Read It Twice!

I read Gone with the Wind for the first time in the seventh grade. Then I reread it in the eighth grade. Daddy fussed at me for this. “Why are you reading the same book again? You should read something else.”

I know he had a point, but I consumed it a second time, all the way to the ambiguous, 1,200-page end.

Because. I. Wanted. To.

By the way, the unsettling ending is probably one reason why I love the certainty of romance novels so much today! But Gone with the Wind is so all-absorbing and Scarlett so well drawn that I felt I knew her better than I knew myself. The second reading assured me that I hadn’t missed anything the first time. As you might imagine, because they had to leave out so much of the story, I found the movie to be a bitter disappointment.

I recommend revisiting books because in doing so, you learn much about yourself. A book that seemed incredible at one point in your life might sound silly, dated, and trite today. Or you might find that the book’s wisdom and/or story holds true.

You may have trudged through assigned reading for school with little care except to write the report or to pass the quiz. How about today? Would the same book bring you joy, or at least appreciation gained through maturity?

A man in my hometown, now deceased, read the Bible every year, well over 35 times. He said he never felt he read the same Bible twice. Why? I suspect that he was a different person each time he approached it. I notice when I read the Bible, verses that didn’t necessarily pop before jump out at me, begging for contemplation. The Bible has not changed, but I change over time. I hope for the better!

Your turn:

Other than the Bible, what book have you read more than once? Why? Were you glad you did?

What book would you like to revisit?


42 Responses to Read It Twice!

  1. Avatar
    Brennan S. McPherson November 30, 2017 at 4:09 am #

    One book I’ve re-read chunks of multiple times is the Lord of the Rings trilogy (though technically it’s actually 1 book split up into 6 parts). I didn’t enjoy it very much when I first consumed it as a young boy, but it’s gotten loads better for me on each re-read.

    For non-fiction, I’ve reread “Whatever Happened to Worship?” by A. W. Tozer multiple times. It’s had a profound affect on my life every time.

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    jill November 30, 2017 at 5:25 am #

    We are kindred spirits, Tamela. I’ve read Gone with the Wind so many times, I’ve lost count. Believe it or not, my first reading was when I was in the seventh grade, too. Shortly after, our local theater had a special showing of the movie and I was left disappointed. Gosh, now I want to read it again!

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    Crystal L Caudill November 30, 2017 at 5:42 am #

    Books are my comfort food. I have about a dozen or so books I will reread countless times, especially during times of stress. I have already read Lady Jayne Disappears twice. My other go to books are Brentwood’s Ward, the When Calls the Heart series by Janette Oke, several of Lori Wicks books, and several Karen Whitemeyer books. The choice depends on my mood or need.

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    Loretta Eidson November 30, 2017 at 6:00 am #

    I’ve read The Shack twice and I watched the movie three times. Despite controversial issues, I didn’t look at the movie as literal, but as a lesson to be learned.

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    Diane November 30, 2017 at 6:01 am #

    Heaven, by Randy Alcorn. That book woke me up to Biblical truths about the rest of our lives. I’ve read it several times and hope at some time to introduce other Christians to its message. One of the highlights of this year’s conference was getting the chance to tell Mr. Alcorn about the difference his book has made in my life.

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    Deb November 30, 2017 at 6:28 am #

    I’ve read Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged at least six times–I feel her commentary on our “me, me” society is as relevant today as when written.

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    Damon J. Gray November 30, 2017 at 6:38 am #

    Earlier in life, The Chronicles of Narnia. Read them multiple times myself, then later to my children, and coming soon, my grandchildren. And, like Gone With the Wind, I have been disappointed in the Narnia movies.

    Most recently, my “re-read” was TrueFaced. I read it, and was so blown away that I started again, but the second time I studied it rather than just read it. The I bought several copies and gave them away.

    Wild at Heart was similar to that. I must have given away ten copies of that one.

    • Avatar
      Andrew Budek-Schmeisser November 30, 2017 at 7:34 am #

      Damon, it took me many, many years until I was young enough to read the Narnia stories.

      And as I get younger, I take more away from each re-reading.

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    Karen Saari November 30, 2017 at 6:41 am #

    I don’t think I can pick just one book. I’ve read and re-read the Mitford books, I don’t know how many times. Safely Home by Randy Alcorn. Almost any Grace Livingston Hill book is a comfort to my soul. There are many others, I like to re-read my books every few years.

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    Brenda Jackson November 30, 2017 at 6:45 am #

    Zane Grey’s “Forlorn RIver”–I’ve read it at least half a dozen times. It was my favorite novel as a kid and it still is.

    I’ve read Nancy Turner’s “These is My Words” twice as well.

    As to non-fic, I’m currently re-reading Adam Grant’s “Originals”.

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    Sarah Hamaker November 30, 2017 at 6:49 am #

    Gone With the Wind always a treat to revisit, as is Jane Eyre, any Jane Austen work, The Christian’s Daily Walk by Henry Scudder, and anything by Agatha Christie. Rereading books is like inviting an old friend to sit with you for a few hours–you know what to expect but you enjoy the company afresh each time.

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    Jennifer Deibel November 30, 2017 at 6:56 am #

    Oh, Liz Curtis Higgs’s Scottish trilogy, Thorn in My Heart, Fair is the Rose, & Whence Came a Prince. I’ve honestly lost track of how many times I’ve read it. I always get sucked back into the world of Leah, Rose, Jamie and Lachlan. I still cry and laugh and grow livid. So much truth of life tucked into those pages.

    Some books I’ve read recently that will definitely be re-readers are Like a River From It’s Course by Kelli Stuart, Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green, and The House on Foster Hill be Jaime Jo Wright.

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    Rebekah Love Dorris November 30, 2017 at 7:02 am #

    I read Gone with the Wind so many times, starting around age 11, it warped me! Truly. As an adult studying Margaret Mitchell’s life and philosophies I pray my daughters never get hooked on it like I was. I remember my mom worrying as she watched me morph into a Scarlett-like brat! Praise God for the cleansing power of His book!

    Other books I’ve repeatedly devoured include stacks of Brock and Bodie Thoene fiction, For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn (incredible book), and Created to Be His Help Meet by Debi Pearl.

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    sherri stewart November 30, 2017 at 7:13 am #

    Gone with the Wind. And its sequel.
    To kill a Mockingbird.
    Alex Cross books (the early ones)

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    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser November 30, 2017 at 7:18 am #

    I’ve always re-read books that I have enjoyed, notably Richard Bach’s early works and P. Gordon Taylor’s flying memoirs.

    As I am now stumbling toward Big Muddy (to paraphrase John Fogarty’s song “Deja Vu All Over Again”), I find that while I’ll still read new books, I’m a lot quicker to drop them and pick up a old familiar if the new one isn’t up to my expectations. There’s just not the energy, and I think, the time to spend on an experiment.

    Best to hang out with an old friend, and hear a familiar and comforting voice one more time.

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    Maggie McKenzie November 30, 2017 at 7:22 am #

    I’ve reread Gene Stratton-Porter’s books many times. Freckles, Girl of the Limberlost, Keeper of the Bees and the rest. Recently I got ahold of Little Women on tape. That was a treat to hear again.

    I’ve been longing to reread Exodus and Oh Kentucky and haven’t found the time. But you’ve inspired me. Surely the library has a copy on tape?

    Thanks for the trek into the past- those books shaped me.

  16. Avatar
    Louise M. Gouge November 30, 2017 at 7:34 am #

    I’ve read Jane Eyre many times and Moby Dick several times. In fact, my master’s thesis was a sequel to Moby Dick.

    Tamela, you pointed out that Scarlett is very well drawn, and I agree. But that’s also the reason I do not find her compelling in the least. She is selfish and self-centered to the very end. Still, I’ve read the book twice in my life. I’ve also read Donald McCaig’s Rhett Butler’s People, which claims to be an authorized sequel to GWTW. Very interesting take on Rhett’s side of things.

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    Lisa Evola November 30, 2017 at 7:50 am #

    I love to reread books that speak to me. There have been many along my journey that transported me. The first 3 books of the outlander series were a particular favorite once upon a time. I write young adult fiction, so rereading many of those such as the fault in our stars helps me to understand more of how they think and the things that motivate them. Lately I’ve restarted all the light you cannot see. Wonderful tale. I particularly like how it is set up and hope to gain some perspective there.
    I’ve found that the biggest reason I reread books is because the second time around I won’t spend every waking moment reading it. I can put it down in order to do life. New compelling books suck me in. Just saying 😉

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    Deborah Humphreys November 30, 2017 at 7:54 am #

    This post set me on a memory course through the library. I realize I love authors and follow them through their writing journeys. When I was in the eighth grade my mother discovered me reading a Harold Robbins book . She said that would not do at all and placed a Leon Uris in my hands. I am now rereading many I read 40 years ago. They move me in a completely different way.

    I consider Wouk’s ‘Winds of War’ and ‘War and Remembrance’ jewels in my library. One travels the four winds with the Henry family and falls in love with each one.

    Jamie Lee Burke is a gifted writer. I catch myself rereading paragraphs simply because they are so masterfully written. He writes dark plots and deeply moving characters. I truly am in love with Dave Robicheaux.

    But how can I not mention Charles Todd and Donna Leon?! Rutledge and Brunetti are not just characters born of an author’s mind, but men I would meet should I travel to European lands.

    Larry Crabb’s ‘The Papa Prayer’ changed my life. As did
    Brennen Manning’s ‘Dear Papa’ and ‘The Furious Longing of God.’ I have gifted these two books more than any other.

    So to pick one? I can’t. My shelves house so many of my close friends. I love every time I revisit each one.

  19. Avatar
    Anne Carol November 30, 2017 at 8:11 am #

    Great post! I’ve always loved the movie “Gone With the Wind”, but never read the book. Now I want to!

    I’ve re-read “Bridge to Haven”by Francine Rivers, “The Bridge” by Karen Kingsbury, “Anne of Green Gables”, and the entire “Twilight” series. I’m sure there are others, but those stand out.

    I’d love to re-read “Little Women” as I just bought a copy at Orchard House, the house-turned museum where the book was actually written! I’d also like to read “Redeeming Love” again. I imagine my perspective will be different next time I read it. I cried the first time I read it, just a year ago! It’s one of my favorite books.

  20. Avatar
    Edward Lane November 30, 2017 at 8:33 am #

    Gone With The Wind impacted me also. I was impressed by how everyone assumed the Civil War would be over in a few weeks or months. It was almost treated like a social event. Then the relationships were also fascinating. Scarlett was so well written.

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    Carol Ashby November 30, 2017 at 8:49 am #

    I’ve read C. S. Lewis’s s Screwtape Letters at least 6 times. As a training manual for understanding how the devil seeks to neutralize your effectiveness serving God, it’s unsurpassed. Plus it’s short enough to fit in a purse on a business trip to read on the plane. Focus on the Family did a superb dramatization, too.

    For fiction, Pride and Prejudice is the one I’ve read half a dozen times and listened to on tape at lease two dozen times, maybe every three dozen on long load trips and when I have the flu.

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    Tracey Dyck November 30, 2017 at 8:50 am #

    There are so many new books to read that rereading doesn’t happen for me as often as I’d like! But Narnia has been an often-visited friend. I see something new in it each time I return.

    I read Hamlet twice in high school, the first time voluntarily, the second time for an assignment. Upon rereading, I appreciated the inevitability of its ending far more. (The first time, it seemed senselessly tragic.)

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    Linda Riggs Mayfield November 30, 2017 at 8:59 am #

    Well, Tamela, you did it again–motivated your readers to post things that challenged me: obviously, the big hole in my life as a writer is my practice as a reader! I write every day, but other than the Word, I don’t read every day. In the past, I reread a number of of Robert Ludlum’s high-action, complex mysteries, and unlike others’ book/film experiences, was NOT disappointed in the films based on the Bourne trilogy. The one book that I have read multiple times is Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life. I integrated it into a college strategic learning course I taught and I gave away numerous copies. I know of two women who came to know the Lord through reading their gift of that book and another Christian who told me it was life-changing for her. But today I need to compile a new reading list from these posts and go find my library card! 🙂 Thanks!

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    Joyce Erfert November 30, 2017 at 9:01 am #

    As an English teacher, I never tired of reading and teaching books like Cry, the Beloved Country, or To Kill a Mockingbird, or The Joy Luck Club. I have re-read Pride and Prejudice and The Chosen. Timeless messages and writing that grabs me make me want to go back and savor them again and again.

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    Renee Blare November 30, 2017 at 9:49 am #

    I’ve read countless books over and over. I’m wired that way.
    The Left Behind series, the Chronicles of Narnia, but I’m not limited to the great others. Lol I read simple romance novels over and over as well. Why? Because, as you said, I can. It’s amazing what I miss the first, second, even third time around. Keep reading!

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    Becky Hitchcock November 30, 2017 at 9:58 am #

    I read To Kill a Mockingbird once a year and The Last Juror by John Grisham.
    These are my favorites with endearing characters that I see plainly in my loved ones and co-workers.

  27. Avatar
    J.D. Rempel November 30, 2017 at 10:08 am #

    I’ve read Pride & Prejudice a few times and the A&E version of the movie probably over 50 times (Truthfully probably more than that). I’ve read The Hunger Games twice and watched the first two movies in that series multiple times. Catching Fire is my favorite. I’ve read and recommended The Hawk and The Dove series by Penelope Wilcock many times. I actually have 3 sets of the first three books in the series just in case I allow someone to borrow it and they don’t return it.

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    Marcia Laycock November 30, 2017 at 10:17 am #

    I’ve read Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, a few times – had to read it in the original unabridged version at university (which I wouldn’t recommend), and then in French for another class. I’ve also seen various versions on the stage and in film. I love the story of amazing mercy and grace.

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    Kristen Joy Wilks November 30, 2017 at 10:44 am #

    It strikes me as odd that someone would discourage rereading. There is no reason to purchase a book unless you are going to reread. If you aren’t, just get it from the library. Often, I have read something at the library and then realized that I loved the book so much that I would reread it. Then I made the purchase. I reread often. The Princess Bride, Pride and Prejudice, The Gallagher Girls Series, Lori Wick romances that just make me feel safe and happy. I love rereading!

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    Martha Whiteman Rogers November 30, 2017 at 11:44 am #

    I have read Gone with the Wind twice as well as its sequel. As an English teacher, I read a number of books with my classes two or three or more times to make sure I remembered details. Tale of Two Cities, Jane Eyre, The Scarlet Letter, P & P, Emma to name a few.

    For my own pleasure, I read Little Women and Little Men so many times I lost count. I dreamed of being Jo and having a place of my own to write. I have re-read it as an adult and still love it.

    Oh, and I’ve read a number of different versions of A Christmas Carol, but still like the original the best.

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    Laura November 30, 2017 at 12:14 pm #

    I’ve read The Voyage of the Dawn Treader approximately fifteen times, all the rest of the Chronicles of Narnia an average of five each, This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness about ten times each, and The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings twice.

    But that was all in high school and college. I don’t really have time to re-read books now unless I’m reading aloud to my children which is the best excuse I’ve ever had to revisit favorite books.

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    LK Simonds November 30, 2017 at 12:43 pm #

    Here are a few I read many years apart. As other people mentioned, more and different takeaways the second time.

    Memoir: The Liar’s Club by Mary Karr and On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
    Fiction: Cat’s Eye and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

    As for the Bible, well, that particular anthology is in a class by itself, isn’t it? Here’s a pithy one-liner from it: “I will open my dark saying upon the harp.” Says it all: Writing that opens a mystery to the reader and is lyrical to boot. Hmm hmm good!

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    Amanda Wen November 30, 2017 at 1:52 pm #

    I devoured Janette Oke’s Love Comes Softly series as a teenager (they were the books that first made me aware of the inspirational genre), and have recently been re-reading them. One of the books has a few scenes where a white character falls in love with someone of a different race, and all the other characters are staunchly opposed to the match. I had forgotten about those parts until I reread them, and while in the context of the time period, the objections make sense, to my modern eyes–even in my teens–I thought it was silly. I laughed when I came across those scenes in my recent re-read, because now I’m married to someone of another race, and we are blessed that where we live, in the time we live, it is just Not An Issue.

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    Melissa Henderson November 30, 2017 at 3:34 pm #

    I have read books by author Grace Livingston Hill more than once. I enjoy knowing my Mother and Grandmother read her stories during their lives, too. Also, I enjoy reading the same Christmas stories each year. 🙂

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    Hannah Currie November 30, 2017 at 5:40 pm #

    Okay, I’ll admit, this post had me laughing, mainly in disbelief. I can’t imagine not reading a book more than once if I enjoyed it. Isn’t that why you buy books? I have hundreds of books I’ve read more than once – if not many, many more times. Reading them again is like visiting old friends. Some days I just feel like visiting certain worlds again (Firebird – Kathy Tyers, Divergent series, Narnia, Harry Potter) or checking into a campsite/BnB (Red Door Inn, Christiansen Family series) or travelling back in time for a bit of welcome class when the world still felt safe and right (Lori Wick’s Kensington Chronicles, Melanie Dickerson’s books) or just catching up with the friends I grew up with (Christy Miller and co, etc). It’s like watching a favourite movie over and over.

    There are quite a few books I read as a teenager which I’ve read again recently as a married mum of little kids which feel almost like completely different books now I’m reading them from such a different perspective. Yes! Read books over and over! There’s so much more in them (okay, most of them) the second (third, fourth…) time round 🙂

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      Angela Carlisle November 30, 2017 at 7:43 pm #

      Ah, I love the Firebird books! I think the first time I finished them, I went right back to book one for another go-round.

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    Rita Betti November 30, 2017 at 5:51 pm #

    Any good book is worth at least two readings. I have read too many books multiple times to list them here. I guess the trilogy I read at least every two years for over 20 years was The Lord of the Rings. I cannot fathom not rereading any great work!!

  37. Avatar
    Angela Carlisle November 30, 2017 at 7:40 pm #

    I rarely read a book just once. A story I enjoyed once is generally worthy of another time through. And another…and…

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    Diana Harkness December 1, 2017 at 5:45 am #

    I have read everything by Madeleine L’Engle and C.S. Lewis more than once (except Til We Have Faces–once was enough for me). I have also reread Pilgrim at Tinker’s Creek, and Tim Downs’ Bug Man novels. I have tried to read the Bible every year but I get bogged down and have to stop and contemplate, so it’s more like a 3-year Bible reading. There are a few others–Kenneth Roberts’ historical fiction, Tom Clancy for the thrill of it, and Tozer’s The Knowledge or the Holy. But what about the books that are so thought provoking that we cannot continue reading? Those books that sink so deeply into our souls that great effort is required? I have 2 like that: Harry Blamires’ The Christian Mind and Revival by Lloyd John Ogilvy. And this is a late post because the email ended up in my spam.

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    Tamela Hancock Murray December 1, 2017 at 10:31 am #

    Wow, I love all these comments! Once again, you have inspired me to look into “new” books and revisit old favorites. I have the best blog readers ever!

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    Guy Hallifax December 19, 2017 at 3:24 pm #

    The book that first springs to mind that I have re-read is “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”. The book is several stories in one, and the first time I read it, I wanted to know how the father/son relationship was resolved. But the second time, i wanted to know more about the study of philosophy, as this book contains an amazing oversight with great insight into the greatest thinkers and philosophers of all time.
    I must say I agree that re-reading a book may seem foolish to some, but to the inquiring mind, it always repays the investment in time, if nothing else to separate the sheep from the goats.

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