Text Patterns - by Alan Jacobs

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

re-reading re-visited

For the last few years — and, I regret to say, only for the past few years — I’ve been keeping a record of the books I read, and I append a little “r” to the title if it’s one that I’ve read before. But lately I’ve begun to think that I need more categories. For instance, the other day I read E. C. Bentley’s delightful Trent’s Last Case, which I had read before — more than thirty years ago. I didn't remember anything about it except that the protagonist’s name was Trent. That’s a very different kind of re-reading that the experience I recently described of returning to books and finding them more impressive than I had originally found them to be. So I probably need more symbols:

RF = I read this before but had forgotten it

RU = I read this before but had underrated it

RO = I read this before but had overrated it

R? = Why in the world did I decide to read this again?

Further suggestions welcome.


  • RR - Read before and worth reading again.
    One of those life-long partners/ companions.

  • David Robinson said...

    What about notations for how much of a book one has read? Or for read versus skimmed? Am I the only one who feels that a great deal of my book reading is difficult to describe because, having not read the entirety of a book, I can neither claim to have read it nor accurately report that I haven't?

  • Alan Jacobs said...

    I know what you mean, David. I remember last year reading *most* of a long novel but not being able to hang in there till the end. What does that count for?

  • RM--Read before, remembered it, but walked away with a completely different take this time.

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