KennethC

I have a bachelor's in history and communication. When I'm not pretending to be a Jedi Knight, I can be found reading, playing video games, and watching television and film.

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    Latest Articles

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    Published

    Why Reread Books?

    With so many books out there, why do many people keep going back to the same books and rereading them? Did they simply enjoy the book that much during their first reading, or is there more to it? Perhaps the book is being adapted into a film, and people want to jog their memory and reacquaint themselves with the story and characters. Maybe people love the world so much that they feel a great comfort and familiarity escaping to it when they reread the book. It might be a tradition to reread a particular story at a certain time of year, like Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. It is also possible that the readers did not fully appreciate or understand the book the first time through, or, quite oppositely, fully understood it and want to experience the book again now that they know all the twists and turns the author has to throw at them.

    Why do you think people reread books? What value does rereading the same books have when there are so many other new stories out there waiting to be uncovered?

    • I mean in addition to what you already have. – Tigey 6 months ago
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    • I find re-reading book exceptionally beneficial from an academic standpoint. I have NEVER re-read a book and not found a piece of "evidence" or a new idea for a paper or thesis I was working on. As for reading for pleasure..there have only been 3 books I have re-read because they absolutely enraptured me: "Mrs. Dalloway," "The Crying of Lot 49," "The Waves." Regarding the works of Woolf, I just couldn't get over the beauty of her prose, and The Waves became a type of puzzle I was figuring out with all of the different voices. The Crying of Lot 49 was an absolute trip!! It is a complete departure from my genre of study--Medieval Literature, with a concentration of readings in Middle English--but that may be why it fascinated me; the book toys with language and you have to be alert to be "in," on the jokes Pynchon throws at the reader. Sorry for the ramble. – danielle577 6 months ago
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    • No need to apologize, Danielle! I agree wholeheartedly. I find it extremely helpful to reread books when I'm approaching them from an academic standpoint. For example, I've read Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury three times, and each time I pick out something new. – KennethC 6 months ago
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    • Danielle, good call. I had to reread Mrs. Dalloway to understand it, and then when I unlocked the code, I was "enraptured" and astounded. I'm not afraid of Virginia Woolf, but she does make me feel very wee. The necessity of rereading complex works is a necessary aspect of this topic. – Tigey 6 months ago
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    • I like to re-read books that I loved partly because I know what to expect, but also because I like to analyze what exactly I liked about the book as a way to inform myself as a writer. – Lauren Mead 6 months ago
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    • Much like re-listening to a song over and over for a span of a month when it's new, and then having it find your ears months or years later, it might be that the reader is trying to recapture what they felt when they read it first. For me, this was "Paper Towns" by John Green. The main point of the novel, which isn't a spoiler, is that not everyone is as they seem, and people are more complex than you think. John Green, at one point in his vlogbrothers YouTube channel career, said the quote, "Imagine others complexly." That novel can be summed up like that. For me, it pushed me out of my previously egocentric philosophy of looking at the world. It made me realize, and actually think in words, "That person might be having a bad day. They aren't out to get you. They didn't hold the door open for you because they were thinking about how their cat just died." Etc., etc, etc, you get the idea. So for me, a few years ago, soon after it first was published in paperback, in a short span of a few months, I read "Paper Towns" over and over. Maybe in disbelief that I never realized the complexity of humanity in that way before. Maybe in shock about how words on a page could change my whole view of the world. Much like a meaning that you find in a song and its lyrics, you find yourself wanting to relive the experience of the first time you read it, and what you first thought of the novel. – MaryWright 4 months ago
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    • Some books are designed to be read multiple times and in multiple fashions. Prime examples of this are the productions of Vladimir Nabokov, especially his later works. Pale Fire requires multiple readings (or at least a circuitous, repetitious romp throughout the novel's pages) in order to glean a full(er) understanding of the story presented within the interplay of the poem and commentary. Transparent Things initially appears to be a rather convoluted narrative about a book editor's life and death, but opens up so much further once one has reached the conclusion and begins to reread the novel. A good book can open our eyes to so much and alter our understanding of the world, as noted by MaryWright above, thereby making a new reading of a novel as rewarding (if not more so) than the first reading. One should also consider that we are always changing. When we finish a book we are a different person in some ways than when we started the book: We have lived our lives, interacted with others, events have taken place in the world around us, and we have read a new book. When I first read Look at the Harlequins! I was unaware of the rancor between Nabokov and his first biographer, Andrew Field. After reading Field's books on Nabokov and reading Look at the Harlequins! in this new light the novel transformed from a fictitious autobiography of an author with some slight resemblances to Nabokov into a doppelganger of Field's works, revealing fictional counterparts to Field's very real scholarly errors and oversights. Nabokov's final, incomplete novel The Original of Laura has been widely dismissed as a recycled pastiche of elements from his previous works, most notably Lolita. But critical consensus has shifted as the work has been reread and re-evaluated (including the reversal of the most noted Nabokov scholar, Brian Boyd). However Nabokov's works are certainly not the only example of this. Some others that jump to mind are: John Barth's Lost in the Funhouse, Danielewski's House of Leaves, Dick's VALIS, Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom, Moby-Dick, and many others. Heck, some works require multiple readings and considerations before we're even sure what we've read, like Blake's Marriage of Heaven and Hell. – echarlberg 4 months ago
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    Is Competitive Video Gaming a Sport?

    E-sports have been growing in popularity in recent years. Under branches like Major League Gaming (MLG), competitive video game tournaments fill entire arenas and are broadcast complete with play-by-play and color commentary. Its players compete for major prize money. Outlets like ESPN now dedicate reporting coverage to e-sports. Top video game players even have exercise routines and diets to ensure they remain at the top of their game. Many of them consider themselves to be just as much an athlete as any traditional professional athlete in sports such as baseball. However, well-known sports analysts regularly laugh in the face of this kind of thinking. Is competitive video gaming a sport? What qualifications must an activity meet to be considered a sport?

    • I believe MatPat of Game Theory has addressed this topic in one of his videos, if you haven't seen it yet. It would be a great source to start with. – kiahrhea 4 months ago
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    Should Showrunners Direct Every Episode of Their Shows?

    More and more television showrunners are pulling double duty as directors of their shows, foregoing the practice of bringing in guest directors. Alec Berg and Mike Judge alternated writing and directing episodes of season two of Silicon Valley. Sam Esmail took over directing duties for the second season of Mr. Robot. Does the lack of guest directors help or hurt a show’s quality?

    • Interesting topic, but I don't necessarily agree with it. In most cases, the showrunner is the head writer, and is therefore not necessarily someone with sufficient directorial talent, experience, or inclination to bring their shows to life. An example that comes to mind is Vince Gilligan directing the final episode of Breaking Bad, which (despite being a thoroughly satisfying conclusion to an objectively perfect show) if viewed on its own, is one of the weaker episodes of the series. It begs the question as to how much better it might have been if he had let Michelle McLaren or Rian Johnson take the helm. – ProtoCanon 5 months ago
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    In Defense of Anime Filler Episodes

    Almost all of the big anime shows (e.g. One Piece, Bleach, and Naruto) have filler episodes. These filler episodes are met with groans from many fans, especially those who also read the original manga that these shows are based on. Most of the time, these filler episodes are made without any input from the original creator of the source material. Lots of fans will simply skip these filler episodes and jump ahead to the episodes where the canon story resumes.

    For this topic, the author will argue in defense of these filler episodes and attempt to point out their merits. Do any filler arcs from certain anime stand out as quality content despite not being canon? Why shouldn’t fans be so quick to dismiss filler content?

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      Latest Comments

      Great article! Poe is on of my favorite authors. I agree with Karen; you make an excellent point about Poe’s readers being complicit in the narrator’s acts.

      Terror and Horror in Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado"

      It’s hard to even fathom an end to superhero franchises at this point. I can see a break happening, but never a full on stop.

      Should Superhero Franchises have a Definite Ending

      Congratulations on the Article of the Month win for this!

      The Legend of Korra: Empathizing with Villains

      I saw a performance of Fiddler for the first time a few months ago. I was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed it. I agree that it has quite the bittersweet ending.

      Is Fiddler on the Roof a Tragedy? An Aristotelian Analysis

      The Nobel Prize for Literature really is unpredictable, isn’t it? Great article on Bob Dylan and his literary legacy.

      Bob Dylan and The Nobel: Greatest Living American Writer?

      This is extremely well written with a very clear thesis. Great read! It makes me want to jump into the Star Trek television series.

      "Balance of Terror": Star Trek, History, and National Security

      It’s almost as if Disney completely changed the course of the film after they heard “Let It Go” for the first time and knew it would be the hit song of the film. Thanks for the insight on the story behind Frozen.

      Disney and the Perils of Adaptation

      I really like the point you made in your second to last paragraph. Video games truly do give us a hyperreal experience. The Lone Wanderer didn’t explore the Wasteland in Fallout 3; I did.

      Are Video Games Worth Studying? (A Literary Perspective)