I love re-reading books, yet there are people out there who look at me with confusion and the simple question of ‘why?’ across their faces whenever I say as much.
Here are a few of my answers:
You get something new with every re-read
One of the main arguments I hear against re-reading books is “you’ve already read it; you know the story.” While that is true for the most part, multiple reads of a book can reveal new things which you didn’t notice before. Often, I find, when first reading a book, you’re so focused on the story and finding out what happens at the end, that little attention is paid on the nuances of the book. Re-reading when you already know the story, particularly with series, can reveal hints that you had not noticed before or allow you to fully appreciate the characters and the writing of the book itself. You could even find that you’ve mis-remembered or forgotten parts of the story so end up discovering them again. I believe that, if a book is written well, there is always something to gain from a second, third or even fourth read.
They are great comfort reads
Sometimes, you may not be feeling up to reading a brand-new book. You’re ill, your brain hurts and the thought of trying to utilise your mind to imagine brand new worlds is just exhausting. This is where re-reading steps in. By picking up a book where you know the story, where you know the world and the characters within, the amount of effort that comes with reading is reduced – you simple have to pick up the book and let yourself be transported back into it. This is particularly true for childhood favourites, such as Harry Potter or, for those Percy Jackson fans, the Heroes of Olympus series. These are pure comfort reads and, sometimes, are just what you need when you’re feeling rough.
They make a nice break from all those other books you’ve got on your list
This is somewhat similar to the previous point but re-reading a book can make for a nice break between reading all those new books you’ve got on your list. It can be tiring reading new stories, going on new adventures and meeting new people every time you open up a book. Having that break where you can read a book that you’ve already discovered can refresh your mind and prepare you for all the brand new stories that are coming your way.
They can help you overcome reading slumps
We all encounter those times where we simply cannot bring ourselves to read. Whether this has been brought on by a completely marvellous or utterly dreadful book, or something else entirely, sometimes what you need to get back into reading is to go back and pick out a book you already know you enjoy and one that suits your mood at the time. If you know a story, it’s a lot easier to know if it is what you need to read at that point in time than one you have barely touched yet.
A re-read can give you a brand new perspective of a book
A lot of readers are mood readers – not only do we read based on mood but being in the wrong mood for a book can seriously affect how we read it. So say, for example, you pick out a book and start off really enjoying it but something happens and you come back to it at a later point but, this time, you aren’t really in the mood. You still read it, but it’s not quite as good as you remember. This disappointment might stop you from wanting to re-read a book but, you might find, that by picking it up again a month or even a year later you end up loving it as much as you thought you would at the start. Of course, if you absolutely hated a book then picking it up again might not be the best idea. As well as reading with a different mood, re-reading a book after a long period of time, might cause you to view the book in a different light. As we grow up, we have different experiences and become aware of new things. These will be reflected in how we read books. Our life, as we’ve lived it at the time, will affect how we experience a story – what stands out to us and who we relate to. So, re-reading a book, particularly after a long period of time may give us an entirely new perspective of the story itself.
Those are just a few of the reasons why I re-read books. There is just so much to gain from reading a book again and again and, if you own the book, there is really nothing to stop you; except maybe time. If I had time to read all the books on my to-read list as well as being able to re-read all the book I’ve already read, I definitely would.
Let me know in the comments what your thoughts are on re-reading books.