Do you reread books?

02/07/2016 Discussions, Reading 54

Do you reread books?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.

Do you reread books?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?

Do you reread books?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?

54 Responses to “Do you reread books?”

  1. Melissa @ Quill Pen Writer

    I don’t reread often because of the mountain of a TBR I have, but when I do, I tend to lose the excitement I had for the book the first time. I guess this is because I remember book plots so well. Rereading does have benefits, though, like being able to study the writing more and identify foreshadowing. Lovely post, as usual. 🙂

    • Laura

      I get what you mean – I tend to feel less excitement about a book when I reread it, which is why I so rarely do it. I always forget the plots anyway, but I tend to be reminded of things as I go along which just seems to ruin it for me.
      It is interesting to see the little things you’ve missed though when you reread! I’m glad you liked the post 🙂

  2. Lory @ Emerald City Book Review

    I wish I could read twice as much so I could reread more! The pull of new books is strong, but I do love rereading. I always see new things, and the best books only get better on a reread. I tend to only buy or keep books I think I’m going to reread, but only manage a small percentage of them … your question “what is the point of owning all these books” occurs to me often. I can only hope I am going to get around to them someday.

    • Laura

      I really hope we both get round to more rereading someday! It does seem a waste to have so many books when I so rarely reread, but I always intend to, and then just never end up doing it.

  3. Caroline

    I don’t re-read too often, although it was suggested to me that I should re-read every now and then, with my writers hat on during the second pass. The idea is to be more aware of how the author made you feel all the feels – but it’s hard to pinpoint this when it’s you’re first time reading the book.

    I’ve yet to put this into practice though. 🙂

    • Laura

      I imagine it would be quite useful as a writer to read a book twice – first as a reader and then secondly as a writer, to observe how the author did what they did. I haven’t tried this yet though either, but it seems like a really good idea! 🙂

  4. Inge

    I love re-reading! My memory is horrible, so I can come back to books I’ve read a few years ago and re-read them as if for the first time, which is quite fun. Also frustrating if you’re trying to read a sequel, and of course this never works for Harry Potter… but I love returning to old favourites and experiencing the magic again. Sometimes you do end up not liking them as much, sometimes you find more charm in stories.

    • Laura

      My memory is terrible too, so I can start a book I’ve read ages ago with no recollection of what happened in it, but unfortunately things start to trigger my memory, and then I end up remembering the plot. I’m pretty interested to maybe give rereading a go though, seen as I used to do it all the time as a child and I’d like to see if I like some of my favourite books as much or possibly even better after another read 🙂

  5. Steff

    I often reread favourite books, it’s very enjoyable and I often take away something different as I’m focused less on the outcome, I can savour little details and humorous elements a bit more I find. 🙂

  6. Aj @ Read All The Things!

    I was exactly like you when I was a kid. I reread the same books over and over. I still reread my favorites occasionally, but I don’t reread anywhere near as much as I used to. I like to reread because I always notice things I missed the first time.

    • Laura

      One of the reasons I’d quite like to reread some books is to see all the things I missed the first time. Unfortunately all the new books end up calling to me, and I just never seem to end up rereading these days 🙁

  7. Aralyn @ Paper Addictions & Magic

    I am also trying to get myself to reread books more. It’s not that I’m seriously averse to it, but I just love going on brand new adventures, meet brand new characters and watch them grow. I even kind of have a small to-be-RE-read list for some books I own.
    Which I feel the same sometimes about buying/owning books… I always hesitate, like ‘will I want to reread this?’ ‘will I like it enough?’ But once I read a book, I have less of an incentive to buy it. It’s an awful cycle!
    So I don’t re-read often, but I do think it can be worth it, even if just to see how your tastes have grown. I think I’ve read The Darkest Powers trilogy 3 times now, not because it’s some literary gold mine, but because I personally love the characters (Derek <3) and the plot. And I enjoy it every time. I'm due for another round! I want to reread TMI series.
    I just need to get myself to do it!

      • Laura

        I wish I could do that too! I do tend to forget plot points, but I always seem to remember them as I read on, and it just ruins the book for me!

    • Laura

      I really need to start a little to-be-reread list! There are so many books I want to return to, but there are so many books that I haven’t read yet that I never seem to get around to rereading.
      I definitely think it can be worth rereading books too though, even if it’s just to catch a few little things you missed the first time. I’m going to really try and start rereading, even if it’s just a few of my absolute favourites first. I hope we can both manage it! 🙂

  8. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    I’m a lot like you, I used to reread all the time. It was what got me through my younger years, revisiting old favourites over and over again. I miss the amount of rereading I used to do but I do really love going back to old favourites even now. I don’t want to stop rereading and it will never feel like a wasted effort. It’s like revisiting an old friend and sometimes it’s nice to have a story which can’t surprise you. It’s relaxing and soothing in some way.

    • Laura

      I really like that idea of revisiting an old favourite and it being like an old friend! I can definitely see how that could be quite soothing. I really do need to make an effort to reread more! 🙂

  9. Karolina

    I’m a big bookworm and I reread the Harry Potter series at least 15-16 times. It does help me that I read the all in three different languages. One of my favorite series is “Penryn and the end of days” and I love to reread those books. The key to rereading is taking the time in between to read other books, that way you wont’t get bored.

    • Laura

      That seems like really good advice, to reread in between other books! 🙂
      Harry Potter is one series I think that I could just return to again and again. I have never read Penryn and the End of Days though, so maybe that will be another series for my TBR list!

  10. Greg

    I was the same way to a large extent, I read new books but as a kid I did do a lot of re- reading, old favorites. And likewise now w/ blogging and so many new books I rarely re- read. And I have found that upon re- reading sometimes a book doesn’t hold up, and that can be disconcerting. What happened to all the good feels or reactions? Am I really that different a reader after just a few years? So I definitely know what you mean. 🙂

    • Laura

      One of the main things I worry about with rereading is being disappointed by books I’ve previously loved, and I think that does hold me back a lot. I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels that way! 🙂

  11. Simone

    When I was younger I used to reread books all the time, mostly because I was a neeedy bookworm and there wasn’t enough books in my language. That led to me rereading each part of Harry Potter five times at least. As I grew older and I started reading in English, my list of books grew with me and suddenly I had no time for rereading. So now, I reread books scarcely. Mostly because I’m picky with books and because I have a looooong TBR. But I’m actually rereading Throne of Glass series now and I want to devote time to Harry Potter this summer because this will be my first time reading it in english, which is super exiciting. Once in a while, I will reread book, especially when I love it sooo much and I haven’t read it in a while and I feel kinda nostalgic. But it’s not very often because of my TBR. And I’m glad I’m not the only one because sometimes I can feel guilty for not reading my beauties more than once. 🙂

    • Laura

      That must have been so annoying not being able to find many books in your language!
      My TBR list is one of the main things that holds me back from rereading too, but I’m hoping to get round to some soon. I know when I’ve reread Harry Potter in the past it has given me that nice nostalgic feeling, so I should really do it again!
      I hope you enjoy your reread of Throne of Glass (I really need to reread that series too!) and your first time reading Harry Potter in English! 🙂

  12. Kaja

    I reread quite often. I recently reread A Darker Shade of Magic before I read A Gathering of Shadows, I’m rereading all of Scott Lynch’s books before his 4th comes out in September, and I do a reread of some of my favourites (like Pride and Prejudice and HP) every other year or so.

    I often reread by listening to audiobooks! I find this a good way to still focus on new/exciting books and yet get to the old favourites when I crave them. 🙂

    • Laura

      I still need to read A Darker Shade of Magic for the first time, because I’ve had the book for literally ages! Harry Potter is definitely the series I’ve reread the most though, and I’ve reread Pride and Prejudice a few times over the years, as that’s a favourite of mine too.
      I love the idea of revisiting old books through a different format like audiobooks though! I’ll have to try that, so thanks for the tip 🙂

  13. Cait @ Paper Fury

    I totally get this!! And I have the same flapping around with “should I or should I not” re-read half the time.? BUT! I have actually re-read a TON of books this year (okay, lie, um 5…) but that’s way more than I usually re-read. I have a ginormous TBR and I want to read all the books of ever, so I feel bad if I just re-read, almost?? And sometimesI get bored anyway, if I already know the story. Although my memory is usually THAT BAD that re-reading tends to be a new read for me anyway.? #fail AHEM. So yes! I do like to re-read but I don’t do it often. I basically only re-read Maggie Stiefvater. <333 BECAUSE OBSESSED.

    (OH and I'm also worried that if I re-read I won't like the book as much the second time!! My tastes/standards change so much over the years.)

    • Laura

      I’d definitely class 5 rereads as a ton, but that’s probably just because I haven’t reread a single book in years! 🙂
      I get what you mean about feeling bad rereading books when you have a ginormous TBR, and I definitely get bored more with books where I already know the plot. In general I would say I have a pretty bad memory too, but with books my memory always seems to be jogged as I’m reading, so I end up remembering what’s going to happen right before it does, which is pretty annoying!
      And I’m glad it’s not just me who worries about not liking a book as much the second time round! 🙂

  14. Silvara

    I don’t reread nearly as much as I used to before I started blogging. There are some books that I reread so much I had to replace them multiple times because they kept falling apart on me!

    I do still reread, just not as often. Most of the time what I’ve been doing lately is rereading a certain PART of a book instead of the entire book. Like, I’ll suddenly want to read a particular scene again, so I’ll pick up the book and flip through til I find it. Then I may want to read a little farther, or jump to another favorite bit. So I do that. Then I go back to reading books on my TBR.

    That doesn’t always work of course. Sometimes reading that little bit makes me decided to read the entire book again from page one. *laughs* But at least this way I can still read some old favorite bits, and not feel like I’m horribly neglecting books I haven’t read yet.

    • Laura

      Blogging especially has meant I don’t reread much either. I like the idea of just revisiting favourite scenes though! It probably would lead to me rereading the entire book though, but seen as I want to start rereading again, I don’t think that would be a bad thing!

  15. Courtney Fitzmaurice

    I used to re-read books a lot when I was younger. I’ve actually read the first Twilight book 17 times! I don’t really re-read books anymore though because there are so many new books that I want to read and I feel that I don’t have the time. I really enjoyed this post ☺

    • Laura

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post! I read the Twilight series quite a few times myself back when I was in high school! 🙂

  16. Jess @ POB!

    There are a few books I’m willing to reread but ever since blogging, I’ve reread less and less. I think this is due to the fact that I’m expose to more books and reading material in addition to the influx of review copies. I recently actually did a reread review on Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover and one thing I noticed was that I just wanted to skip to the good parts. However, with other rereads, I would be excited to read ALL of it. Despite how LITTLE I reread, I always recommend doing it when you’re in a reading slump!

    • Laura

      I’ve been exactly the same since I started blogging – there’s so many new books I hear about that I don’t really make time to reread. I feel like I would probably just want to skip to the good bits too!
      It probably would be a good way to get out of a reading slump though, so that’s a great tip! 🙂

  17. Rachel

    I was exactly the same with rereading when I was a kid, mostly Roald Dahl, J K Rowling and Jacqueline Wilson too. They were the bibles of my childhood, where I learned morals, and I could quote actual chunks of the books. I think a lot of us reread so much as kids for a couple of reasons – it’s nostalgic, comfortable and safe to read a story you already know, and as a kid we have little access to our own money, or ability to go to the store on our own, to stock up on our addiction. Also, the Internet wasn’t really a “thing” when I was a young kid, the way it is now with online shopping (I’m actually only 26, but the Internet still wasn’t a thing when I was growing up!), so I wasn’t getting books from there either.

    As I got older I would still reread from time-to-time, it’s only really been since blogging that rereading has taken a back seat. There are just too many amazing reads out there, and I get grabby hands when I think about them. I can comfortably fund my personal library now (I’m a bargain hunter), and the thrill of that next amazing read keeps me picking up new tomes. I miss rereading though. I definitely complain regularly that it’s something I want to do more (even with “the fear” of me having changed so much since the last time I read a certain book, that it will no longer be a favourite).

    I also wonder if publishing has gone insane. Obviously, I was oblivious to all of this in my childhood, but it feels like there are more books being published than ever. What was the weekly publishing rate in 1996, and 2006, compared to today? Then you add on the minefield that is self-publishing, and we are being inundated with new novels, and sometimes just a whole lot of noise.

    I keep telling myself that I’m building my personal collection, and that there’s plenty of time for rereading in retirement lol For now, I have to choose between spending my precious reading time rereading, or getting through one of the 300 or so odd books in my dining room, the new books win. Most of the time.

    • Laura

      From the comments here it does seem like people reread more in their childhoods, and you make some really good points about that! As a child you can’t just go out and buy all the books you want, and it is a comforting feeling when you reread your favourites.
      As I left my teenage years I definitely stopped rereading as much, and as with you I have pretty much stopped completely since starting blogging. There are just so many books that I want to read that I have discovered through blogging that I just don’t feel like I want to reread much.
      I definitely know what you mean about the publishing thing though. There are just so many books coming out all the time, and it just makes it impossible to get through my TBR list because I jut keep adding more!
      Good luck getting through all those books! Sounds like you have your own library practically! 🙂

  18. Jackie

    The only books I seem to re-read are the Harry Potter books. Aaaand, I just started a re-read this weekend. Finished up the Sorcerer’s Stone and now I’m starting the Chamber of Secrets. I usually re-read one or two HP books each year. I can’t resist!

    • Laura

      I haven’t actually reread the Harry Potter books in a few years, so I should maybe start with them if I want to do a bit of rereading. They always give me that nostalgic feeling!
      Enjoy your reread 🙂

  19. Ria

    I used to re-read all books when I was a kid and didn’t have many books to choose from. But, now as an adult who has a never-ending TBR, I find it hard to re-read my favourite books. Nevertheless, I managed to re-read two books this year, it was fun as I had really forgotten the stories and it also helped me to change the previous opinion about the book. I reckon, a gap of two or three years is good if you are considering to read the books again 😉

    • Laura

      I’m glad you enjoyed your rereading! I may have to try that where I reread books after a couple of years. I imagine you do feel a little differently about it after that amount of time 🙂

  20. Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight

    I actually never used to reread and have done it more since I started reading more and started blogging. I love it though! I don’t do it a ton, but I’ve never found it weird going back to the characters at the start of a series or anything like that. I love getting to see all the foreshadowing and to notice all the little hints or behaviors or things I didn’t notice the first time around since I didn’t even know they were there, you know? And it’s fun to go back and see how the characters were because, at least for me, you have a tendency to remember them as the way they were when the series ended.

    I’ve also been wanting to reread some books for that reason you mentioned though—I loved them when I first read them, but that was when I wasn’t reading as much. So what if they’re actually not that good? Or that funny? Or that whatever? I don’t want to recommend them to people if my memory of them might be wrong!

    • Laura

      Yeah, one of the reasons I would be kind of interested to reread some books I’ve already read is to try and pick up on some little things or instances of foreshadowing I missed. It is probably a totally different experience reading a book when you know where it’s heading!
      I’m the same though in that I don’t want to be recommending books that aren’t quite as I remember them. It makes me want to go back and check them! 🙂

  21. Lucy Furneaux

    I love this post! When I was about 10-14 I went through a phase where I re-read the whole Harry Potter series every single summer. It became a habit which meant that for me it felt like summertime and the first summer I went without reading them was very strange! I’ve got a few books like that which are essentially ‘comfort blankets’ or old friends – books I go back to when I’m going through a difficult time because they’ve helped me in the past. But like you I also have a huge list of “to read” books which makes the idea of re-reading seem backwards!

    If I’m not feeling very inspired to read I always find it’s a good idea to go revisit an old favourite and find the magic there, as that tends to inspire me to then pick up something new. But I definitely think a book can be an absolute favourite if it’s only been read once – it can still have a lasting impact and stay with you for a long time after finishing. I have some books which are huge favourites that I actively don’t want to re-read, in case they don’t hold the same magic or give me the same experience as they did the first time. But if a book has a big twist at the end (like the one I’ve just finished reading) I like to go back and re-read at least parts of it to see if I can spot the clues!

    Thanks for this post – it’s definitely got me thinking!

    Lx |

    • Laura

      I definitely have those ‘comfort blanket’ reads too, and Harry Potter is one of them! It just takes me back to childhood! My boyfriend just bought me the illustrated edition of the Philosopher’s Stone, so I think I’m going to have that as my first reread in ages 🙂
      I’m glad you think a book can be a favourite when it’s only been read once! In the last couple of years whilst I’ve been blogging I’ve read books that I now consider to be my favourites (like the Throne of Glass series), but I wasn’t sure if I could really say that considering I’d just read them once, so it’s nice to get someone else’s view!
      I’m glad you liked the post! 🙂

  22. Zoey @ Uncreatively Zoey

    I’m not, like, a hardcore rereader. I reread Anna and the French Kiss a lot, definitely, and I want to reread Sarah Ockler’s The Summer of Chasing Mermaids soon. I think most of the rereading I do is when sequels come out and I have to reread the first book to even understand what’s going on because I CAN NEVER REMEMBER. (And obviously I’ve reread HP A LOT, considering the way my copies are falling apart.)

    • Laura

      I always just dive straight into sequels without rereading the book before, and I do forget pretty much everything! I really should start rereading before I read sequels! (Most of my copies of HP are pretty battered too from years worth of rereading when I was younger. That’s one series I definitely need to reread soon!)

  23. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    I never re-read – there are just way too many books in the world, and I’m already stressed that I can’t read them all. To read one twice? Nope, can’t do it.

    BUT I’ve recently considered listening to an audiobook as a re-read. I haven’t done it yet, but I might…

    • Laura

      That’s the main reason why I don’t seem to have reread anything in ages. There’s too many other books I want to read!
      I hope you get round to your audiobook reread! 🙂

  24. Michelle @ The Writing Hufflepuff

    Haha as a kid I basically only reread favourites as well, especially Harry Potter. I did read a few new ones, but mostly rereads. I still reread a few books now (like Harry Potter), but not much. Sometimes I just get the urge to revisit the world and the characters, or one time I read such a bad book that I decided to reread something I knew I loved. But rereading is definitely not a priority – there are way too many books waiting for me to be read!

    • Laura

      That’s the problem, there’s just so many books out there to be read that it’s hard to make the time for rereading! Hopefully I’ll get back to Harry Potter soon, because I am definitely due a reread of that 🙂

  25. Alice @ Arctic Books

    I definitely understand what you mean! I suppose personally, I only reread favorite books, those close to my heart, such as Harry Potter and Shatter Me. Although I do know what’s going to happen, the setting and the characters are worth it to revisit, in my opinion. On the other hand, I don’t usually reread large or super long series, such as THRONE OF GLASS, to get ready for upcoming releases. I would usually just visit Recaptains to get a refresher. Great discussion; this was so interesting!

    • Laura

      That’s a good idea to just check out recaps before new releases. I always feel like I should reread the whole series but there isn’t really any need unless I particularly want to.
      I’m glad you found the post interesting! 🙂

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