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December 18, 2015

Discussion: Why I reread books

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.

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.

9 comments:

  1. Of course I reread! :D I reread Harry Potter at least once a year and I've reread The Lunar Chronicles every time the next book int he series came out. This year I've reread my favorite book of ever Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda multiple times already. It's fun to reread books! :D I often do it when I feel like I'm in a slump. An old favorite always gets me out of it.

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  2. I reread all the time! Harry Potter is one of those series I just can't get enough off. Every time I read something new or discover something I haven't seen before. The books stay magical. There is something special about rereading and I will always make the time fore it :)

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  3. I don't usually reread book, because i always think that have too more amazing stories waiting for me, but sometimes, when i think that i have read the book too fast and i didn't absorbed everything the book was expected to give to me, i reread.
    I haven't reread so many books, but one that i did, and i hope that i'll continue rereading in my whole life is City Of Bones, because it's one of my favorite books so far.
    Loved the post!

    XOXO
    ummundochamadolivros.blogspot.com

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  4. Interesting, because the first time I read a book I don't approach it critically. Merely with an open mind. And actually it's when I re-read that I actually approach it with a more critical eye to see what I might have missed the first time around, since on the first time I likely would still be processing it. Great post!

    Cassandra @ Book & Movie Dimension a Blog

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  5. LOVE THIS POST! I don't reread often but when I do, I really enjoy it because it's like revisiting your second home and old friends. I also completely agree with you that each reading experience is different and you begin to appreciate the book more! :)

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  6. I absolutely love rereading books, but a lot of my friends/family in real life don't understand why and judge me a little for doing so. :/ There are so many reasons why I love to reread books. Knowing I like the story in advance guarantees a good read, noticing things I missed the first time around, etc. Great post!

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  7. I've reread a few books. But I don't get to do it often because I have many unread books. :) Nice post!

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  8. I'll admit that I hardly reread now that I've started blogging but I need to change that. I agree wholeheartedly with your post and I'm a HUGE fan of rereading. I find you'll notice things on a reread that you might have missed the first time, like foreshadowing of just small details that might be more important than you realize the first time around. Also it's less nerve-wracking so you're likely to absorb the story more. The experience is ALWAYS unique though, no matter how many times you reread ♥ Oh and thanks for sharing your HP reread number. I've read the entire series 7x so far and hoping to make that 8 soon :D GREAT post^^

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  9. Rereading is always great because it gives you a different perspective and it also helps you realize how much you really love some book, like Harry Potter for example. I remember, when I read the series, I didn't read anything but the series for quite a long time after that. I don't get as many chances to reread nowadays as I'd like, but I do wish to change that. Anyway, great post!

    Sarika @ The Readdicts Book Blog

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