whether something is cheating or not comes down to whether I feel it is acceptable or not.
There is a whole wealth of discussion to go into regarding the length and format of books – and one that I have been meaning to write a blog on for a couple of months, but the thing that got me thinking today is re-reads.
There are some staples which I can read over and over without getting bored. The Adrien Mole books were favorites of mine as a kid, and for the past few years I have read the first two in the month before Christmas each year. As a child I must have read The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe every summer. As anyone who has had the misfortune to get me onto the topic will know, I have reread the Song of Ice and Fire series – my favourite ever books, and ones that make War and Peace look like a Spot the Dog book in comparrison – about five times in the past eight years. There is something wonderfully comforting about getting back into a book that you are already familiar with. Meeting old characters again, and getting excited or nervous for them as they come up against obstacles that you now know are going to appear. And you can pick up much more on rereads – especially if it is particularly complex or involved story. All in all, I am a big fan of going back to old favourites, but I am not one hundred percent positive on their place in my challenge.
During The Book Challenge last year I had a fair few rereads. Sometimes a book comes up that you just want to read again, and it had to happen. The overarching feeling is that a book is a book, and as such it goes on the list, but I always feel a bit cheeky. Rereading a book is far quicker and easier than reading it for the first time. And as – to an extent – the challenge should be helping me expand my tastes in books, is there a place for reading the same things that I have already read several times over?
I have decided that the answer is yes, there is a place for rereads! I want to be able to go back to the books that I have already read and re-enter their worlds. I want to be able to pick up whatever book I find and be able to read it without thinking that it won’t count towards my 100 target. I intend to keep the challenge going, even if I complete it this year, so would I be stopping myself from ever rereading books? At the end of the day, if George RR Martin ever gets a move on and finishes the next Song of Ice and Fire book this year, then I will need a reread to catch up, and as the first four books have a total of around four thousand pages, without including rereads I would have to kiss the challenge goodbye.
So to that end, and following two different conversations with Amy C and one of the year sixes at school, I am just starting Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone again. I have reread this a couple of times, but not since I was waiting for the seventh book came out. To that end, I have only read the last book once, and as Amy keeps beating me at Harry Potter Sporcle quizzes, this will not do! So bring on the rereads, and let’s keep this challenge rolling on!