An American Editor

May 3, 2011

Do You Reread Novels?

I recently wrote that most novel readers do not reread novels. One commenter challenged that assertion as odd, as she often rereads novels, even rereading some of them multiple times. So let’s do an admittedly unscientific poll of An American Editor readers.

Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind when answering the questions.

  • First, this is limited to fiction in the novel form. Poetry, short stories, and other forms of fiction that are not book-length novels should not be considered when you decide on your responses.
  • Second, think about rereading over your entire adult reading life, not just in recent years. I’m excluding childhood and teen years because I think many of us did reread novels in those years. For example, my children read, for example, Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham, and my neighbor’s children read Rowling’s Harry Potter books multiple times. I remember reading the Hardy Boys and Tom Swift novels multiple times in my youth.
  • Third, the questions need to be considered broadly. By that I mean if you have read 1,000 novels over your adult reading lifetime and have reread only a dozen of those novels, then you should consider yourself as not being a rereader and answer the first question no. I suspect all of us have a few novels that we have reread, such as Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings or Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. To be considered a rereader, the percentage of novels that you reread should be a significant portion of the total number of novels you have read during your adult reading life.

Now, to the questions:

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