How many times is enough? Why re-read at all? Is re-reading just a comforting pastime? Or is there excitement to be relived?
The main reason I reread books is to relive my favourite stories all over again. Nothing compares to the first time of course, but once I know the plot and all the twists and turns to come, I can sit back and enjoy the story more thoroughly and calmly, because I already know this is a story I love. That sense of familiarity is definitely a very comforting feeling, especially with childhood favourites – there’s nothing quite like escaping into the world of a story I know like the back of my hand.
Re-reading is an opportunity to look at a book through a different lens, to pick up on the more subtle themes, and each re-read is a whole new experience. I also use re-reading as a technique to get out of reading slumps and it always works. Occasionally, I also re-read a series in anticipation of a sequel if the gap between books has been too long.
I don’t think there is a limit on the number of times a book can be re-read. I have a couple of books I reread atleast once a year without fail, and a couple of bigger ones every other year.
What kind of books do you re-read?
When it comes to the usual books on my TBR, I don’t have any specific criteria as to the types of books I re-read. Whenever I finish reading a book for the first time, I always ask myself if it’s something I liked enough that I would re-read it. Classics, however, are always on my re-read list. The nature of the genre itself is such that there is something new to appreciate each time.
Do you ever re-read books you don’t like in hopes that it will be better the second time? Were there any books you didn’t like as a child but liked as an adult, or vice versa?
Very rarely. For many years now, I’ve made it a point to never force myself to read something I dislike, and re-reading something I didn’t enjoy the first time is almost always going to be a bad idea. The exception to this is for series, when I didn’t like the book for some reason, but feel invested enough in the story that I intend to pick up the sequel. In those cases, I always try to revisit the first book to see if my opinion changes, and an excellent example of a recent one is We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal. The first time around, I felt like there was too much going on, the pacing too slow and overall very difficult to grasp. However, when I re-read it, it was so much easier to follow and I was able to really appreciate the plot – and the sequel, We Free the Stars, ended up being one of my favourite books that year.
I don’t think there are any books that I disliked as a child that I like as an adult but there are certainly many books I liked then that I like much better now! The opposite is very true however. I find very few children’s or even middle-grade novels outside the classics to my taste these days when I know I would have loved them as a kid.
Do you re-read books? Why or why not? Share your thoughts in the comments below!