I don't personally know any one who rereads. Why would you want to read the same words again? they ask. But there's so many other books you could be reading! they say.
Me? I've been rereading books all my life. The way I dutifully reread the entire Harry Potter series until the 11th grade was a family joke. I still laugh at the same jokes. I still hate Umbridge. I still squeal at the chapter where Lily shouts at James. And probably still will, even when I'm old.
I began rereading my books because I didn't have any new books to read. My library was small, none of my friends read books that I could borrow, and buying new books every other month wasn't exactly an option. Even though I started rereading books because of that, I have very different reasons now.
I get to experience the book in a very different way. I'm one of the few (I think) people who believe that if you read a book twenty times, each time will be a different experience. I discover the book all over again. And every time I do, I discover something that I missed because I flew through the book the first time I read it. I discover a new detail, a new meaning to a scene or a character, and the book becomes a stronger part of me. I feel like I understand the book more, and know it more wholly. If I loved it the first time round, I love and appreciate it even more the second time around.
I've reread the Harry Potter books from beginning to end around ten times, and I've read every other book on my bookshelf at least twice. There's something very comforting about being able to revisit the world created by the author, the characters in the books, and turn the pages knowing what comes next. It allows me to reflect on what has happened so far and understand the atmosphere of the book better.
A common thing that people say about rereading is that it's repetitive, in a sense. But that's rarely been the case for me. I get to see the book in a new light and understand the motivations of the author better. It's a very different experience, reading the book a second time, and an even more different experience, reading it a third time.
It's less effort. With my busy schedule, I don't always have the mental energy to start a new series or book and keep track of new characters and new details. Rereading a book gives me the same joy that reading does, except it's easier on my mind, it's quicker, and I can afford to stop if there's something that immediately needs my attention. When I read a book for a first time, I try to read it critically, so that I can have a definite opinion on it when I'm done. Rereading is how I still stay connected to books, if I don't have the time or energy to do that.
It doesn't disappoint. Sometimes I hit a bad streak of reading books, where I end up DNFing book after book. Some other times, I get into a rut and every book I pick up fails to catch my interest, and all I really want is a book that I know I'm going to love. Picking up an old favourite is the perfect fix for this. Exploring the same characters, encountering a scene I particularly liked, and laughing at the same old jokes always does it for me. I know I won't lose interest in or dislike the characters, and most importantly get bored.
Now, I live in a city with a huge library, and I can afford to buy at least a book a month, (though I don't because my library is more than enough at the moment). But rereading is still special to me. It's what I do when I want to slip into a world that I know well, a world where I know what's about to happen next, a world that I know is waiting for me.