Rereading Books

ImagePhoto Credit: Glen Ellyn Public Library

Since yesterday’s post contributed to my best day ever of site views and is currently the second most viewed post I’ve written and has the most comments of any single post, I wanted today’s post to be kinda sorta almost related. So we get to talk about rereading books!

I mentioned in the comments of yesterday’s post and in previous posts on here that I’ve never once reread any book, except for my own. Why? Because there are so many books that I’ll want to read in my lifetime that I don’t want to keep reading a book or a few books over and over again. I mean, I just don’t understand the reasoning behind reading a book that you already know. Sure, maybe you haven’t picked it up in a few months or even years, but once you start reading you realize how well you already know the story. That is no longer entertainment, it’s boring.

Are there books on my shelves that I’d like to reread? Of course. Are there books on my shelves that I read so long ago that I have no idea what they’re even about? Yes. But will I be going back through my own little library any time soon to reread either of those types of books? Nope.

I know I’m going to be in the minority a second day in a row, but that’s okay. Tell me why you reread books. And don’t you dare just say that there are some books that are so great that you have to reread them. We’ve all read great books. If that’s your reasoning, get away from me.

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94 thoughts on “Rereading Books

  1. Its simple. A great book is not always absorbed in one sitting and a second or third view will bring forth details or arcs that were glossed over initially. Also, a good book is like a good movie. When you want something familiar and something you know will deliver there is always that one or several books you know you can count on. Although I’m sure you probably don’t rewatch movies either.

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    • One should never assume things they don’t know. I’ve seen The Hunger Games a million times. And Good Will Hunting. And Anchorman. And all three Transformers movies. And Scarface. And a million others.

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      • Touch’e … Rereading books is pretty much the same then… My favorite to reread is Bad Brains by Kathe Koja. An amazing psychology journey in madness. It never gets old. Also anything by Clive Barker. His books are extremely intricate and ALWAYS give you something new each time you read them.

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      • Why nope. Are you purposely being obtuse? Please expand your thought process.

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      • Books and movies aren’t the same.

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      • You have a very strict black/white view of the literary and visual arts and how intertwined they are with each other. This confounds me…..

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      • I’ve written about this. Spending three or four or six hours reading a book is not the same as watching a 90 minute movie. Feel free to keep commenting, but nothing you say is going to change that.

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      • You’re right, John. Reading a book isn’t the same as watching a movie. It’s better. And so the reason why I like to watch certain movies again and again and never get sick of them is the same reason I like to read the same books over and over and never get sick of them. Because I love them, and I love their stories, and I love revisiting that world over and over. Like watching a movie I love but amped up to a million.

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      • We mostly agree. Just not on the reading a book over and over. I’ll never be doing that.

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  2. You make a good point. I’ve got two bookcases full of books that I’ve read which I’m keeping in case I ever want to read them again, but so far haven’t got round to.

    I think a good book can be like an old friend and you’re sorry to part with it. And there’s always that niggling feeling in your head (well in mine anyway!) that you might want to read it again some day so you better keep it. šŸ™‚

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  3. I reread my favorite books all the time. I have a weird obsession with Gone with the Wind and have read it multiple times and always learn something new each time. I typically read classic and it sometimes takes multiple reads to catch the meaning behind everything. Also when I’m done with a great book I’m not ready to let go of the world and reread it in an attempt to get back. That being said a book has to be pretty great in order for me to bother rereading it, but those few amazing ones I pick up all the time and really stick with me. I agree its not really the same as a movie, I re-watch lots of movies I don’t like that much just because they are playing on TV and it only kills time for an hour or two.

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  4. I don’t reread a lot, but when I find a book that I get a good connection with I like to reexamine the occasionally . I think I get a little too emotionally connected to some of the books I read and every once in a while, depending what’s going on in my life, I like to revisit those relationships. I also read books really fast, so when I reread them I notice a lot of things I missed the first time which adds nuances to the story. Maybe you just have a much better memory than the rest of us and that’s why you get bored rereading!

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  5. I don’t like to watch movies I’ve already seen, and I don’t like to re-read books I’ve already read. The only reason I might do this is for learning purposes. I might want to see how the author writes dialogue, or describes a setting, or handles transitions. Even so, I don’t usually read the whole book over again, just sections of it.
    On my own blog, I recently wrote a post on conflict. I praised author Mary Kay Andrew’s ability to keep up conflict throughout her novel. I scanned several chapters and may do so again in order to study the author’s style.

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  6. To me re-reading books is like re-watching a great movie. It will never be as good as the first time because you know how it ends, but you still love the story and it is still entertaining to watch. I have read certain books like 7 times over! They are just so GOOD šŸ˜‰ hahaha! I do have to wait a while (just like with a movie) to re-read….definitely can’t read the last sentence and five minutes later start over. It is usually at least 6+ months before I can re-read anything.

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  7. I will only buy books I plan to reread. And I usually read them from the library before I buy them. Some stories are timeless, like the ones that influenced me as a kid: Little Women, Anne of Green Gables. Others I just sucked completely sucked into and try to relive how I felt when I first read them, like Hunger Games (yep, no shame here!).

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    • Only buy books you plan to reread? And what if you’re reading an author or genre you’ve never read before? Then how the heck can you possibly know that you’ll reread it? I’m obsessed with THG, still haven’t reread the books.

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  8. There are just some books which make you feel nostalgic and that you want to re-read just to re-experience what you felt at the time and what was going on in your life at the time when you first read that book. Personally, I agree with you that there isn’t really much point in re-reading books just to re-live the story but it can be enjoyable just to relish in memories of the first time you read those precious books to you.

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  9. Okay, I’m totally with you (again) on this one. I don’t know if I’ve ever reread a book in my life. Except, maybe the Harry Potters. But personally, a book is so different than a movie, in so many ways. It’s hard for me to get sucked if I’ve read it before, unless it’s been years and years since I’ve read it, and even then I agree that we remember more than we think. Also, just because of the time factor. I have three dozen books on my TBR list at one time, let alone trying to reread old ones? No thanks. I already know and love that story, I want to find new ones to know and love too.

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  10. I was going to start this off with saying I have a small collection of books I reread, but then I started counting and it’s easily 200… whoops. I look at rereading books as somewhat like having a pet. Dog in this case. Dogs really don’t do anything for you but give you love when you want it. They are there when you want a hug and they always bring pleasure… well except when they make a mess or whatnot.
    Books are kind of like that. They are a familiar old friend that you don’t have to totally put every thought into when you read it, but it’s comfortable. You know it’s going to end a certain way, so you don’t have the angst of waiting till the end. If it’s a mystery, you know who the murderer is so you are in agony waiting for the kill. And happy books, IE Jane Austen and Nora Roberts and others, well there are so many subtitles that you don’t get first time around. Plus, all the books I keep are ones I admire the writing and use for inspiration when I’m writing.
    There are a lot of books I don’t want to own, but that’s what a library is for. šŸ™‚ And honestly, I really agree with jamiewriteswhat and L.S. Engler. Rewatching films and reading the books is pretty much the same.

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    • I have no response to your comparing books to dogs and having reread 200 books and just no.

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      • Well the 50 or so HB Zane Grey’s tend to not get read quite as often, but…. The other’s get a fair share of rotation. Lol, I knew I was going to get flack for comparing a dog to books, and I wasn’t even sure I wanted to, but I couldn’t come up with a better analogy. I reread all the time. I have this one book I read when I was 12 and I read it every year. It’s a simple read it in an afternoon book, but still. Every year. And James Patterson’s Sundays At Tiffany’s is wonderful. I’m a girl. I bet most women reread books over guys. Though my father rereads all his Nero Wolfe’s and Louis L’Amour.

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      • I’m no longer your dad’s son. Not if he rereads. And rereading the same book every year!? Sheesh.

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      • You mock… but oh, those old friends of mine. lol

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  11. We’ve already had this conversation before, so I won’t rehash all my reasons for rereading.

    I’ll simplify why I do it: Because I can! So there.

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  12. I recently reread Jenny Lawson’s book “let’s pretend this never happened” because it was on my kindle, which was in my purse, and it was that or interact with the other parents at wrestling practice. No freaking thank you. The good news is that her book is hilarious and so reading it a second time was just amusing. I even giggled out loud a couple of times, even though I knew what was coming. Given normal circumstances, though, I have too many new books I want to read to keep reading old ones!

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  13. If I’ve only read a book once, I either read it recently or I didn’t like it very much. When it comes to my favorites, four or five times isn’t out of the question. And I’m still relatively young. The truth is, there are far more books than there are stories and once I’ve identified someone who sets the bar particularly high in a specific arena (in my opinion) I have trouble getting a kick out of lesser attempts. Unless a book is uniquely original I find myself comparing it to what I’ve already read and if it doesn’t hold up, I’m gone. So as a reader I live in a kind of ever and slowly expanding loop cycle. I’m not suggesting that this is a good thing, or even normal, but it appears to be my lot and I don’t see it changing.

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  14. I’m on your side man. I would love to read and reread all day but I just want to read more books different books and as a mom it’s just hard to read at all. The only books I’ve reread were my own and for the dreaded reasoning of editing!

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  15. I love rereading books! With every read, I notice something new that I didn’t before, and those are the best moments for me. I love rereading them especially if I have read them when I was younger, to see how much more I understand of that book now.

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  16. Whoa! Lots of comments here. Of course we reread books. Don’t you know they are our friends? Do you only visit your friends once?

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  17. Pingback: Stick With it | Write me a book, John!

  18. Pingback: It’s Happening | Write me a book, John!

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