My to-read list is a mixture of books already released that I want to read, books still to be released that I can’t wait for, and books I loved that I want to re-read. Granted it’s more the former two than the latter one, but I think we all have books on our TBR lists which are re-reads and which probably keep getting passed over in favour of books we haven’t already read.
This year I made a resolution to re-read more of my old favourites, books I’ve been saying I want to re-read for years, and honestly it’s made me wonder why I haven’t made it an aim to do more re-reading before. (That’s kind of a lie, I know why and it’s because of all the shiny new releases I’ve been swayed by).
The Benefits of Re-Reading
It helps refresh your memory. Given how many books I read in a given year, and given how long the wait between releases can sometimes be, no matter how well I think I know a story there are always small details I’ve forgotten. Obsidio was one of my most anticipated releases of this year, but before I picked it up I re-read Illuminae and Gemina and discovered that doing that actually helped me enjoy Obsidio a little bit more.
It can sometimes be like reading a brand-new book. There are childhood favourites of mine, like His Dark Materials, which I haven’t picked up in so many years that I’ve forgotten more than I can remember. When I re-read Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass it was like reading the trilogy for the first time all over again because while I remembered the major events I’d forgotten almost everything else.
It could be just what you need when you’re slumping. Whenever I’m not in the mood to read something new, or maybe just not in the mood to read anything at all, I’ll go back to old favourites because it’s easy to connect with the characters and their story.
It allows you to binge read and avoid unpleasant cliffhangers. This is what I plan to do with the Shades of Magic series. The wait for A Conjuring of Light was torturous, so I plan to re-read the whole trilogy and jump straight from one book into the next with no waiting required. It doesn’t matter that I’ve read the whole trilogy before, I want to get to the end of A Gathering of Shadows and know that this time I don’t need to wait a year to find out what happens next.
It could end up surprising you. Sometimes, and maybe it’s because of how old I was when I first picked it up or because of the mood I was in when I first read it, I’ll re-read a book or series only to enjoy it more. My original rating of maybe three stars could jump to four or even five stars simply because this time around I was able to appreciate the story more.
It can be just as magical no matter how often you pick a book up. I think this is rare, but there are some books out there that will always be incredible whether you’ve read them one time, two, or twenty. For me these are books like The Night Circus, and the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series, books that are full of magic and nostalgia and just have too many happy memories associated with them for me to ever not love reading them.
That’s not to say there aren’t cons to re-reading and I think the main one for most people, it was certainly the main one for me, is time. When there are so many amazing new books being released that you want to read do you have the time to go back to an old book that, yes you’ve loved, but that you’ve already read? You know what going to happen; there’s no surprise in the shocking twists that left you open mouthed the first time you picked it up, there’s not that same sense of worry over whether your favourite characters are going to survive in chapter six when you know they make it to the epilogue.
A re-read is never going to be quite as exciting as a new read where you don’t know what’s coming next (unless you skip ahead).
The other con is how our reading tastes change with time. A lot of my favourite series from when I was younger, even favourite series from a few years back, which I’ve said I would like to re-read I know I wouldn’t love as much today. I really enjoyed the Splintered trilogy when I first picked it up, but I know if I read it again today I wouldn’t rate it more than three stars (if that). It isn’t a book for me today, and if that’s that case isn’t it better for me to not to re-read it and to instead keep loving it in my mind looking back?
When it comes down to it I don’t think picking up a book you’ve read before (maybe more than once) is ever going to be as exciting as picking up a brand-new story, but since I’ve started re-reading more and more I’ve realised just how fun it can be going back to old favourites.
Now Onto the Discussion Part of This Post:
Do you enjoy re-reading, or are you the type of reader who can pick up a book once and find that’s enough for you?
Have you ever re-read a book and found you didn’t enjoy it as much as you remembered? Or did it go the other way around and you re-read something only to enjoy it more?
Is there a book or series out there that you feel like you could re-read a hundred times and never get bored of it?
Let me know in the comments below.