Why I re-read

I started thinking about the topic of re-reading this week in response to today’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt: Books I Loved but Will Never Re-Read. I re-read books A LOT, and the prompt made me wonder: Are there any books that I’d absolutely rule out when it comes to re-reading? Sure, there are the books that I disliked or felt were only meh reads, but books I loved?

Never say never.

I can’t come up with a list that fits the category, because if I loved a book once, why wouldn’t I love it again?

So I started thinking about what I choose to re-read, and when, and pretty soon, had my own nifty little list going. Without further ado, here are my scattered reasons for why I re-read books:

Visiting old friends: Sometimes, we readers get a wee bit attached to our beloved characters. Or obsessed. Whatever. I love going back and re-reading certain books, because after enough times, it’s like spending time with family or friends who’ve been a part of my life for years and years.

Nostalgia: Thinking back to childhood or a particular era in my life, I may choose to re-read a book that brought me joy at a certain point, or that I associate strongly with events happening at the time I was reading. Or sometimes, it’s just to re-experience the wonder of a lovely story that once upon a time made me smile.

Comfort food: At times of stress, sadness, or even boredom, there’s nothing like curling up with a book that’s guaranteed to make me feel snug and content. (Lookin’ at you, Harry Potter!)

To honor someone special: There are certain books I associate with certain people — and particularly for people I haven’t seen in a long time, or even more so, those no longer with us, sometimes I’ll re-read a book because I know it was special to someone I care about, and reading their special book makes me feel closer to them.

The feels: A book that made me swoon, a book that made me cry, even a book that made me angry — if it brought out particularly strong feelings in me, I may choose to re-read it when I’m in the mood to feel that way again.

A refresher: This has been a biggie for me lately. When a sequel or a new installment in an ongoing series comes out, chances are (if I’m particularly invested) that I’ll go back and re-read the previous book, so all the details and characters and plot points will be sharp in my fuzzy brain.

A second chance: Do you ever reconsider books that you’d already tried and disliked? This one doesn’t happen all that often for me, but occasionally I’ll realize that maybe I gave up on a book too soon, or allowed a bad mood or real-life distractions to keep me from enjoying a book I might otherwise have liked. So every once in a while, I’ll decide to give a book a new chance to impress me… and I’ve actually had some good results!

Jogging the memory: Okay, yes, I’m the first to admit that my brain just doesn’t keep data forever… and so some of the books that I know I read and loved years ago are nothing but fond feelings and a general sense of storyline for me at this point. If I remember loving a book but don’t remember more than that, maybe it’s time for a re-read!

Plot twists: This one is super rare, but there have been several books in my reading life that smacked me with such mind-boggling plot twists that I had to read them all over again, just to see if the pieces really do add up or to sort out the complicated threads of the story.

New meaning: There are some books that I swear I could read over and over and over again, but each time, there’s some new enjoyment or nuance or hidden connection to discover.



Do you re-read? If so, why?

Clearly, I’m a fan of re-reading… after all, re-reading a favorite book is like giving it a big hug that lasts for hours!


18 thoughts on “Why I re-read

  1. I don’t reread nearly as much as I’d like to, mainly down to my TBR! I do like to reread for nostalgia though. 🙂 Some books just hold such fond memories.

    • I know, the TBR lists can be overwhelming! Sometimes it’s a real toss-up between rereading something I’m dying to revisit and tackling all the new books still waiting for me.

  2. I rarely re-read (maybe three re-reads a year??) but when I do it’s to get out of a rut or for comfort reading.

    Interestingly, there are a handful of books I’ve been meaning to reread because they made a big impression the first time (such as We Need to Talk About Kevin) but I haven’t… not sure why. Perhaps I don’t actually want to spoil that first experience.

    The saddest book I’ve read is Of a Boy by Sonya Hartnett. I met the author a few years ago and told her it was the saddest book and that I was working up to a re-read. She looked at me for a few moments and then said “Never go back.”

    • That’s so interesting that an author would advise against re-reading! Not quite sure what to make of that, actually. Regarding spoiling the first experience, that is definitely a consideration. There’s nothing like the first time for certain books, and I sometimes envy those who get to experience a favorite of mine when it’s new to them.

      • I wondered if the author wanted to retain the title of ‘saddest book I’ve ever read’ and figured a re-read would change that?!
        I also feel envious about the first read if certain books 😂

    • I’d like to re-read Tolkien — I reread The Hobbit recently, and probably am overdue for a re-read of the LOTR trilogy… although perhaps I should read some of his other works for the first time before re-reading familiar books. I haven’t read any Pratchett yet (except for Good Omens), and I really need to do something about that!

  3. I usually reserve my reread for books I’ve loved, but I recently picked up a book I felt pretty meh about because I had the sequel and I wanted to at least give it a shot and it turns out that I ended up enjoying the meh book so much more this time around.

  4. I’m a huge fan of rereading also, for many of the same reasons as you, but largely for the comfort factor. There are some books I couldn’t imagine not being able to reread again, but some that I read once and know I’ll never reread – these are largely fast paced thrillers and such, you know books just won’t be the same on returning as you already know a large number of the plot points.

    Great post!

    • Thanks so much! I agree about thrillers — there are certain books that I just wouldn’t feel the need to reread, since so much is about how the mystery will be resolved, and once I know, I know!

  5. Oh my goodness! My friends ask me all the time why I re-read books, but I can never really explain it very well. You have literally just put all my thoughts into words in this post. I love it!
    Lou xx

  6. I like your take on this week’s theme. I have been considering reading some of my much older reads recently – just to see if I still feel the same. You change yourself after all so it would make an interesting experiment. If I could make myself some more time now I’d be sorted.
    Lynn 😀

    • Time is always the issue, isn’t it? I tend to do a lot of my rereads via audiobook, so then I can balance that with my print reading time, which tends to be new-to-me books.

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