Hey everyone! Today’s topic is inspired by a long running argument between me and one of my best friends, Hannah (who went to YALC with my last year and is coming with me again at the end of the month). We agree on a lot of things, books-wise, since we have almost the exact same taste in books (it’s actually spooky how similar our tastes in books are!) but the one thing we have consistently argued over is rereading. She doesn’t see the point in it, because she says that once you have read a book, there’s no point reading it again, you know the story and it would be pretty boring because any twists that there are in the story wouldn’t be a surprise anymore (plus cliffhangers aren’t as scary because you know what’s going to happen in the next book, if it’s a series). I on the other hand love rereading and I’m going to explain why in this post.
Yes it’s true that when you reread a book, you already know the story, so it’s not a surprise anymore but I have always found that when I reread, I pick up on new details that I had never noticed in the story before. It’s not that I wasn’t paying attention the first time around, it’s more that there’s a lot of stuff to take in when you’re reading a book for the first time and you miss some of the finer details. When you’re rereading, you already know the story and because you’re not being bombarded with totally information, you’re able to pick up some of the finer details that you might have missed the first time. Also because you have changed as person from the first time you read that book to rereading it, you take something different from the story than you did the first time you read it and you’ll view it in a completely different way than you did the first time. Sure you might find that you don’t like a book as much as you did when you first read it, but you may also find that you enjoy and appreciate the book more the second (or even third or fourth) time around than you did the first time you read it.
I also find it somewhat comforting to reread…..if that makes sense. It’s like revisiting an old friend, and remembering how much you loved them and hopefully finding that you are still great friends. It’s like slipping into an old pair of comfy slippers and finding that they still fit and it brings great nostalgia for the time in your life when you first read it. For example, when I reread the Harry Potter books, it reminds me of my childhood and that always makes me feel very warm and fuzzy and nostalgic. It’s the same when I reread any other book from whatever part of my life, it reminds me of the time when I read it and even if that time in my life was bad, I always know that that book was there for me at that time, helping me through it, so that is always a comfort, and it’s also comforting to feel that no matter how old I get, those books will always be there for me.
I love reliving my favourite moments from books over again, it’s not quite the same magic as the first time you read your favourite moment, but it’s magical nonetheless. Whether it’s a moment that made me laugh, made me cry, made me squeal (OTP moments!), there is a certain beauty in reliving favourite moments over again. Plus since you never get to see what happens to your favourite characters (who let’s face are like best friends by the end of the book/series), rereading is the next best thing!
It’s also fun to reread a book in a series and be able to pick up references in earlier books that you didn’t understand at the time of reading, but now that you’ve read the whole story, you do and it’s really fun to go like “Yay, I get that reference now!”, it gives me happy book nerd feels! It’s great to be able to pick up foreshadowing for the later books in a series, and be like, the author is so clever, I never saw that the first time around!
As well as picking up new details that you didn’t see the first time, you can also find that there were things that happened that you might have forgotten about between your first read and your reread and that’s always fun, to see details that you’d forgotten about come to life again and be like “I don’t remember that happened, that’s so cool!”. You’re also pretty much guaranteed to enjoy the book (because you enjoyed it once so it’s likely you will enjoy it again, though I will admit there are occasions when you reread a book and don’t love it as much as the first time) and so that takes away from the doubt as to whether you’ll enjoy a book or not before you read it. Rereading is a good way of getting out of a reading slump, since you know that you’re going to enjoy the book, so it’s a good way of getting you excited about reading again.
I personally don’t reread to refresh my memory between sequels (just because I have so many books to read that I simply cannot find the time) but I know that a reason that a lot of people like rereading is to be able to refresh their memory between books, since a year is a long time and we all read a lot of books in the intervening time, I can understand why it would nice to reread before reading the next sequel, for a little memory refresh. There also might be a movie version of the book coming out and it’s worth rereading before you see the movie just so you can pick out all the things the movie got wrong!
I don’t just reread anything, the books that I choose to reread are particularly special, they are stories that no matter how much time has passed have always stuck with me and I love returning to them and feeling that same magic, the feeling you get when you know, “yes this is a special book”. Sure it’s never going to be the same excitment/nervousness that you get when you read the book for the first time, but there is still a certain magic in reading an old favourite again.
Rereading allows you to just get swept up in the story without having to worry about learning about a new world and new characters (this is particularly true of fantasy) and so it’s a more relaxed experience I think than reading a book for the first time (obviously reading is always fun but when rereading you can just get swept up in the story without having to focus on learning about the world for the first time). You also might see characters in a different way than you did the first time, because you have a different perspective, and that’s always fun, coming back to a book and seeing if your views on the characters have changed (particularly if you know their motivations on reread where they had been hidden originally).
I haven’t actually reread a book since I started this blog, which is really sad, because I used to love going back to worlds and stories that I have previously enjoyed, I just haven’t had the time since I’ve been reading so many new books and don’t get me wrong, I love discovering new stories, but there is a certain magic and a comfort to revisiting old favourites. I’m hoping that maybe over the summer I might get to reread a couple of books, since I have a lot of time on my hands!
So over to you. Do you reread? If you do, why do you like it? Is there a book or series that you reread most often? Do you go back to certain books over and over again? If you don’t reread, why not? Let me know in the comments, I always love to hear your thoughts!
I will have another discussion post for you guys next week, about whether books should be rated in the same way that movies are. In the meantime though, I’m going to have a review of my latest read Graceling and my July #RockMyTBR update up very soon, so make sure to check those out when they’re up!