I know there is a division among avid readers between those that will only read a book once and those who re-read their favorites many times over. It’s no secret that I fall into the re-reader group, but I have a question for my fellow bookworms in both camps: Do you ever choose to read or re-read a book based on the timeline of the story matching up with real-time?
For example, earlier in the month I re-read the beginning of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone as I have for the past few years. I usually start it (or one of the other Potter books) around the last week of August and try to time it so that I’m reading about Harry boarding the Hogwarts express on September 1st. Some years I read it all the way through and others, like this year, I’ll put it on hold and save the Halloween portion to read then. I’ll also pull out any one of the Harry Potter books on July 31st just to read the chapter about Harry’s birthday. I’m not suggesting that this is a novel idea–I know a good portion of the fandom does some of the same things. I’m sure there are people that have the whole series mapped out and can or do read each day in the book as it happens but this is a fan thing and each of us are left to our own devices if we’d like to re-time read the series.
Another book I love to re-read in “real-time” is Little Women. Actually I guess re-read is a bit of an overstatement. Although I have re-read the entire book several times, my favorite thing to do is to read the Christmas parts of the book in the days leading up to the holiday. It’s an annual tradition along with a re-read of A Christmas Carol and the watching of A Charlie Brown Christmas.
Although I’ve done these re-reads for years, I’ve never shared them with other book friends or done them as a group read but I’m trying something a bit different with another series right now. This week I started participating in a real-time re-read of A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. Those of you familiar with the All Souls Series, may remember that the first book, ADoW, takes place over the span of 40 days (September 18-October 31). Not only have fans of the series mapped out a reading schedule to allow you to follow Diana and Matthew’s adventures “as they happen” but the author, Deborah Harkness has embraced the idea of a real-time read along. Each day in which there is a novel based event, Harkness posts on her Facebook page with “behind the scenes” information, insights into the writing process, extra character or setting information, etc. She’s even published The All Souls Real-Time Reading Companion to enhance the experience (available as a free e-book).
So what do you think? Do you ever do your own real-time reads? What do you think of an author joining the fun? Could you be patient enough to read a favorite book so freaking slowly (I’m looking at you Heather).