When I was a child, most of the reading I did was actually rereading. I had a cycle of a few favourite books that I read over and over, occasionally mixing it up with a different book from the library, or adding a new favourite to the cycle. Amongst these several favourites were the Harry Potter series, various Jaqueline Wilson books, Watership Down, Black Beauty (not sure what it was with me and animal books!) and a handful of others.
These days, however, I can’t actually remember the last time I reread a book. I have such an extensive list of books I want to read that I never seem to return to the ones I’ve already read, however much I’ve enjoyed them.
And whilst I love getting to constantly discover new books and new stories where I don’t already know what’s going to happen, I sometimes wonder whether I should be rereading. For example, Starter for Ten by David Nicholls is a book I always think about as the funniest book I’ve ever read, yet I haven’t actually read it in at least three years. So what if I’m just remembering it as being funnier than it actually is? The Laura of three years ago had read significantly less books than current Laura, not to mention the fact that current Laura has two years of book blogging and therefore reviewing under her belt and is now more critical of the books she reads (and I’m seriously going to stop with the third person now – it’s getting so confusing!). So what if I’m telling everyone that Starter for Ten is hilarious when it isn’t actually that funny?
Similarly the Throne of Glass books are a series that I now consider to be one of my favourites, yet I’ve only actually read each book once. How can a series be one of my favourite series if I’ve only ever read it once? I had actually thought about rereading the series to refresh my memory before the September release of Empire of Storms, but there are so many other new books I plan to read soon that I don’t know whether or not I’ll actually get round to it.
Plus the thought of rereading books just doesn’t excite me anymore. Whilst as a child I loved revisiting my favourite characters as they retraced those familiar steps over and over, these days the thought of knowing what’s going to happen makes it feel like a waste of precious reading time. Not to mention the fact that having watched characters grow and develop throughout a book or series I would probably find it kind of weird to go back to the start and have to see them in their original state again (like some kind of weird reversal of a growing plant turning back into a seed!).
But then I wonder what the point of having so many books is if I’m never going to reread any of them. Not to mention the fact that there are some books that I just can’t imagine never ever reading again, like the Harry Potter books or The Lord of the Rings.
I’m really torn about the idea of rereading, so I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you reread books often? Is it worth doing in your opinion? And do you enjoy books as much the second (or third, or fourth or fifth…you get the idea!) time round?