I had a friend tell me once that she reread books—or at least was willing to reread a book so we could read through it together. The idea completely surprised me. Why would I read a book I’d already read? It made no sense.
But as I ran through all the books I wanted to read (I was in an odd spot of not liking middle grade books but also not liking older YA books, so options were limited), I found myself turning to again read things I’d already read. And to my surprise, I quite enjoyed it.
Now I’ve perhaps swung too far: Rereading at the expense of reading new things (a topic for another post perhaps). But it just goes to show how much I love rereading. Why though?
Finding/learning new things
Just because I’ve read a book once doesn’t mean I got everything the book had to offer. Usually, on a second, third, or eighth pass through, I still spot new details, new levels of meaning, and new things to catch my attention.
Skipping the boring parts
After getting more familiar with a book, I can skip around to the parts that I like, jumping over the slower parts, exposition, or any sections that are necessary for the book but not the most interesting. It’s like being about to have a highlights reel for the book.
This is particularly useful when it comes to exposition. Most books are laden with introductory material that can be hard to slog through. Even if it’s interesting to read, it is still hard to reorient myself into a new setting with new characters each time I pick up a book. But with books I’ve already read, I’m familiar with the world, setting, and characters, so all the pain of understanding the nuances of the set-up or story premise disappears.
Good old nostalgia
Many books hold a special place in my heart because of when I read them. They remind me of specific points in my life. By reading the books again, I can relive some of the original joy I had when reading them. It’s the next best thing to being able to read your favorite book for the first time again.
Knowing what to expect
Granted, part of the downside of rereading is that I already know any twists and turns in the story. However, this also means I can watch for the setup of these things better. The example I’ve heard is of the movie The Sixth Sense. The reveal in this movie makes it so if you rewatch it, you look for clues for this ultimate reveal. The same goes for books: When rereading, I can spot the nuances and clever tactics the author uses to set up later plot or character developments.
Another advantage here is that I already know I like the book. There’s no risk that I’ll pick up the book, not like it, and feel like I’ve just wasted time. I’ve been burned many, many times by authors’ breaking promises they made earlier in the book or using cheap tactics that feel demeaning to the reader, but with rereading, this is not an issue.
One final note on this category is that I sometimes don’t know what to expect. If it’s been a while since I’ve read a book, I won’t always remember all the twists, turns, and reveals. So, when I reread, I get some of the joy that I had when first reading the book as the plot and characters develop.
Remembering books better
I love rereading my favorite books because it makes me more familiar with them. I can remember sections better, quote material from them, and have a better understanding of the plot. Rather than sometimes forgetting elements, I can understand the book inside and out, explain it to others, and have a thorough understanding for my own edification too.
All in all, I recommend picking up your favorite book and giving it another read through!
What’s your favorite book to reread or your favorite book?
And share this post with someone who loves reading (it helps the blog out)!