Today I wanted to talk about re-reading books and whilst I thought about this topic I thought that the quote below was kind of the root of my points.
“So many books, so little time.”
― Frank Zappa
There are thousands of books in the world and although not all of them might seem like something we would enjoy, there still is a large number that we might think could be for us.
Choosing what to read at a certain time is up to so many factors: mood, age, growth, way of thinking and many other things. I think we can all agree that what we read, at least partly, changes over time because we change.
In our journey as readers we encounter (at least a few and if we are lucky many) books that we love.
Now I’m going to make this a bit more personal, and you may or may not agree with me.
Why, if I love a book so much, I find it so hard to re-read it?
The first excuse I give myself is: ‘there are so many books out there, there might even be a new favourite (because that’s a possibility, right?), so why should I invest my time into a story that I already have read? why not dedicate that time to a new story, new characters?’
I feel like that is my mindset 98% of the time, and I feel is rooted in what the quote says: there are so many books and there is so little time, because we only have one life and we also enjoy doing other things besides reading
unless you believe in reincarnation in which case would be interesting to discuss if we carry our knowledge into our other life?
The second excuse, I think is one I don’t like to think about that often is: ‘what if I don’t like it anymore?’
Which is not productive and even unreal. As I have said before, or at least for me, I have realized that my taste changes because I change and there is nothing wrong with that
and I have to repeat that a lot to myself tbh. There is no “reading police”. No one really cares, other than myself (of course), if I reread a book and don’t have the same feelings or experience. It would be a reflection of how I have grown, and I think that is…good ? But there would also be this feeling of disappointment, knowing that said story doesn’t hold the same meaning, the same feeling as it once did.
There is also this “feeling” that reads as ‘it won’t be as good as the first time, I already know the characters, the plot and how it ends, so there is no point in rereading it’
Books are a safe place, a place of comfort, for me at least and I think that is true for many of us. We really get attached to stories and characters. Revisiting them could be as revisiting a close friend or a family member we really love.
It could also lead to a deeper knowledge of the story, the characters, the setting. We could also have in mind the author, the place, time and the conditions in which it was written; things maybe we didn’t know in our first read. With that new information our reread could be so much richer.
We could also have all this knowledge we have acquired from life or from studying that gives us new insights and perspectives on things the book mentions or things we overlooked on our first round with it.
I think it is also about the pleasure of coming back to it. Period.
I have now presented you my thoughts on rereading. I think in these past six years that I have considered myself “a reader” (aka I have constantly been reading and dedicating time to books) I have hardly reread books. I’m not sure if I even got close to 20 of them (rereads) but I’m sure there are more than 20 that I love.
I know I haven’t dedicated time to reread my favourites and I find that is quite a shame. My main obstacle is definitely my mindset which I need to shift so I can really enjoy and immerse myself in these stories I consider to be amazing.
Hopefully I can start working on that!
“There’s nothing wrong with reading a book you love over and over. When you do, the words get inside you, become a part of you, in a way that words in a book you’ve read only once can’t.”
― Gail Carson Levine,
If you would like to share thoughts or experiences I would love to read them!
Thank you for reading!!