Why we re-read books

9 years ago

I am a re-reader. For a long time it was out of necessity but there's something nice about rereading books. Not everyone is a rereader though and I was recently asked why I reread books when I already know what is going to happen. I pointed out this individual that they buy DVDs of movies they've already seen and watch them multiple times. People buy television shows on DVD and tivo their favourite series episodes and watch those over and over again. Is there really a different. Nope, there isn't. But if you really do need reasons to reread a book I've got some for you.

Sometimes we reread books to introduce them to our children, to give them the opportunity to love the books that were special to us when we were their age.

Imagine getting to read the Narnia Chronicles, Nancy Drew, The famous five, The secret garden and The little house on the prairie for the very first time!
Books to Die For

Sometimes we read a book for comfort. Sometimes when we know what is going to happen it's easier to get lost in the language of a well written book.

Why re-read? The fast answer is I liked them a lot the first time I read them. Other factors might be I had nothing else to read. (Not really true this time, I just wasn't in the mood for any of the books on my TBR pile.) Or I was in need of comfort and these books make me feel good.

Sometimes we don't know why we're reading a book. Sometimes they just call to us and we simply must answer.

Why do we do this? Is it laziness? Is it an effort to experience the joy of reading without any of the responsibility of paying attention to the fine details of a complex plot? I know that at the end of a long day when I’m reading a few chapters before bed, I find myself more inclined to pick up one of my “favorites”, rather than tackling something new.
Petticoats and Pistols

As Karrie McAllister at Mom writers who have something to say points out, not all books are as good the second time around.

So as a writer who needs to read, a reader that wants to read, and a mother who has little time to read, what does one do? For me, I've started diving into my bookshelf, reading old favorites. Some of them aren't so spectacular the second time around, others have stood the test of time.

If we only read a book once isn't all that paper and ink a waste?

Why bother keeping all these books? You've read them so give them away already! Noooooooooooo!! Because books are not just to be read once! And while I know of some people who think it's a great waste of time to reread books, I think it's a waste to NOT reread them!
Life After Work

There are certain books I've reread more times than I can count and I'll continue to reread them. Like Meg Ryan's character in You've Got Mail when I read Pride and Prejudice and sit on the edge of my seat wondering if Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy will ever get together. In this novel and in the many books I reread I sit back and get lost in the language and the magic of a good story.

Contributing Editor Sassymonkey also blogs at Sassymonkey and Sassymonkey Reads.

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