Petit Fours » A group blog of authors writing in different genres

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Read it Again, Samantha

By Marilyn Baron

I didn’t realize that Disney World had opened a branch in Atlanta. It’s at the Atlanta airport. The theme park appears, magically, when you enter the security zone and have to negotiate the maze of what I call the Disney snake line that winds around, like a huge intestine, making it appear shorter than it is. That’s when you find out that, “It’s a Long Line after all. It’s a Long Line after all. It’s a Long Line after all. It’s a Long, Long Line.”  

There’s a sign in the security area that reads: If you were born on or before this date in 1937, you don’t have to remove your shoes when going through security. What I want to know is, what’s so special about 1937? And why don’t those old people have to take off their shoes?

And talk about getting old, the other day my husband accused me of being a finicky eater. He said I reminded him of Felix the Cat.

“You mean Morris the Cat,” I corrected him.  

“Whatever,” he said. 

That little interplay dates me, and it occurred to me that the aging population will be a boon to the publishing industry. Case in point.  A friend of mine told me she’d just finished a book she didn’t realize she’d already read. Then she admitted she’d forgotten the name of the book. I’ve unintentionally checked out books from the library I’d forgotten I’d already read. But it only took me the first few pages or no more than the first chapter to realize my mistake.

Sometimes, I’ll read a chapter and swear I’ve read the book, but often it’s because authors will put a preview chapter of their next book in the back of their current book and that’s why I remember it. Remembering that preview chapter is an accomplishment in itself. Some authors write so many books you’d be hard pressed to remember each one of them. Rereading one would be an easy mistake to make.

I know some people reread “keepers,” but imagine how upsetting it would be for someone to buy a book they’d already read if they didn’t intend to. Another friend makes a list of the books she’s read so she doesn’t forget and buy the book again. One woman keeps a box of index cards cataloging the books she’s read.

In the past, I’ve trusted my memory. But that’s not working out for me now. I have too much going on in my head. In the future, more and more people will buy books they’ve read before without realizing it. Imagine if publishers could sell two copies of each book to the same person.

If you’ve truly forgotten the book and you enjoyed it again, that’s probably okay. There are worse things than rereading a good book. But paying for the same book twice could be upsetting.

Have you ever checked out or bought a book you’ve already read? How did you feel about it? How long did it take you to realize it?

Carol Burnside - September 13, 2012 - 3:35 am

I’ve bought a book twice, thinking that I hadn’t bought it yet when in reality I just hadn’t read it yet. Got both copies signed by the author too. Gah! Such things are disconcerting, but with all the data coming at us from all directions, it’s a wonder we remember where we live and what outfits we wore this week. LOL!

Marilyn Baron - September 13, 2012 - 4:02 am

Or maybe it’s because we don’t get enough sleep. Why are we both up this early in the morning? Last night, I was at my neighborhood book club and a number of the women said they enjoyed rereading favorite books, although one said when she went back to a book it wasn’t as good as she had originally thought. Others reread classics when their kids have school assignments to read the book. One woman commented that she’d read a book with futuristic themes and technology a long time ago and some of the gadgets they talked about in the book have since been invented. Thanks for commenting, Carol.

Maxine - September 13, 2012 - 8:06 am

Marilyn, I’d laugh, but I’ve had that problem before. When someone asks if I’ve read a certain book, I think I sound mental when I say, “Yes. I think I did, but I don’t remember anything about it.” BUT, there are those that I intentionally reread – for example, the Harry Potter books or an old favorite Agatha Christie, and I still enjoy them.

Marilyn Baron - September 13, 2012 - 8:20 am


I don’t know how many times I have read a book and someone asks me if I’ve read any good books lately and I can’t remember the name of the book I just read. I read a lot of books each week and sometimes the names just go out of my head, but one thing is certain–they’ve provided a lot of enjoyment. I should keep a list of great books so I can recommend them to others or I need to do it right away before the names slip my mind. My daughter collects and rereads Agatha Christie books too. I think Carol is right, we are bombarded with so much information that we can’t keep track of it all.

Linsey Lanier - September 13, 2012 - 8:28 am

My beta reader (who buys a lot of her books in the grocery store) tells me she’s very careful about not buying the same book twice. When she checks one out, she reads something in the middle so she doesn’t make the mistake of remembering the first chapter that was previewed in another book. She still buys books she’s read before, but she also occasionally doesn’t buy a book she thinks she’s read before and hasn’t, even with her method. So it cuts both ways.

I guess that’s another advantage to eBooks. I know Amazon will tell you if you already bought an eBook. I think the other distributors do, too. A computer’s memory doesn’t age. Sigh.

Marilyn Baron - September 13, 2012 - 8:36 am

Is your beta reader in her twenties? That may be why. I never thought of that particular advantage of eBooks. But you’re right. The other day I downloaded (or tried) to download a book someone had gifted to me and when I tried to open it, it wouldn’t open. When I went back to try again, I got a message from Amazon that said you’ve already downloaded that book. I had to call the help desk to straighten it out but that would be an advantage for the computer to keep track of our books.

Pam Asberry - September 13, 2012 - 8:41 am

Funny post, Marilyn! I try to put a positive spin on it, thought; I tell people that is one of the BENEFITS of getting older: the ability to read a book or see a movie for the second (or third time) and have it seem all shiny and new. LOL!

Tamara LeBlanc - September 13, 2012 - 8:56 am

Oh my, I think having a reader buy my book twice would be awesome. They’d have to really like it to do that. And I’ve actually done it myself. I had bought a Lind Howard book years ago, read it, loved it. Then years later I was on vacation, didnt have any books with me but i was desperate to read something. instead of buying a book I might not like, I re-bought Son Of The Morning and re-read it.
The purchase was well worth it.
Have a great day!

Susan Carlisle - September 13, 2012 - 8:59 am

I’ve bought a book twice before. I figured out pretty quickly that I had already read it. I read so many that it is hard for me to keep up. If I started to keep a list I still wouldnn’t touch the number I’ve read. I don’t remember covers, authors or titles but I do remember what happen in the story. Some books are good enough to read more than once.

Marilyn Baron - September 13, 2012 - 9:29 am

Pam,that is one way of looking at it.

Tamara,yes it would be great for an author if a reader bought their book twice, if that’s what they meant to do.The fact that you bought the Linda Howard book twice was a great compliment to the writer. You are still young enough to remember if you’ve read a book or not.

Susan, I’m in your camp. I read so many books I could never remember them all. I can’t recall having read a book twice, intentionally, although I’ve read so many great ones that would warrant rereading but then there are so many more out there to read I wouldn’t have much time for rereading. I don’t like seeing movies I’ve already seen, except for Casablanca, which is my husband’s favorite movie and every time it comes on TV, he makes me watch it again…hence the blog post title, Play it Again, Samantha. Even though Humphrey Bogart never really said it that way. There was one exception. My first summer job was working at a movie theater and during the intermission I watched all the movies again and again. I remember the first one, “How Sweet It Is.” I think I memorized that movie.

ElenaDillon (@ElenaDillon) - September 13, 2012 - 10:39 am

I am still okay at remembering if I have read a book or not but I have had the 1st chapter thing happen to me before. I find that now I have a much harder time finishing a book than I used to. I just get bored. I will put them down and not pick them back up! Thanks for the tip for the Atlanta Airport. I will be there in Oct for Moonlight and Magnolias. Good to know! =)

Marilyn Baron - September 13, 2012 - 11:03 am


Thank you so much for visiting our blog! I always have a book with me wherever I go so I may not read a lot at one sitting but I do end up getting a lot of books read. I can’t wait for Moonlight & Magnolias. All of the Petit Fours and Hot Tamales will be there. Please come up and introduce yourself. It will be a great conference.

Sia Huff - September 13, 2012 - 4:15 pm

I don’t remember if I’ve brought a book twice.
Actually, there have been times when I have a new release, read it & love it, then see the author at a book signing and re-buy for her signature. I love having my books signed.

Marilyn Baron - September 13, 2012 - 4:50 pm

That’s nice to hear. That used to be a little more difficult for an eBook, but I’ve used Kindlegraph to sign my eBooks and now I have something called KeeperKase Cards. This was an idea created by Dianna Love for her eBook fans, which involves a reader requesting a 4X6 postcard of your book cover, on which you sign the back and send it to them to store in a photo album, along with similar cards from other authors. I’ll show you one at the GRW meeting if you’re going. Debbie Kaufman has them too.

Janice Seagraves - September 13, 2012 - 5:13 pm

I’ve checked out books that I’ve read before, but in my defense I live in a small town which doesn’t have that many books.


Marilyn Baron - September 13, 2012 - 6:14 pm


Thanks for visiting the blog. Do you have a Kindle or a Nook? Then you can get any book you want. I appreciate your comment.

Debbie Kaufman - September 13, 2012 - 8:27 pm

So first I’m jealous because Carol can remember what she wore last week. I constantly tell my self I should write down what I wore to church because I think I’ve repeated myself a time or two.

Oh yes, I’ve bought books twice. Not often, but it has happened.
However, this reminds me of my mother-in-law, who was an avid reader until Alzheimers claimed too much of her mind when she was 90. When she first started showing symptoms, I noticed her rereading books from our small town library and going on about them as if they were new to her. Possibly the only benefit of Alzheimers I’ve ever know. She actually got a lot of enjoyment reading her way through the library a second time :)

Marilyn Baron - September 13, 2012 - 8:36 pm

LOL, you and me both. We need to make sure Carol is with us at M&M so we don’t wear the same outfit twice!

That is sad about your mother-in-law, but certaintly a wonderful thing to get enjoyment out of a book you’ve read twice.

Thanks for your comment.

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