Read It Again Sam: A Re-Reading Update

Last year on the 9th June, I posted a list of 36 books I was planning to re-read, with the aim of re-reading two books a month. 14 months later I thought it might be a good idea to check in with how that has gone on, as well as share some thoughts on which titles lived up to expectation and which titles did not.

At the time of writing the initial post I was confident that over time I would end up changing my mind as to which titles to re-read and this prediction was certainly an accurate one. Whilst I’ve not been removing titles off the original list, I’ve definitely been adding them. Consequently, of the original 36 books only 20 have been re-read so far.

Below I’ve colour coded my re-reads from the last 14 months and by and large I think my re-reads have been positive ones, as even with some of the ones which were not quite as good as I remembered, the reduction in their ratings was often a small one.

 

 

 

 

 

Titles with a * next to them are titles added to the list after the initial post.

June 2018

The Case of the Gilded Fly (1944) by Edmund Crispin

A Murder is Announced (1950) by Agatha Christie

July 2018

London Particular (1952) by Christianna Brand

To Love and Be Wise (1950) by Josephine Tey

August 2018

Ordeal by Innocence (1958) by Agatha Christie

A Shilling for Candles (1936) by Josephine Tey

*The Murder of my Aunt (1934) by Richard Hull

September 2018 (a.k.a The Month Kate became the Reading Grinch)

Cat Among the Pigeons (1959) by Agatha Christie

*Murder Underground (1934) by Mavis Doriel Hay

October 2018

N or M? (1941) by Agatha Christie

The Smiler with the Knife (1939) by Nicholas Blake

*The Mystery of a Butcher’s Shop (1929) by Gladys Mitchell

November 2018

The Man in the Brown Suit (1924) by Agatha Christie (Anne certainly got on my wick a lot more this time)

The Beast Must Die (1938) by Nicholas Blake

December 2018

Mystery in White (1937) by J. Jefferson Farjeon

Buried for Pleasure (1948) by Edmund Crispin

Both these titles were originally 5/5 rated on Goodreads, so whilst I didn’t think they were as good as that on my re-read, their revised scores are still good.

January 2019

Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? (1934) by Agatha Christie

*She Died a Lady (1943) by Carter Dickson

February 2019

Three Act Tragedy (1934) by Agatha Christie (only because my expectations probably weren’t exceptionally high)

There’s Trouble Brewing (1937) by Nicholas Blake (Another highly rated book, which has gone down a peg).

March 2019

No re-reads this month probably due to my laptop dying on me.

April 2019

*Dead Man’s Folly (1956) by Agatha Christie (Again probably because I knew it wasn’t an absolute favourite going in)

Love Lies Bleeding (1948) by Edmund Crispin (The problem with allotting a colour for this one was that I couldn’t really remember what my expectations were going in.)

May 2019

Suicide Excepted (1939) by Cyril Hare (But then that is only a decrease from 5/5 to 4.5/5)

*Death Comes as the End (1944) by Agatha Christie

June 2019

*Tour De Force (1955) by Christianna Brand

Crooked House (1949) by Agatha Christie

July 2019

Unnatural Death (1927) by Dorothy L. Sayers

*A Judgement in Stone (1977) by Ruth Rendell

August 2019

*Hallowe’en Party (1969) by Agatha Christie (Again expectations weren’t as high to begin with)

*The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (1928) by Dorothy L. Sayers

As you can see the addition of, well additional titles, has increased in the last few months, so now my current to be re-read list looks like this:

(Again new additions are shown with an *)

  1. Sister Pelagia and the White Bulldog (2000) by Boris Akunin
  2. The Affair of the Blood Stained Egg Cosy (1975) by James Anderson
  3. Murder in Japan (1987) ed. By John L. Apostolou and Martin Greenberg
  4. The Affair at Royalties (1971) by George Baxt
  5. Thou Shell of Death (1936) by Nicholas Blake
  6. Nemesis (1971), *Third Girl (1966), *Partners in Crime (1929), *Hercule Poirot’s Christmas (1938), *Mrs McGinty’s Dead (1952), *A Caribbean Mystery (1964) and *Postern of Fate (1973) (in preparation for Brad and JJ’s magnum opus on the title next month, so yes, I better get my skates on with this one!)
  7. Holy Disorders (1945), Swan Song (1947), *Beware of the Trains (1953) by Edmund Crispin
  8. The Unfinished Clue (1934) by Georgette Heyer
  9. Surfeit of Lampreys (1941) and Scales of Justice (1955) by Ngaio Marsh
  10. Speedy Death by Gladys Mitchell
  11. Verdict of Twelve (1940) by Raymond Postgate
  12. Clouds of Witness (1926) by Dorothy L Sayers
  13. Thrones, Dominations (1998) by Jill Paton Walsh
  14. The Lady Vanishes (1936) by Ethel Lina White
  15. *The Chinese Chop (1949) by Juanita Sheridan
  16. *The Cornish Coast Murder (1935) by John Bude

And yes, I imagine I will continue to add titles in ad hoc, despite the list having 25 titles to pick from.

Over to you

  • Are you a keen re-reader or is once enough? Does it depend on the genre of the book?
  • How long do you wait until you re-read a book? For me most of these titles haven’t been read for 5-7 years.

10 comments

  1. I am definitely a rereader. For most once is enough obviously but there are a lot of books I have reread or plan to reread. Most are non mysteries. I just reread Lonesome Dove (code red), and am episodically rereading Bleak House at the moment.

    As for mysteries I reread a few Ellery Queen books in the past year or two(code very green), Thou Shell Of Death (green), Black Orchids(g), Coffin for Dimitrious ( still at 5/5), Murder on the Orient Express ( almost as good but it really could not possibly live up), The Judas Window (r). I also reread a half dozen of the Richard Stark books about Parker (a bit g), Pocketful Of Rye(r).

    There are very few books indeed that have ever been better on subsequent readings. The most notable is Red Harvest: 3.5, 5, 4.5, 5, 5. This is the novel I have read most often actually.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Waiting period? Usually a long time
    Lonesome Dove 32 years
    Bleak House almost 40 years
    Some books are more central and they get reread more often. I am overdue for a rereading of the Odyssey but reread the Iliad less than 10 years ago.

    On the mystery list: all of Hammett, several Ross Macdonald, several Chandler, a few James Crumley, afew Ambler and Greene. A small number of Poirot and Marple. I have 10 Carr in the pile, almost all rereads after 40 years.
    I have stopped rereading EQ and reread a lot of Stout 15 years ago so am done with him too I expect.

    Wow do I wish I had those wasted Akunin hours back! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m also a keen and frequent re-reader. My favourite authors for re-reading are Austin Freeman (I know a lot of people are going to disagree with this, and some of the others), Dorothy Sayers, E. C. R. Lorac (aka Carol Carnac) and Ruth Rendell (particularly some of the books written as Barbara Vine – but not all, as I’ve just re-read King Solomon’s Carpet and didn’t enjoy it that much). And from outside the crime genre, most of Dickens – I’ve just started reading Dombey and Son for possibly the 6th or 7th time. I’d also include a few SF, fantasy and straight novels.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I keep thinking I am going to stop obtaining new books of any kind, and just re-read. I think I could be quite happy with that (maybe a few very trusted authors would be allowed to send me their new books!). I have two distinct categories: favourite Agatha Christies and Dorothy L Sayers (and a few others) that I know and love every inch of, and will enjoy reading yet one more time. I have lost count of how many times I have read my favourites of their works – but every few years since reading them in my teens, so that’s a large number!

    And then I have a huge collection of crime paperbacks, built up over the years, walls-full of shelves, and why not just read some of them again? Often I do (particularly green and white Penguins) and I remember nothing of them, no spoilers, and very much enjoy them. And also enjoy that (unlike when I first read most of them) I can then look them up online and find out about the author, and see who else has read them, and which of my favourite blogs features them…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m often in awe of the memories you and Brad have Agatha Christie! But yes high volumes of re-reading probably helps lol
      Could do with some wall shelving as I’m down to my final couple of spare spaces on my existing bookshelves. Not sure where else I could fit another book case in. But at least with the re-reading I am doing I feel more justified in keeping the amount of books that I do.

      Like

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