My mother’s reading habits are less like Jesse’s and more like mine.  She reads quickly, broadly and plentifully (is that a word? spell check says it is).  This, in addition to our generally similar test, and our always similar distaste in fiction make us especially good reading partners. 

She and I exchange books so often that we don’t always remember whose book it was originally.  We also share with many others in the family and with select friends, so it can get confusing.  For instance she recently recommended a book to my sister-in-law that my sister-in-law had given to me which I then passed on to my mom. 

Further, sometimes we want the books back, sometimes we don’t care where they end up.  So we have a system.  Anything we want back we put our address label inside.  Anything we don’t want is blank.  Apparently though, somewhere along the way, we needed some improvements on this system.  I went to my mom’s house the other day and saw a familiar book on the table.  I picked it up and read the back and thought “Hey, this sounds like a good read.”  I looked inside and found a post-it note in my own handwriting:

“You have read this book before.  And yes, you need the reminder.”

I laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes.  The funniest part is, that neither she nor I can remember who the note was for.  Clearly we’ve both read the book before and at least one of us (if not both) has attempted to read it again.  So it’s entirely possible she is currently reading it for a third time – and enjoying it.  I might even take it from her when she’s done.

What does this have to do with A New Mom’s Guide to Reading?   Rereading!

We’ve talked about rereading on this blog a few times before.  Classics of course, almost always bear rereading (even if you hated them the first go around) to see if you can discover what makes them a classic.  Your personal favorites too can be reread with the same pleasure as the first read.  

But apparently if you are a reader like I am (and my mom is), in other words, one who reads a lot but doesn’t retain every book ones reads, clearly you can reread to your heart’s content.  Each book is interesting, even if it seems vaguely familiar.   Because you don’t remember it.

Regardless of why you reread, it’s a great idea for new moms and as such it is strategy 6) Read something that isn’t a surprise to you.  DON’T read a page turner.

Why?  There’s a danger in reading a new book that sucks you in.  I started reading The Forgotten Garden this week.  I should have known better, it breaks two of my rules #1 because it’s a large book at 549 pages.  It also breaks rule #4 because there are in inordinate amount of mothers and children dying.  It is, in some, ways unbearably sad.   However, it’s an expansive story about several interesting women and threading through all their lives in a mystery to be solved.  It’s engaging, entertaining and well written.  A page turner.

Therein lies the problem. As a new mom I haven’t been getting much sleep.  And still I’ve been dreaming about this book, and reading it every second I could, including late at night, when I should have been sleeping or, during the day, when the baby was asleep and a nap would have benefitted me more.  549 pages in three days.  I couldn’t help myself. 

So reread something that’s good, that interesting, but not something you need to know the ending of pronto.  Believe me, it’s a slippery slope.