There are millions of books out there which I haven’t read. Lately I’ve been re-reading more than usual, with the help of a random generator and a spreadsheet. So why do I want to read the same books twice, thrice or more? Here are 10 reasons:
- Comfort reads. Books which I love and know well. Reading them again is safe, because I already know I’ll enjoy them. They have earned their place on my shelf and I re-read them every few years.
- A new film or TV adaptation of a book. Comparing the adaptation to the book is one of my hobbies. A new adaptation might also make me want to re-read the book anyway.
- Older and wiser (maybe). When I first read a particular book, I wasn’t quite mature enough to understand and appreciate it. Having another go at it a decade later might give me a different perspective.
- Previous studies. If I previously read a book for a literature course, enough time has now passed for me to be curious about re-reading the book for pleasure rather than study. However, it has to be a book I liked the first time around, even though I was studying it.
- Unformed opinions. Every book has to earn its place on my shelf. Re-reading a book I wasn’t sure if I liked or not the first time around is a way to make my mind up. If I dislike it the second time around, I get rid. Even if I like a book, I may decide I don’t like it enough to re-read.
- Can’t remember it. Arguably an unmemorable book is not worth re-reading, but if I’m curious about it, then there’s no harm in reading it again. I can then pretend I’ve not read it before and treat it as a ‘new’ book.
- New book in a series. If a new instalment is published, or I never completed a series and want to do so, then it makes sense to re-read the previous ones to remind myself of the events so far.
- New edition. I have been known to swap falling-apart books for new ones. Also, many books printed in the mid-20th century or thereabouts tend to have very brown pages, due to the acid in the paper, making the book almost unreadable. It’s only polite to re-read the pristine, shinier versions that I add to my collection.
- A tribute to an author who has recently passed away. Hopefully a rare occurrence. Often a deceased author’s work will be in the media spotlight and their output re-evaluated, so it seems fitting to re-read at least one of their books.
- Lack of new books to read. I admit this has not happened to me ever since I acquired a device to read e-books on, as there is always something new to read via the library e-catalogue or NetGalley. If I had no internet, however, and I wasn’t feeling rich enough to buy new books or I didn’t find anything good in the charity shops, I would be relying on the printed books already on my shelf, most of which I’ve previously read.
Do you re-read books? And for what reasons?