To reread or not to reread…

Why do we reread books? There are so many amazing books out there in the universe, and only a (relatively) short amount of time to get through them all, so why do we waste time by going back to the books we’ve read already?

reread

Is it for a sense of familiarity or because it’s a known entity. I know that after I’ve read a book I disliked, I’m often tempted to go back to something I loved so I can regain the balance. Maybe we want to revisit ourselves at an earlier time and compare how we thought then to how we think now? Or relive the feelings we felt when we read a book the first time. I often think about how I felt when I read The Hunger Games for the first time and wish I could recreate it – it was my first proper foray into YA fantasy as an adult, and it hooked me like nothing had for a long time. Or maybe it’s because we can’t remember a damn thing about the book, and only realise half way through that we’ve read it before.

I know I’ve reread books for all of those reasons, but I’m finding myself rereading less and less as the years go on.

Back in my young years, I used to reread books with reckless abandon. I read some of those Christopher Pike books three or four times and Looking For Alibrandi definitely got more than one look-in. Even when I got a bit older I didn’t spare a thought for all the books I was sacrificing by ploughing through The Bronze Horseman for the tenth time (and I’m not talking about going back just to read the sexy bits – I’m talking ten times, cover to cover).

Now, I break out in hives at the mere thought of rereading a book that size ten times. I’ve noticed that since hitting my 30s, I am feeling much more anxious about all the books I still have to read and the possibility that I might not have enough time to read them all. I realise this all sounds a bit dramatic, but the thought that I might not get to read all of the books I want to read hadn’t even crossed my mind until a few years ago.

Basically, if people could just stop writing great books for about a year, I might be able to catch up – all writers and aspiring writers please take note.

How about you – why do you reread (or not as the case may be)?

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Categories: Book life

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4 replies »

  1. Really interesting post! Rereading is something I wish I did more of. Like you mention, I’m aware of just how many books there are out there that I haven’t read, so most of my reading time goes on reading new-to-me books instead of old favourites. There are a few books I find myself returning to but, like you, I mostly reread them after I’ve read a book I dislike or am in a bit of a reading slump.

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    • Thanks! It’s a tough one isn’t it – because there is something so wonderful about returning to old favourites, but in the back of my mind is always the niggle that I’m wasting time by not reading something new. #bookwormproblems 🙂

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  2. I like rereading books, well at least my favorite ones, because sometimes I miss things the first time around or forget about something that happened. When I read through it a second time I almost always find something I missed the first time. I also reread my favorites because they are just that, my favorites. For me it’s kind of the same reason I rewatch movies and tv shows too. Re-entering a world I love in a way.

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