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Rereading

I brought four books to the beach: three new ones and one that I knew I liked because I’d already read it a few times.  I started the first book and was about 40 pages in when I decided that I didn’t like it as much as or more than the book I knew that I liked.  So I tossed it aside and started re-reading the same book for the tenth time.  I still found tiny details I missed the first few reading or made connections that I didn’t make the first go-arounds.  It was very enjoyable.

Josh almost never re-reads books.  He points out that there are too many books in his to-read pile, and he doesn’t want to move backwards and read something again, even if he enjoyed it the first time.  I, on the other hand, love re-reading books.  I know it will be a good experience because I already enjoyed the book the first time (or the tenth time), and I usually have a different experience with the book each time I pick it up.

It fits our personalities.  On the explore/exploit continuum, Josh is an explorer and I am an exploiter.  He likes experiencing new things.  I like delving deeply into the familiar.

It’s not that I don’t read new books.  80% of my yearly reading time is spent on new books.  But when the stakes are high — like having the most enjoyable beach trip possible — I want to be sure that I’ll enjoy the book.  Hence the re-read.

Do you enjoy re-reading books or do you usually want to move on to something new?

19 comments

1 nicoleandmaggie { 08.30.17 at 8:30 am }

Both. Ideally a new book that is as good as the rereads.

2 loribeth { 08.30.17 at 9:03 am }

I used to re-read books a lot when I was younger. Not so much these days, when I have so many new books waiting to be read. But I did re-read “All the President’s Men” earlier this summer (which I first read in high school, and hadn’t re-read in at least 25-30 years). And last year I was happy to re-read a new edition of “The Baker’s Daughter” by D.E. Stevenson, a novel I remembered fondly from my teenaged years. I’m also hankering to re-read another old favourite soon, “The Blue Castle” by L.M. Montgomery. So it does happen once in a while. 😉

3 torthuil { 08.30.17 at 9:12 am }

Always reread. I have the kind of brain that focuses on the big picture. So I quickly grasp the main concept of a book but I forget details very quickly. So I need to read many times to get the details in my head.

4 Josh { 08.30.17 at 9:21 am }

I believe my exact statement was, “I’m afraid I’m going to die and have all these unread books.”

5 Jjiraffe { 08.30.17 at 11:57 am }

Lately with both books and viewing (movies, TV, etc) I have become more and more selective. There’s so much anxiety in the news that I have a much lower tolerance for anything stressful or sad. And because I have so little time, I don’t want to watch/read something and feel like I wasted that time.

So, I’ve been re-reading books more. Mostly books that have a “comfortable” feel to them (no children in danger), and particularly no WWII themes. I really loved “All the Light I Cannot See” but I would not re-read that now. Too many uncomfortable echoes to today.

That said, I don’t want to NOT read a book that improves my understanding of the world. I pushed myself to read books like “War and Peace”, “Swan’s Way”, “My Struggle”, etc. I’m reading “A Life’s Work” by Rachel Cusk now and it’s really illuminating my view of motherhood.

So I guess I want a balance of reading new books, but also re-reading as well.

6 chris { 08.30.17 at 12:28 pm }

I love reading a new book if it’s something I’ll enjoy- like I know I’m almost never disappointed by a new James Patterson book. But there are certainly a few I have re-read many times and will re-read again.

7 Sharon { 08.30.17 at 1:30 pm }

If I really love a book and its characters, yes, I will re-read it. But generally only if I am looking for something to read without getting invested into it, if you know what I mean. There are times when I know that I won’t necessarily have time to stick with a new book, and those are the times when I will usually re-read one.

8 a { 08.30.17 at 5:02 pm }

I used to reread books, but not as much any more.

9 Suzannacatherine { 08.30.17 at 9:25 pm }

I love to reread a favorite book. It’s like visiting with old friends and what’s wrong with that?

10 Journeywoman { 08.30.17 at 11:22 pm }

The year after my mom passed all I could do was reread books. I couldn’t read books I haven’t read. I like reading new books and sometimes I just love rereading.

11 Mali { 08.31.17 at 1:56 am }

I used to re-read books all the time when I was young, but these days I have a to-read list that has hundreds of books in it, and life is short. Every so often though, I might dip into something easy and comfortable and quick. And it would probably help me at the moment recover my reading mojo, which fled several months ago.

12 TasIVFer { 08.31.17 at 4:33 am }

I love rereading books! So many old friends. Not that I don’t like making new friends as well – but there are so many books and authors with places in my heart.

13 Valery { 08.31.17 at 3:29 pm }

new new new for me.
Maybe I’m just too impatient for rereading, I keep thinking ” I already know that (and I also know how it ends”
I guess the exception is my blog. That enables me to travel back in time. And evokes all those feelings again.
However my four year old likes to have her stories read over and over again. I probably sang Twinkle twinkle little star more than 2000 times now.

14 Turia { 09.01.17 at 7:29 am }

I do love a new book, but I am a rereader at heart. There are certain books I’ve been reading every couple of years for decades now. They are like old friends and even though I can see all the flaws I still love them. I find when life gets stressful there is something so comforting about revisiting a story you know.

15 Lori Lavender Luz { 09.01.17 at 4:53 pm }

Mostly explorer. I used to re-read my favorite books, but I haven’t in awhile. There are just too many new ones to read!

16 Cathy { 09.01.17 at 7:11 pm }

For more years than I can remember it’s been new books for me until a couple of months ago bookclub chose somethig I’d read before.
Maybe the first reading was hurried – newly published book, want to find out what happens- but in the second reading I saw/found out much more. Lines of description I certainly don’t remember – actual events I don’t remember.
Might be time to revisit some others – but then as many have also said, there are shelves full of books just waiting to be read. Decisions Decisions 😊 ~ Cathy

17 Persnickety { 09.02.17 at 2:39 am }

Rereader! There is often greater meaning in a book the second or third time. And I also read the last chapter when I am only part way through the book (ebooks make this harder). I don’t like surprises at a very deep level.
I don’t often reread non-fiction though.

18 JustHeather { 09.02.17 at 6:33 pm }

I mostly like reading new books, but there are a few I’ve re-read and will read again. 😀

19 Caryn { 09.04.17 at 7:48 pm }

I find that I reread when I’m feeling high levels of stress or pressure in my life. Not only do I find the familiar calming, but I also don’t have the focus to tackle new material. Like you, I find I pick up on missed details or will often relate it to my life in new ways dependent on where I’m at in the moment. I’m solidly team reread.

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