I don't reread books that often. Sure, I've read the entire Harry Potter series too many times to count and a few others have snuck in a time or two, but generally, I think there are so many books in the world that I need to keep plowing on. But sometimes rereading can be a lovely gift and I'm coming to appreciate it.
In late middle school or early high school I started reading the MRS MURPHY MYSTERIES series by Rita Mae Brown. At the time I loved them for the quirky animals and the good mysteries. I stopped reading them as my interests changed and although I still have a bunch of them (unread) on my bookshelf, I couldn't restart the series without the first three books which had been missing for years.
I was in a sweet little used bookshop in Warwick, RI last week and found the first three books for cheap. I've spent the last few days binging them and I have a newfound appreciation. The animals are still quirky and fun and the mysteries are still good but the blade of truth with which Brown has cut all of her characters is so sharp it almost hurts. She uses murder mystery as a way to acutely examine the human condition and display interpersonal messiness and emotion in both subtle and overt ways that really resonate. I missed so much of this as a young teen reading them but now, in my late twenties, it makes the stories so much richer and reaches me in new ways.
Take Mary Minor Haristeen aka Harry. She's the main character and her small town life is so relatable it hurts. She's struggling to navigate friendship with her cheating ex husband, enjoying the chaste company a very attractive neighbor, working at a post office even though she's got a degree in art history, and sticking her nose everywhere it doesn't belong. As a teenager these were just character facts but as a millennial adult with my own set of challenging life issues, Harry is just the heroine I need.
I remember reading Sarah Addison Allen's LOST LAKE and being struck by the following quote about rereading books: "I've read them all. I want to remember them the way they were. If I read them now, the endings will have changed."
It seems a lot more than the endings can change... And it doesn't have to be a bad thing!
Do you reread? If so, do you think the characters/endings change based on the person you are when you read them?