23 comments on “To Re-read or Not to Re-read?

  1. Great post! I will occasionally re-read a book, but not very often. If I do, it is usually because I think I somehow missed something in my original reading of it due to being too young, inexperienced, immature, or some other reason. I feel that, after I got older and achieved a higher level of maturity and experience, I might be able to appreciate some subtle shadings or nuances of the book I might have missed the first time. That being said, I still very seldom re-read a book, mostly due to time constraints.

    • I do exactly the same. The vast majority of my few re-reads are classics I read as a young teen that I have by now more or less forgotten, as I was too young to fully absorb or appreciate them at the time.

      Thanks so much for your input!

  2. I do re read books I thoroughly enjoy, though while re reading, I may not read all of the parts. I may skip parts that do not really interest.

    • That’s an interesting approach; revisiting only your favourite parts. That’s certainly a good way to return to a story without feeling as though it’s taking away too much time from new books.

      Thank you very much for your input! 😊

  3. Consider yourself reassured. I am the exact same way, to a T. The only books I ever reread are Harry Potter, and a few classics because I feel like classics are always going to hold up over time and there’s always more to discover from them, or maybe I didn’t get much out of them the first time when I read them for school. Everything else, not so much, and it’s for the exact same reasons you described, half guilt over neglecting my shelf of unread books, half fear. I’m always so afraid that I’m going to reread a favorite and go ‘what was I thinking?’ so I almost prefer to keep that sentimental attachment rather than examine whether that sentiment is justified.

    • *Phew* Glad to know it’s not just me!

      I feel the same way about classics. Most of my rare re-reads are classics I read as a teen that I feel went mostly over my head at the time, and so I still stand to gain a lot from going back to them with a new perspective.

      I suppose my biggest fear is that if a book I’ve called a favourite for years didn’t stand up to a re-read, I’d then hesitate to call it a favourite any more. The nostalgia factor would surely help preserve it somewhat, but I worry in particular about the quality of the writing and the presence of tropes being disappointing, as they are elements I’ve become far more aware of and critical about in recent years. I suppose it’s probably better to leave some things untouched and allow them to go on feeling special.

      • I know, I feel like we are very outnumbered in this in the book community!

        Same here, like I had to read the Iliad for school years ago and didn’t get much out of it, but then I started getting more interested in the story so I read it again and loved it. And there’s just So Much in that book that I’ll probably read it again in order to get everything out of it. And there are a couple of random exceptions for books I’ll reread, like my book club chose Station Eleven a year after I read it, so I read it again for a refresher since it isn’t very long and I enjoyed it. But even stuff like that happens very rarely.

        That’s exactly it, I worry that some of my old favorites will either have elements I now find #problematic (I hate that word but you know what I mean), or I’ll just be underwhelmed by the story and quality of prose. I think there’s a lot to be said for letting sentimental value remain.

  4. I find myself rereading a lot. It’s like visiting an old friend, you know? But I get the guilt factor. I get that too when I reread because I have SO MUCH to read.

  5. Thank you! Finally someone said it , for a long time I thought I was the only one . I have never ever reread a story , because as you said , a huge part of the enjoyment is that mood in the moment you picked the book , and I guess it also has to do with who you were as a person at that point of your life , I could never risk tarnishing such beautiful memories . it’s like listening to a song you used to love as a kid and thinking “wtf how did I even listen to this” , I don’t come across many books that I REALLY REALLY LOVE , so when I do I won’t risk ruining those memories , that idea scares me

  6. This is so interesting. I never realized people didn’t reread. I totally understand the reasons for not. I’m a huge rereader, for me it’s part of the fun of reading. Going back and seeing things that I might have missed the first time, or just not understood as well. I have books I read once every year.

    • Sometimes I wish I did it more often, as I love the idea of it, there are just so many new books to get to that I always put it off! 😋

      Like you said, it can be really interesting going back to see what you missed first time round, but generally it will have been years before I properly consider revisiting a story.

  7. This is such a great post, I love hearing different perspectives on rereading. And now that I really think about it, I realize that when I do reread books they’re generally series – I rarely reread standalones. I love rereading a first book in a series with the knowledge of the entire story. I can get so easily get sucked back into the characters and plot of a series, but even my most beloved standalones I don’t really have much interest in rereading, unless perhaps I read it a super long time ago and literally don’t even remember what the book was about, except for the fact that I know I really enjoyed it. A reread that actually feels like a first time read all over again can be fun. But for the most part, I think I relate to your first point the best- how can I reread when there are so many books I haven’t read??

    • I can relate; most of my re-reads are of books I read so long ago that I remember very little beyond the basic premise, meaning it feels as much like a first reads as anything else.

      Thanks for your input! 🙂

  8. There are some books that I like to revisit occasionally but the list is short. Books like the Harry Potter series and Alice In Wonderland (and some of the other classics) are worth reading more than once. I would rather move on to books I haven’t read for the most part.

    • I’m exactly the same, and in fact, the examples you gave are pretty much the only books I currently ever bother to re-read as well.

      There are definitely a few beloved reads from the last few years I’d like to go back to at some point, but for the most part I’m pretty sure I’ll only ever be a sporadic and very occasional re-reader at best.

  9. Pingback: Ultimate Harry Potter Tag – pace, amore, libri

  10. Great discussion post! Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us!
    Likewise, I love the idea of revisiting characters from my favorite novels and series such as Wonderland and Harry Potter’s Hogwarts but there is SO much else out there. So many fictional universes that I have yet to traverse and, with an ever increasing TBR pile I doubt I ever will become one to sit down and reread a novel page-by-page all over again.
    I would definitely like to reread The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, being my favorite new read of the year, but 800 pages is A LOT to reread!
    I look forward to reading more from you soon!
    Happy Reading 🙂

    • Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed the post and appreciate your input.

      It’s reassuring to know I’m not the only one who favours new books over the sentimentality of past reads. I’d like to try and revisit a few books over the next year or so, but doubt I’ll ever be an avid re-reader.

  11. You’re so right! I do re-read books only if the time feels right to re-read them again. Also, I find reading mystery/suspense books the hardest to re-read because it’s hard to have the same curious interest for them when you already know how the cases get solved or who the culprit is.

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