Interactive Post :: Are you a ‘re-reader’?


I’m always amazed when I come across folks who say, “Oh, I LOVE that book – I’ve read it five times!” And this happens way more than you (and I) would imagine.

My initial (and internal) response is, “Why?”
Long-time readers here (if there is such a thing for a blog that hasn’t celebrated it’s first anniversary) know my laments about my TBR pile. Most of my reader friends have the same sort of griefs, and yet some of them choose to pick up a tried & true and reread it.
Now when I was teaching, I didn’t have a choice. There were novels that I taught multiple times, and I always reread them as I was teaching them. But that’s different.
There are some books that I really loved when I read them – The Secret History, Possession, Fortune’s Rocks – but I can’t see taking the time to reread them when I might have a book that I’ll love just as much sitting waiting to be read. I have already come to grips with the notion that I will die before I read everything that I want to read, so why take time away from something new to read something old?
So, are you a re-reader? If so, why?

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12 Replies to “Interactive Post :: Are you a ‘re-reader’?

  1. yes- I'm a re-reader, though I tend to wait a year before I reread anything. And lots of time I only re-read half the book. Reasons I re-read, I rarely have a TBR pile-so many times when I'm looking for a book (and I need it RIGHT NOW!) I can only grab a book I've already read. It usually works out since I tend to only pick books that I really liked.

    It's kind of like watching a favorite movie, you just can't wait to get to your favorite parts, and there's that struggle between wanting it to go on forever and wanting to get to the last page ASAP.

    I need a TBR pile though…

  2. K – give me the names of two books that you've really liked & I'll give you a TBR pile! For the record, I'm not big on rewatching movies, either – I had rather be reading! Scott says I'm an entertainment snob. 😉

  3. This is a fun topic! I am not a re-reader at all, but with some books I've just put down & loved, I'll say to myself, "Stacie, you are going to want to re-read that book." Yet, I rarely do re-read because, as you so rightly point out Elisabeth, there are just too many books in that darn TBR pile of mine.

    I have re-read a few books, but mostly because we are reading them in book club & I finished them along ago. I have read two Jane Austen books for a second time because I love them so, as well as a few Barbara Pym books. But, generally, even if I want to re-read a book, I rarely get around to it.

    I do have something of a TBRR (To Be Re-Read) pile going in my head. I guess I'm saving up for that day when I've actually caught up on everything & can feel like re-reading won't mean missing out on something new & exciting. (I'll be honest… I doubt that day will never come.)

    For the record, I rarely want to re-watch a movie. Once is usually enough for me. And, like you Elisabeth, I prefer books to reading. My husband is the opposite but understands my "need to read" and doesn't chastise me for picking reading time over movie time (which also means picking reading over spending time with him).

  4. I am not a re-reader…I can only think of one book I have re-read and it was The Catcher in the Rye. Oh, and The Great Gatsby. But that one was for a class after I had read earlier in life.

    I do, however, agree with Stacie that I often finish a really good book and think "I'll read that again sometime because it was so good!", hence my large at-home library.

    But, like Elisabeth, life is short and there are tons of great books out there to be read. And my TBR pile? Is Out. Of. Control. Like seriously over 100 books, I would bet. That's three years worth of reading at my current pace. And I keep adding to it.

    But, over time, I do forget some of the finer details of books, and I think re-reading a "favorite"–say 10 or 15 years down the road when you are at a different place in life–would give you a different perspective. I have wondered if I would even like the book as much–or maybe more–because it does/doesn't resonate with me in the same way. Maybe a test for the future!

  5. @Stacie – Yes, the fact that I prefer a book to TV or a movie means that often we're in the same room NOT doing the same thing…

    OK, I do understand re-reading a book that you've read but need to be fresh on for discussion. That makes sense, and I've probably done that – but I'm sure it was a quick re-scan as opposed to a re-read.

  6. I love this question, especially since I am currently re-reading one of my favorite books. There are about 5 books I have have read more than twice. As for any others, I don't have the patience for it, and if I try, I end up skipping paragraphs or even pages since in my mind I've already experienced them. The book I am currently reading is "Outlander" by Diana Gabaldon. I've read it 4 times over the years, and reading it is like snuggling under my favorite blanket.

    As for movies. I re-watch all of the time. But then again, I rarely just sit and watch them. I play them while I am working on projects or cleaning.

  7. To me, the way you know if you have read a great book is if you want to read it again when you're done. It's like going to a restaurant and eating a delicious meal and wanting to return for another time. This urge to re-read is how I determine my most loved books. Sometimes you just want to sink your teeth into something and see what you missed the first time. With great books, there is always something new to find on the next go around.

  8. @tiff – I agree that there is always something you miss the first time & books become richer the better you know them. Learned that when teaching.

  9. My mom has changed her email address & so is having difficulty logging on to post comments, so this one is for her….

    Jayne said…
    The Bible – which is debatable if it is one author (Holy Spirit) or many (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, etc.). The second is Homer.

  10. While I am not a re-reader, I realized several days after my post that I have this inexplicable interest (must be in my blood because my sister shares this) in reading Jane Austen take-offs & re-tellings. So, while I don't re-read Austen regularly per se, I have read a scary number of contemporary versions of Austen novels. So, I guess in a way I am a Jane Austen re-reader.

    Just thought I should give full disclosure….

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