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.