Do You Reread Regularly?

I listened to an episode of Books on the Nightstand the other day from back in September (episode 349, to be exact,) and hosts Ann and Michael were talking about rereading books.   They had both reread one of their favorite books for a then upcoming book talk at Booktopia ( the bookish weekend events they used to host.)  Ann had reread Mary Doria Russell’s The Sparrow and Michael had reread Any Human Heart by William Boyd.

It was a very interesting discussion.  Neither of them had been dedicated rereaders at all, mostly because they both work in publishing and have so much reading to do for work, and keep up with new things that their publishing company (Penguin Random House) doesn’t publish as well.  But Ann shared that the experience of rereading one of her all time favorite novels may have pushed her into being someone who makes time to reread.  She said that this time she was not so consumed by the plot, obviously because she knew the story line already.  This allowed her to pick up on things she thinks she missed the first time around, when she was frantically turning pages.  She mentioned that a couple of characters stood out to her more this time around, and she realized how central to the novel they really were.  She didn’t know how realistic is was of her to expect very much rereading in the future, given her line of work, but she said that now she has a new understanding of the benefits and pleasure of rereading books.

Michael enjoyed his reread, but did not come away from the experience with a new vision of himself as a reader.  He said that there were simply too many books coming out all the time that he wanted and needed to get to, and rereading just wasn’t something he saw himself doing.

Last week I posted about rereading Middlemarch, and how much I am enjoying the experience.  In reality I might reread one book a year, but I always want to reread things more than I actually do.  One blogging friend mentioned that she’d never reread a book before, but that it sounded like fun.  I suggested maybe trying a childhood favorite first, and see how that goes.

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Need to reread some Kingsolver.

So all of this got me wondering, how many of you guys make time to reread?  Is it one book a year?  Two?  Do you read a particular book in a particular season every year?  Or are you more like Michael, and simply have too many new books that you’d rather make time for?  I’d love to hear what you think.

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29 thoughts on “Do You Reread Regularly?

  1. No, I almost never reread. :/

    My book buying addiction forces me to read all my new books because I feel guilty for leaving so many of them unread. So I unfortunately don’t have time to reread Moar books. Not even Harry Potter!

    The only books I have read twice are: Pride and Prejudice, Hamlet, The Book Thief, The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe, and the Hunger Games trilogy. Lol Perhaps a few other I forget. But it’s been years!

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    1. I totally admire your commitment to reading the books that you buy. I’m bad about buying books and letting them languish for ages on my shelf (those library books somehow seem to take precedence.)

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    1. Yes, Juhi! I’ve been dying to reread Anne of Green Gables. Do you know that I only first read that a couple of years ago? Somehow I escaped childhood without reading it. And I’ve not yet read the others in the series. But I want to!

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  2. I’m generally not a re-reader, but this post is very timely, since I did just re-read one of my favourites that I’ve been meaning to re-read for a long while; The Nymph and the Lamp by Thomas Raddall. I was worried that I wouldn’t like it as much, but if anything I loved it even more. It’s been long enough that I didn’t remember all the details, and there were new things to appreciate, including just enjoying the writing. I would like to re-read more often, but realistically I probably will still mostly stick to new books, because there are just so many of them.
    Last year, I participated in an 8-month-long readalong of the Anne books. We read one book a month from January to August, and it was so much fun. For me, it was my third time reading those ones, but it had still been years since my second read through.

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    1. Naomi, I totally understand about having to be realistic about all the new books coming along. Goodness, the Anne book readalong sounds so fun! I’ve only read the first (gasp!) so that would have been great.

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  3. Yes, so interesting.I have a collection of books that I go back to like comfort food, sometimes only reading my favorite parts. Also, as I’m thinking about it, there have been books that I’ve so loved when I read them the first time that I reread them multiple times immediately (Eleanor & Park, The Raven Boys series, All the Birds in the Sky most recently). I reread some old books with friends a few years ago (Anne of Green Gables is the only one I remember). It was fascinating.

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    1. I’ve never gone back immediately to reread a book, but I was THIS CLOSE to doing so with Station Eleven. I did begin the first chapter again and reread it. Love that book. Anne of Green Gables is a popular reread title, it seems!

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  4. I used to re-read constantly until I started getting review copies of books. But I miss it a lot – re-reading is so much more relaxed, and you know in advance you’re going to love the book. This year I’ve made it part of my resolutions to do at least twelve re-reads throughout the year. To be honest, a lot of the new stuff is failry average and as often as not I’m reading it because it’s hyped – not the best reason. And the re-reads I’ve done so far this year have been more enjoyable than most of the rest…

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  5. Ah! So interesting reading everyone’s thoughts on this. When I was younger (up to about HS), I re-read books tens of times. I had this book, “The Three Fat Men” by Yuri Olesha, that I probably read 100 times. But since that phase passed, I haven’t re-read a book! Not a single one. It seems like there is just so much to catch up on, my TBR pile is running me out of my room, and my favorites languish on the shelves after being read just once. Many of my older friends re-read frequently, and perhaps someday I will reach that more meditative, thoughtful stage. For now, it’s definitely open-buffet time and a manic “read-them-all” phase 😉

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  6. Sigh I wish I would reread more. But I also get panicky at missing out on so many amazing books that don’t dare reread that much, probably 5 a year at the most. And that admittedly is often re-rereading cause old Christie mysteries are my comfy reads 🙂 But my mom, who mostly reads whodunnits, always has a reread at hand for reading before bed. I find that fascinating, but who knows maybe I’ll emulate her when I’m older 🙂

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  7. I used to reread a lot, but I’ve gotten out of the habit. Plus, there are so many books I’ve never read at all that I find it hard to make time for rereading. I’d like to do it more because there are so many books I loved and that I know I’d love as much the second time–and it’s fun to refresh my memory on thing I forgot or pick up on details I missed the first time.

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  8. I reread a lot, though still not nearly as much as I’d like. What it means for me to truly love a book is that I intend to add it into my regular rereading rotation (by adding it to my permanent books collection). But I think since I started blogging, the big change has been that I don’t go back to books I liked reasonably well and didn’t love. When I was a kid, I would usually go back to those books and try them again, and now, I don’t do that so much. I’m comfortable with that, I think! If I never feel the push to reread them, it’s probably not true love anyway!

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    1. Interesting, Jenny! You’re the only one so far to mention rereading books you didn’t love. I can see how that would get less appealing as you got older. Too many books!

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  9. Ah, thank you so much for this reminder, Laila. 🙂 I am planning to reread ‘Charlotte’s Web’ or ‘The Little Prince’ or ‘Winnie The Pooh’ this month. Just for the pleasure. Let me see if I can write about it too. I loved this post. 🙂

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  10. I used to reread (comfort reads, like LOTR or Agatha Christie, or Sherlock Holmes) but now I don’t, life is too short and so many books are too enticing! I wish I could have more time to read, so I would devote a little more to rereading and also classics. Now my rereads are when I read books I have enjoyed as a kid with my boys. I tried to interest them into The Little house but it didn’t work out. Then Harry Potter tome 1 & 2.

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    1. I have thought often about rereading childhood favorites with my son. He’ll be turning five in a few months, and we’re starting to read easy readers now. Chapter books won’t be far behind! It will be interesting to see what he likes and doesn’t like.

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  11. I used to re-read books all the time, and not just two or three times. I had some books that I would even just pick up and read from any point, or re-read my favorite parts. I miss re-reading. The book I am reading now, Angle of Repose, will definitely be a book to which I return again.

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    1. You know, I’ve never thought to do that – pick up an old favorite and start reading from any point. I might try it. I really need to reread Angle of Repose at some point. It’s been at least ten years since I’ve read it.

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  12. I reread all the time, both entire books and parts that I’ve thought of and want more firmly in my head. As an English prof, rereading is my job–no one can teach a book she’s only read once. Rereading is where you get more of the nuance.
    Come to think of it, when I review a book, I reread parts of it that I have marked, and sometimes that makes it all come together for me in a new way. That’s another reason for blogging.

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  13. I reread at least one book a year sometimes two or three. A couple years ago I reread a Jane Austen every year until I had reread them all. That was fun. It’s usually classics I reread though there are some more recent books I’d like to reread that I have yet to make time for. I get distracted by the new and shiny 🙂

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