Why Reread?

I have an update planned for tomorrow on more video gaming, but I wanted to do a quick update tonight any ways.  I’ll still post the other one tomorrow, but I figured if the mood hits (and I am waiting for the WoW patch to download and need something to do other than the dishes) I may as well take advantage of it.  Plus, I covered a post about baking and gaming, so it’s time for books to make an appearance.

The question was posed to me on why do I re-read books.  Mostly this comes from people who have trouble getting through one book (and is often followed by the question of why do you read books?) and they cannot fathom why one would read a book and then choose to read it again.  I can explain it in a few easy paragraphs.

Reading for me is not just about getting the story, filing it away in my mind, and then moving on to the next book.  It’s about taking in the characters, the story, the environment.  I end up caring about the people in the books, and at times will laugh with them, be angry with them, cry with them.  One of my favorite memories is when I was around 8 years old (maybe 7, somewhere around there) and I had been sent to bed for the evening.  I was almost at the end of Charlotte’s Web, and I didn’t want to fall asleep until I had finished it.  So I kept my light on and decided to keep reading until I had completed the book.  I had never read a story with a sad ending; I couldn’t even fathom the idea of something NOT having a happy ending.  Well, spoiler alert, the book doesn’t have a happy ending.  I was crushed, I mean really crushed.  I started to cry and all I wanted was to be comforted because I felt betrayed.  How could it have happened?  I wandered out, it must have been around 11, and my mom saw me crying hysterically.  She kept asking me what was wrong, but I just couldn’t answer her.  Finally, I was able to come out with (SPOILER ALERT!) “The spider died!”.  This was a traumatizing experience, I tell you.  My mom was less than pleased that I had stayed awake reading and sent me back to bed.  I care about the people/things/animals I read about and have real feels.  I like to revisit this at times, go back to somewhere that made me have such emotions from a story, and experience it again.  I liken it to watching a favorite movie more than once and who hasn’t done that?

Here is my book secret – I read fast, like really fast.  I always have, ever since I can remember.  There are times I may not take it all in with one shot, and need to reread to get more pieces.  It’s usually the smaller details that I miss, not anything major.  “Why don’t you read slower?” is usually the question that comes after that to which I respond, “I can’t”.  I really just can’t.  I read at the pace I read at, and even when I try to slow down it doesn’t work out.  I think it is similar to when you see an episode of a show that maybe you have already seen and you pick something up from it that maybe you didn’t catch the first time.  If I were to use this logic I can state that reading it a second, third, fourth time is going to give me a different experience each time!

Currently I am rereading the Harry Potter series and I am almost done with book 2.  I love these books very much; watching Harry and everyone grow up over the course of 7 books is very rewarding to me.  There are books I haven’t yet read on my bookshelf and I will get to them in due time; sometimes you just want to call that friend you haven’t talked to in a while, catch up for a bit before you go on your merry ways.  So come sit with me while I wait for my game to patch up and tell me – Are you a re-reader of books?  Do you pick them up again from time to time or do you read once, file away, and go onto new adventures?  There is no right or wrong answer because at it’s core reading is a personal journey in which we all have our own thoughts and feelings.

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.  ~Charles W. Eliot



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2 responses to “Why Reread?

  1. Sorry to necro this thread, but I had to comment. I’m an avid re-reader. I’ve read Watership Down about 30 times and I re-read a number of long series of books over and over again. Why? Cause everytime I read them, I’m different. I’ve aged, I’ve had new experiences, and this changes the way I see the books. My wife, not so much. To her, each book is a snack, to be gobbled and forgotten about. I think re-reading books deepens the understanding of it and just gets better and better.

    • I totally agree. I have read books as a child and then re-read them later and it’s almost like an entirely different story.

      I was shocked the other day when I read “The Giving Tree” to my youngest and at the end she was just sobbing and telling me how sad it was. It reminded me of my Charlotte experience and in that moment I knew she will be a reader for life. When you connect like that, it doesn’t go away.

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