Burn, Rewrite, Reread


I had zilch planned for this week in terms of a post, but Eve Messenger saved my butt with a “Burn, Rewrite, Reread challenge“. I went to my Goodreads account, randomly chose three sets (actually four, but you’ll see why if you keep reading) of three books and then from each set I chose one book that I would:

  • Burn (I mean, not literally, I just can’t do that. I have a hard enough time donating one!)
  • Rewrite (I’m still trying to get out a first draft “write,” let alone rewrite, let alone rewrite someone else’s work….)
  • Reread (Yay a fun category! Thank goodness!)


SET #1

Burn: 50% Off Murder by Josie Belle
I bought this as a beach read, and even placing it in that category is a stretch. It was a quick read with mediocre writing and even worse editing. The storyline was entertaining, but it has been long gone from my physical bookshelf, and I don’t recommend it.

Rewrite: The Places In Between by Rory Stewart
This book went on my “donate” pile years ago. It wasn’t a bad read, just not one that stuck with me. I wouldn’t be terribly excited about having to rewrite it. As a source on Afghanistan among many others it would be good to include, but as a definitive authority on all-things related to Afghanistan, probably not. Perhaps a rewrite would condense the narrative and add a postscript.

Reread: Evening Is the Whole Day by Samarasan Preeta
This is a fascinating, twisting novel exploring cultural strains in Malaysia. Conflicts rooted in hierarchy, tradition, ambition, wealth, poverty, and ethnicity run and weave through the Rajasekharan family as they provide a small picture within a picture of such themes colliding in the country’s history and social fabric. It is a quick-moving narrative concentrated primarily in one place within a place: a home within a country. It is the story of those who seek to leave, those who stay to change it, those who stay to keep it, those who are powerless to change what they wish they could, those who exist in it, and those who die in it.

SET #2

Burn: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Because: Irony. I loved this book. I would never actually burn it. I would wholeheartedly recommend it. But, it’s a book about a community that burns books. Hence the irony. Hence the selection in the “burn” category. Now go read it.

Rewrite: The Middle of Everywhere: Helping Refugees Enter the American Community by Mary Pipher
I know this book was provocative in many ways. I recall appreciating the stories. And I recall dragging a bit in places. Maybe that’s where I’d aim my aspirations of rewriting someone else’s work. Not really rewriting, maybe just editing for tighter content.

Reread: Letter to My Daughter by Maya Angelou
I read this before I had any children- let alone daughters. I want to read it again with a few more layers of appreciation factored in. I read it as a recipient of Angelou’s perspective- as a “daughter” so to speak. I wonder now if I will consider not only how her writings impact my life now but how they might impact my daughters’ lives. And the emerging writer in my head wonders if I might find a writing prompt of sorts to consider what I would write to my own girls.

SET #3

Burn: The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

I just can’t do it. How could I rewrite my favorite book from my favorite author? How could I rewrite a cultural tour-de-force about the experience of black Americans. I can’t. I’m wimping out. Goodreads is killing me with these options. I know I have a bunch of 1 and 2 stars in there, come on guys! Just for that, I’ll do 4 sets instead of just 3…

Reread: Home by Marilynne Robinson and Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

SET #4

Burn: The Rise of the Nones: Understanding and Reaching the Religiously Unaffiliated by James Emery White
Seriously, Goodreads? This is by my pastor!? I guess I’m going to put it here and ask forgiveness. And hope I don’t burn. Yeesh.

This book is a good introductory read about the shift in attitudes among the younger generation toward organized religion. But for me, much of it is written into the culture of our church and so it is already firmly imprinted in my brain. A book that I would otherwise recommend to someone interested in this type of non-fiction if I wasn’t playing a game that made me chuck perfectly decent books into a fictitious bonfire.

Rewrite: Bioethics: A Primer for Christians by Gilbert Meilaender
I am in no way qualified to rewrite this book about the intersection of Christian thinking and bioethics. I read it as a primer. But there was one example that Meilaender presented where he seemed to contradict himself. For good reason, but as far as making a consistent argument goes the loophole either needs to be addressed or amended. I guess I would take a stab at it if forced.

Reread: Arranged Marriage: Stories by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
I remember bits and pieces of this book. The more short story collections I read the less I like short stories, but this collection is one that I enjoyed. The stories examine women from the U.S. and India navigating intercultural boundaries and expectations. The language is simple and powerful, as are the symbols used to convey meaning. It would do me good to reread a set of short stories that I appreciated. Plus, my post about this book is one of the most frequently searched – students doing reports, maybe – to bring visitors to my blog. Must be something in there worth revisiting.


And, at the end of all that, I can honestly say I am very glad this was just a challenge and not an expectation. I’m not going to nominate anyone further (the introvert in me absolutely stresses out about this part of any chain/challenge), but if you find it here and are a glutton for punishment, be my guest! Thanks for the nomination, Eve!

To display a randomly sorted list of books you have read, follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to your Goodreads account
  2. Click on “my books”
  3. At the bottom of the screen, find the SORT box and select “Random”
  4. Choose the first three books
  5. And repeat 3-5 times.
  6. And then post to let us know how you fared.

Have fun?

10 Responses to “Burn, Rewrite, Reread”

  1. Carrie Rubin

    What a great idea for a blog post. I’ll tuck it away in case I ever get in a pinch for a topic. I haven’t read any of the books in your collection, but at least I know I can stay away from the burn ones. 😉

    • RebeccaV

      It was a great rescue for my lack of inspiration. Haha – my Goodreads list might be a better record of “burns/do not read.” I couldn’t seem to get a “random” 2-star or 1-star in my sets (except the first). I guess that’s the game though – not for the faint of heart 🙂

  2. ParentingIsFunny

    That is a neat idea. I don’t have a goodreads account, but I still appreciate the game. I’m going to be wary of Carrie Rubin if she does do a post on this. She’s read my book, and I know she has it in her goodreads. Be careful, Carrie! Be very very careful! 😉
    (Not that I expect her to read my comment, but you know.) 🙂

    • RebeccaV

      Haha – it definitely was a more nail-biting experience for me for more than just hypothetically burning books 🙂

    • RebeccaV

      I was happy to be tagged in it. I think it would have been much easier if I could’ve selected the books…maybe I’ll save that angle for anoother week 🙂


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