{DISCUSSION} Re-Reading Books

What is the point of re-reading a book?

Who out there re-reads books? Really, I’m curious because I hear people talking about this all the time.

“Look at all these gorgeous new books I can read! …nah! I’m gonna go re-read book X again… for the twelfth time.”

“Oo! Look how worn out this book is! That’s a sign that someone really loved it because they must have read it so many times!”
(This makes me cringe soooo bad! I don’t care how many times you read a book. You should never wear it out! What are people DOING?!)

Being a semi active member of the blog-o-sphere, I run into readers making these comments more often than I can count. Often, it’s made in distress, though. The reader in question is lamenting about how they have all these new books, but have nothing to read and therefore revert to a favorite that they’ve read a dozen times.

On the other hand, there are those who buy used books based on the quality of wear and tear they have because that’s supposedly an indicator of whether or not it’s a good book. The more worn a book appears, the more often a person re-read that book. (Though, it could just mean the previous owner had abhorrent book-caring qualities.)

In fact, re-reading is apparently such a common practice that Goodreads actually set up their system to allow people to log re-reads of books. It’s so important to some readers that you can actually go in and select which dates you read the book each time! (I know this by accident because of a fluke with my Goodreads apps. I don’t actually re-read books, guys. ;p )

A Non-Re-Reader’s POV

Obviously, y’all know by now (as I just stated it above) that I don’t re-read books. I’ve never done it. I honestly can’t even imagine doing it. I mean, what’s the point? You already read the book. You know what happens. You know the good and the bad parts. So, why would you want to read it again?

I suppose one argument could be that it’s like re-watching a movie. You notice something different each time you watch/read it. Or perhaps you just enjoy the story so much that you want to enjoy it again and again. However, a movie only takes a few hours. For someone like myself (the slowest reader on the planet, [though, I’m still trying to trademark that πŸ˜‰ ]), reading even a 300-page book takes me a couple of days. That being said, re-reading a book would be a couple days wasted that I could be using to tackle that enormous TBR plaguing me from the dark shadows it lurks in(aka my not-big-enough bookshelf).

Speaking of TBR, why would you want to read a book you’ve already read when you still have 100, 200, 500+ books you haven’t read yet? That TBR is going to get longer no matter how fast you read, but you can at least attempt to tackle it by not re-reading. Why would you subject yourself to the torture of your TBR never decreasing by allowing yourself to re-read a book you’ve already read? Why do you want to feed the monster looming in every corner of your room?Β What’s the catch?!

Seriously, what’s the incentive? Because I am not seeing what is so amazing about re-reading books. From my point of view, it seems like a waste of time, energy, and imagination. But maybe I just lack the patience or passion for the books I’m reading. What do you think?

Do you re-read books?
Which ones and why?
Let me know in the comments!


And check out my discussion from last week:
Hardcover vs Paperback

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52 thoughts on “{DISCUSSION} Re-Reading Books

  1. Interesting thoughts! Yes, I think you can compare rereading books to rewatching movies even though reading takes a lot longer. You sort of got out my idea in there. My thing is, I have 700+ books on my Goodreads TBR (I don’t have a physical TBR pile because I don’t buy a lot of books, and if I do, I only buy them after I’ve read them). I’m NEVER going to catch up on it. So is it really such a huge deal if I take three days to reread an old favorite? To some people, maybe cutting that TBR from 769 to 768 is a huge deal. But I’m probably going to add three new books to my TBR tomorrow so… again, is it really such an issue if I instead read an old favorite?

    I don’t reread THAT often, but normally I wait at least a year or so. A lot of times I’ve forgotten a lot. Sometimes I’ll reread a book and there are entire parts or scenes I’ve forgotten, so it’s always fun to go back and make new discoveries. Or just enjoy it again the way you enjoy rewatching the same movie or TV or even listening to the same song.

    Plus, I think a lot of people reread books just because they simply don’t remember what happened and they want to continue on with the series. I’ve done that a time or two. Sometimes I just read a summary, but if I really enjoyed it, I might reread it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! I love how much thought you put into this discussion. 😊 And I like your points. My TBR is not actually that bad. Only around 200, I think? But I do buy books and my physical TBR is close to 70. 0.0 So… there is more active pressure for me to read new books, I suppose, and my review schedule is an added pressure (though, I have quite a buffer at the moment.)

      Side note: I don’t re-watch TV shows. It really is a time thing for me because the TV show and book take at least a couple days to re-enjoy. Songs and movies are quick. :/

      And about the continuing a series… well, I can’t say. I can’t remember the last time I was so up-to-date on new books that they weren’t all published before I even started the seriea. 😜 So, I suppose some aspects of re-reading don’t apply to me while others don’t apply to you. (Though, I really should figure out how to take control away from inanimate objects. That guilt, man. sigh)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Awesome post!! I’m somewhere in between, cos I both like rereading on occasion, but very rarely do it anymore- mostly cos too much tbr so little time!! I do think some books are so good they merit a reread, cos they have more to offer each time I read them and they can also be comforting (and a great book hangover cure!) But I do see the other side of the argument and I think especially since I started blogging, I’ve just felt like I have so much to get through that I have no time to do this. Funnily enough though, this post has reminded me how much I love doing this and makes me want to do it again!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hee hee! I’m sorry for making you miss rereading, especially because I understand the pressure of having a blogging schedule. That is one of the reasons I only review books on Sundays. It allows me to create buffer space for reading other -usually longer- books, and it eleviates some of the stress. Though, sometimes I feel bad about that, too (like now when my reviews are scheduled into August…) because it means my readers have to wait a long time. sigh No way to win with blogging. Just gotta be happy with the decisions we make and understand they are the best for us.

      I hope you are able to find some time to re-read! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. hehehe no problem!! Ah yes, blogging schedules can be helpful for getting reading done if you get them right (though I’m not so good at it). hahaha trust me I get that- I have so many reviews to do- I’ll probably be doing the same with books I read recently!! hahaa yes!! Thank you!!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m big into re-reading which is bad since I don’t have a tbr pile, I have a tbr mountain! Still, there certain books I go back and re-read for a variety of reasons. I see you’re not a Harry Potter fan but that’s definitely one of my comfort series. Whenever I’m stressed, depressed or not feeling well I reach for HP. It’s the same with the Lord of the Rings, The Princess Bride, anything by Neil Gaiman, as well as Jane Austen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha! I am a Harry Potter fan. I’ll defend my house to the death, buuuut I just have some issues with the writing and plot choices. :p I’m just hard to please.

      Huh. And I, for some reason, do not lunge for books when I’m not feeling well. Though, a couple others commented on the same thing. I guess, I have a stronger emotional connection with music than I do with books. :p isn’t actually a very good book lover/blogger

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I rarely re read books but if I do it will be for the quality of the penmanship as obvioulsy I already know the ending. Some authors like Amy Harmon have so beautiful writing though or glorious love stories that I don’t mind re reading them sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah. That seems like a good reason to re-read a book. I know there are a few that I’ve just absolutely loved the way the story was told or just the style of writing in general. Though, I feel I’d still be more likely to read another book by that author than re-read the same book. :/ is stubborn :p

      Liked by 1 person

  5. As an avid re-reader I think this is an interesting topic. Most of us re-listen to music, some re-watch shows and movies, but books are different, probably because of the greater time investment. For me re-reading is often more relaxing than reading for the first time.
    The first time I need to focus and pay attention, and even then I often miss things. The second time I already know the main plot, I’m free to focus the subplots, appreciate the little hints and nods that foreshadow things to come, or just relax and enjoy any number of aspects of the story.
    After reading the Ice & Fire series the first time I went back and only read chapters featuring Tyrion, or Arya, just to experience the story exclusively from their perspective.
    I often look for the books that really necessitate re-reading to recognize and appreciate everything that’s going on.
    I think one of the great pleasures is reading a story, loving it, and then gradually forgetting everything about it, until you randomly stumble upon it, and it’s like the first time all over again.
    It’s true that there is more purpose in moving on, reading something new, but sometimes it’s nice to let go, give myself permission to waste a little time.

    I also think trentpmcd said it well. Sometimes, whether it’s revisiting a favorite place, listening to an old song, or re-reading a good story, it takes us back to β€œthat time”…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is quite strange that we re-watch/re-listen to everything else besides books, but I would definitely agree it is a time commitment obstacle that deters people (myself included) from doing so. Such a shame, really. I know there are many things to be noticed during a second or third read-through, as you stated, but finding the time to devote to these books is just… too difficult somedays. :/ (I actually have a hard time re-watching TV shows, too, because a full season could take 13-25 hours. That’s… too much for me. sigh)

      Hahahaha! I love your comment: “give myself permission to waste a little time.” To be honest, I feel that reading in general (or watching tv shows/movies) is a waste of time, which sounds awful! I know! But I mean it in the sense that I could be working on blog stuff or learning a new language or doing something ‘useful’ with my time, you know? These are just hobbies and enjoyment and I already fear I spend too much time on them. So, spending more time re-reading books…. Well, that would probably drown my in guilt. :p

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I used to re-read when I was very young – the Enid Blyton’s books ect. Not now. I cannot read a story book again. For that matter now I am not into story books πŸ˜› More into other subjects that I am now interested and studying. May be partly my age ?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes It is sort of a change of interest with my age I guess. I used to read fiction until recently but hardly anymore. As I started making a very conscious effort to heal, I went on searching on all aspects of how one can heal and naturally into health and other topics in relation to that. But wen I used to read fiction I did not usually re-read any book as once read you know the ending and then there was not much interest to read again πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Yes. The process of healing is a very big undertaking. It was like training to climb Mt Everest. Mood disorder is in control but I am completely well after 15 years of depression, which is quite rare I have been told. I am very keen to dig into information on mental health. It’s one big topic and I enjoy knowing and learning more about it πŸ™‚

            Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m a super nostalgic person, and consequently, an avid re-reader and re-watcher. Holy smokes, the number of times I have watched Parks and Recreation. When it comes to TV, I am pretty sure I spend more time re-watching programs than watching new ones. As far as re-reading books, I probably re-read 1-3 per year.

    There is so much media in the world that it is impossible to engage with all of it. Lots of it, if we’re being honest, is only average, and my life will not be changed at all by consuming it. It’s always a gamble to invest your time in something new that may not be worth it; it’s a pretty safe bet that if you invest time in something you loved before, you’ll love it again.

    Obviously, the bulk of my reading is new things, but I love to revisit my favorite books, shows, and movies often. There are especially ones that do an excellent job capturing the feel of a certain time of year or phase of life, and it’s nice to re-read them at a complementary time. And, much like listening to a well-loved song for the thousandth time and only then recognizing a new piece of the melody, there is always something new to notice or appreciate when you re-read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 0.0 I don’t think I’ve ever actually re-watched a TV show either… I mean, one season of a tv show would be about equivalent to the amount of time I would spend re-reading a book and I really think it is a time issue for me. I just… can’t fathom spending so much time on something I’ve already enjoyed because there are so many other things to enjoy. (I suppose I view it as visiting a place I’ve already visited when there are hundreds of other locations to enjoy. New experiences = broadening my mind. πŸ˜€ )

      Huh… I like your notion of sticking to something you like. I had never thought of that as being a reason to re-read, but it definitely makes sense (especially given the number of AWFUL books I’ve read in the past few months. If that’s not a waste of time, I don’t know what is. :p )

      Liked by 1 person

  8. (Disclaimer – I no longer have time to reread books – I barely have time to read them in the first place! If someone who is rich reads this, can you give me a million dollars so I can retire and read books all day ? ;)).

    Why would you listen to a song more than once? i can take any song I’ve listened to in my life and play it back in my head, every note. I’ve sat down at the keyboard I am in the correct key 95% of the time even if I haven’t heard the song since I was a teen or younger. So why listen again?

    Because the act of listening to that song makes me feel a certain way and experience life in a specific way while I’m listening, a way that only that one song can do.

    It’s the same with reading.

    Back in the day I used to go to my bookshelf and think, “How do I feel tonight?” I’d then pick out something to match my mood and read it. There are some books I read dozens of times even though I knew them by heart. I read a lot of books back then, but 90% never made it into that rotation of rereading, just a few dozen special ones. And they were special – best friends and lovers.

    That is the reason – every book has their own flavour and feel. They only way possible to experience that flavor or feel is to read that book.

    Do you have a favorite food at a favorite restaurant? Why would you ever eat it again when that restaurant has so many other dishes and there are so many restaurants in town?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hahaha! You better be giving me half that million dollars, Trent! I need time to read, too. :p (and write, of course!)

      Hmm… Maybe my problem is that books don’t really invoke an emotion in me. :/ I can’t honestly say there are books I want to read when I’m happy, or sad, or angry. Books… don’t equal emotions for me. Music, however, is a completely different medium. Though, I grew up with music. Music is a part of my soul, a part of my mind and my very being. Books… They aren’t. I guess… I haven’t really found many books that I’ve really connected with or just absolutely loved! (Only recently have I found a few of these, but only in the past year. Not nearly enough time has passed for me to want to re-read them. :/ )

      Actually… Hahaha! Your last argument is a tad null and void. πŸ˜‰ When I go to restaurants, I often try new foods. (not all the time), but I like to see what the restaurant has to offer, what they specialize in, especially if there is something new. As I stated in another comment, I see it as experiencing new things to broaden my mind and keep it open. I want to experience and understand as much of the world and all it has to offer as I can. Does that make sense?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If someone reads my comment and gives me a million dollars, I’ll split it with you.

        I do understand wanting to experience new things. I go back and forth from exploring new ground in all of my endeavors to staying in my comfort zone (and sometimes getting stuck in a groove).

        One thing I thought of later: when I was in college and a fresh grad, I had very little spending money, yet I read a lot. Yes, there are libraries, but I didn’t spend much time in them. So with limited funds and an unlimited reading apatite….

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Ah! You described my current life perfectly: recent grad, little money, not big on libraries, but I have found that I can buy used books for 1/2-1/4 the price of regular books. It has allowed me to stock up some and now with a job, I have less reading time. So, I don’t burn through them quite as quickly. (Though, my new job has forced me to get into audiobooks since I’m allowed to listen to them at work.)

          Liked by 1 person

  9. I can’t imagine life WITHOUT re-reading certain books. It’s like visiting a good friend; comfortable, warm, familiar and there’s sometimes scones with jam and cream. As you suggested, like with movies, when I go back and reread I pick up certain things I missed the first time around. In fact, it’s on the second (third or fourth) reading that I usually get what the author was trying to say; the underlying messages. Also, if I have a major crush on one of the characters, it’s nice to go back and revisit him πŸ™‚

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Hahaha! A crush. :p To be fair, I don’t usually get crushes on characters. They always seem to have some flaw that bothers me too much to ever be attracted to them, but I can understand how that would be a reason to go back and re-read.

      I guess, I’m not sure if it’s worth the time to find the details. :/ I mean, I get this feeling like I would feel so guilty about the time being used to re-read that I’d just end up blazing through the book and not actually catch any of the details, you know??

      P.s. Where are these scones and why have you not shared any of them? Are they only for re-readers? πŸ˜₯

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Give me a broody bad boy (usually with a penchant for killing) and I’m in love. He can be flawed up the wazoo but I’ll love him 😏
        Yes, scones are for re-readers only. You want a scone, you earn it missy!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m with you. I don’t consider myself a fast reader so I don’t want to waste time rereading when I can read something new. The only time that I would consider rereading is if I didn’t have anything new but…..I always do lol

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  11. Rereading books is so hard! Like you said, when there are hundreds of books sitting on your TBR that you’ve yet to get to, it’s hard to step back and read something you’ve already experienced. I’ve recently started rereading favourites and it’s been a great experience! Going back into a story knowing what’s going to happen allows you to focus on the details you may have forgotten or missed because you didn’t have the whole picture. Not to mention it’s like visiting an old friend. But it’s still hard to reread lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. πŸ™‚ I’ve heard the same reasoning from a lot of re-readers: the details. It’s all about the details and that’s true (not that I re-read), but the details are often what we look for in songs when we re-listen and shows/movies when we re-watch. We know the main points, but there are all the subtleties that we miss because we’re focused so much on the main plot. I wish I could re-read, but… I don’t think I’ll ever be able to persuade myself to use that time for something I’ve already experienced.

      Now, if I read faster…. :p

      Liked by 1 person

          1. Sorry! Spencer Ried from the show Criminal Minds. He has a photographic memory and can read an entire page just by looking at it and it’s immediately committed to memory πŸ™‚ i would read 10 books a day if I was like that!! Lol

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