I overheard someone say recently that they never reread any books. They felt that since they already know the outcome of a story, there is nothing to be gained by reading the tale again.
I have to disagree.
I am reminded of a professor I had in college. He always had us read our assignments twice. “The first time, read fast and for fun,” he said. “The second time, look for nuance and subtlety.”
I have found his suggestion works great for me. When I have a new book in my hands, I read fast and furiously, eager to see how the story unfolds, in a hurry to get to the end and discover the resolution.
Then, if I liked the book, I will go back and read it again. Not right away, but a few months later, possibly on a rainy Sunday afternoon, I will grab the book and settle in to discover the nuances. I will read more slowly the second time, savoring the descriptions and looking forward to my favorite sections, enjoying the anticipation. Knowing those favorite passages are coming does not spoil anything. I am looking forward to revisiting those treasured places in the book. Knowing they are coming heightens my enjoyment.
Rereading a book gives me a chance to appreciate the subtle things an author weaves into her story. A turn of a character’s head, a thought in the night, a sigh, these are the things that lend dimension to a book and give insight to the characters. I love dissecting a story the second time around, looking for these clues that give the tale a deeper meaning.
Rereading is like revisiting a friend, familiar, and yet there may always be something more inside.
What have I been rereading lately? The Merlin trilogy by Mary Stewart. These books rank among my all-time favorite re-reads. If you are unfamiliar with them, I highly recommend all three books, especially if you love fantasy and historical fiction.
2 thoughts on “Why I Like to Reread Books”
While I’m reading a particularly good book for the first time, I find myself oohing and aahing at some passages, thinking to myself how cleverly written a passage is, or marveling at how the story is unraveling, or falling in like with the characters. I’m thoroughly immersed in the book and excited and eager to read the next paragraph. When I’m done, I have such a wonderful feeling of contentment. I have tried to go back – sometimes years later – to reread a book that had been a favorite of mine, but found I did not get that same feeling of joy or contentment in rereading it. I have to admit, however, I am thoroughly enjoying rereading my daughters’ childrens books to my two grandsons!
That’s what’s so great about reading –everyone’s experience is different!