Why I Re-Read

Thanks to Planetary Defense Commander for this idea. Also thanks to Past Due for his timely post “Revisiting Books” last month.

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Obviously this is a vast and intricate subject, full of nuances and personal interpretations overlapped by moods, tastes and general things that most Bookworms can identity with. As such, most bloggers will treat said subject with the care and respect it is due and take into account the fact they have a myriad of followers with as many opinions as the stars.

Hahahahahaa! Like I care two-bits about what ANY of you think? Here’s the double dukes to you sensitive snowflakes:

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What?!? Just because I show complete disdain for you doesn’t mean I’d sink so low as to flip you the double bird. Man, show some CLASS!

 

Ok, with that out of my system, I think I’m ready to move forward here for real. I’ve been seriously into re-reading since 2016, when I began my organized Project Re-Read plan. That was a “short experiment” of 1 year to see if I could regularly re-read books and still enjoy them. It was such a smashing success that I expanded it to almost 1/5 of my total reading now. Given, I’m picking mostly series that I seem to remember enjoying before, but overall, it is going very well.

Before 2016’s Project, I’d re-read favorite books at random. I didn’t give it any thought, it was almost all standalone books and it was very impulsive.  Once I started seriously organizing my reading schedule, it was much easier to plugin whole series that I wanted to re-read and simply make them a part of the rotation. I explain my whole system in excruciating detail in The TBR Tag.

But with so many books coming out (thousands every year, even just in the genres I read) and me reading less than 200 a year, why do I re-read? I will separate the reasons and expound upon each accordingly.

 

1 ) The more I read, the more crap I come across

I read voraciously and need a steady influx to sate me. I could take a chance on Brand New Indie Author X, but I’ve been burned so many times doing that that I’m rather bitter actually.  Seriously, if I can avoid 25-50 crap books by not experimenting with new to me authors but instead read books that have already given me hours of enjoyment, where’s the downside? I don’t read JUST for new experience, although that certainly plays its part, but also for enjoyment.

 

2 ) Life beats the crap out of me sometimes

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Sometimes I simply need to pull away and put my mind into a big cozy comforter of a story. Some place where big ugly baldy there can’t get to me.

 

3 ) A New Perspective

As I get older, my tastes change, my thought processes change and my perspective changes. What I think about romance now is quite different from what I thought in my early 20’s. A great decade of marriage will do that!  I’m a lot more empathetic in some ways and in other ways, I’m a lot less willing to put up with plot drama for plot drama’s sake. Life experience has shown me how shallow teens are and how shallow those books are. It’s not bad, just like a picture book isn’t a bad thing for a toddler, but I don’t expect a 14 year old to be reading a cardboard picture book, nor do I expect a 50 year old to be subsisting on most modern ya. As I grow older I highly suspect I’ll be wanting my protagonists to grow older with me. Whether that actually happens or not, I can’t say.

 

4 ) Gleaning More Meaning

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Once I have mowed the whole field and gotten in the harvest, a re-read allows me to go back over the book and pick out those little things I couldn’t see the first time around. Maybe I was too busy trying to figure out what was going on, or maybe I was just trying to keep track of all 47 characters and the 32 various plots initially.  Whatever the reason, a re-read allows me to gather up the smaller patches of things that I simply couldn’t that first time around. A good book will have a great number of things for one to glean upon every re-read.

 

That pretty much sums up the reasons why I re-read. I used my words, ALL my words.

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bookstooge

 

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70 thoughts on “Why I Re-Read

  1. I re-read very few things. But those I have, I find loads of things I didn’t come across.

    I think re-listening to an audio book is easier than re-reading for me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Bookstooge says:

      How long have you been reading? I wonder if re-reading is more of an age/time thing or just a personal quirk thing. You can be my anecdotal test group 😉

      That is interesting that you can re-listen easier. I have a wicked hard time listening at all, so to re-listen is NOT an option. When you do re-listen, do you use the same edition, or look for another narrator?

      Liked by 2 people

      • I am 29 and have been reading since I could actually read. I suppose my mindset is that there are millions of books I will never read, so the time I spent re-reading could be spent exploring one of those millions of titles.

        To be fair, the only one I have re-listened to is The Martian. I have done that 3 or 4 times. Usually because it’s such easy listening when I don’t have another free credit on audible. Always the same narrator.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Bookstooge says:

          Thanks. I’m wondering if it is age related.
          From your comment, what BVT wrote below, and checking my own stats, it seems the older one gets the more one re-reads.
          From 2000-2009, I re-read approximately 40’ish books.
          From 2010 to the present, I have re-read approximately 200 books.

          maybe I’m just having a midlife book crisis 😀 hahahahaa.

          Liked by 3 people

          • There are books I fully intend to re-read. Maybe I’ll wait until a similar crisis 😛

            I suppose, in a time when so many versions of a similar story are being told (I mean seriously, there can’t be that many farm boys left with the power to griw up and save the world …) it’s nice to read something you know is a solid hit.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Bookstooge says:

              digging into my stats a little deeper, from 2010-2015 yields 90 and 2015 to present yields just under 100, so my rate is definitely increasing.

              You also might be on to something with the whole “similar story”. SFF was scarce for me, so I read it all back then. Today, a teen in a similar position couldn’t possibly read all the SFF being produced. There is just so much.

              Comments like yours are why I love comments. This whole aspect hadn’t even entered into my head when thinking about this subject!

              Liked by 2 people

  2. Manuel Antao says:

    More coming later.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I find it very hard to reread novels. I need at least a couple of years or half a decade to pick up the same book again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      I used to go 5 years, now I’m edging more towards 10. maybe when I hit 50 I’ll edge that up again to 15. Who knows, but I’m rather looking forward to finding out 🙂

      Like

  4. I find that as I “age” I am becoming more of a re-reader. I have always had favorites I would revisit, but now that list is growing. I love how much more insight I gain into some books now. It is like I enter with a brand new perspective and the experience is different. More often than not, I walk away more satisfied with a re-read. Occasionally, I find some titles lose the magic. But I always enjoy seeing where old favorites now stand.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. YouKneeK says:

    I definitely see the advantages of re-reading but, every time I consider it, that huge list of unread things I want to read makes me decide against it. I guess at this point in my life, curiosity is still outweighing nostalgia.

    I’m 42 now, so I’m old enough to have new perspectives on things I enjoyed in the past, not to mention old enough to have forgotten details. The thing is, I didn’t get into SF&F until my early 20’s, and there was at least a decade shortly after that when I could barely find time to read. When I think of my “old” favorites, most of them are actually from within the past 10 years. I could see the nostalgia/new meaning argument outweighing the too-much-new-stuff-to-read argument in another decade or so, after I have more SF&F under my belt. At that point, I too might choose to start slipping some re-reads into my schedule.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Bookstooge says:

      Thanks for commenting YouKneek. So, in opposition to what I wrote to Swords&Spectres, it would seem that having a deep foundation in a genre can also play a part, regardless of age.

      I think I need a 2million grant from the government to investigate this! Quit my day job and closely check this line of thought out. It could do something for the publishers, who we all know are pillars of American Society *eye roll*
      😉

      Liked by 3 people

      • YouKneeK says:

        LOL, I’d totally support this research endeavor… in a non-monetary way, with random comments and occasional cheers. 😉 The quantity of books read per year probably plays a part also. If I could get through as many books per year as you do, I might not be as stingy with my reading schedule slots.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Bookstooge says:

          Hahahahah, in regards to “stingy”. What is funny is that I STILL have to be real careful about how many books I add to my list. Otherwise I’m sure I’d have over 5K in my tbr. But the good side is that now I know I really want to read the books I have on tap, not just vaguely interested…

          Liked by 2 people

  6. Makes a lot of sense! I mostly read for new experiences, and while I wouldn’t say my memory is the best, I do tend to remember most or nearly all details of favorite books or books I love. It defeated the purpose of rereading because in the past I found that I would just skim over familiar sections a lot.

    When it comes to reading new books, yes, I have to risk the unknown and I do end up having to read a lot of crap. But I discover a lot of new favorite too, and that makes it all worth it.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. @lynnsbooks says:

    I would like to reread but at the moment I just don’t seem to have time – and I quite like the adventure of looking for new authors – and, there are other blogs, like The Bibliosanctum who help me to filter out the ones I really don’t like the look of.
    Even so – I will try to do some rereads at some point – I’d like to see how I feel now about some old favourites.
    Lynn 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      If you try to force yourself to re-read, I suspect it won’t turn out so well. Let it happen naturally, like child birth 😉

      I know I wouldn’t be re-reading at the rate I am even 5 years ago. It wasn’t until I found a really good way to work my tbr that it fell into place. My tbr workflow won’t work for anyone else, so I doubt my re-read workflow would work for anyone else either.

      I’m just a special snowflake 😀

      Like

  8. hehehehe, but, but I’m offended! 😂😂😂 JK! I couldn’t resist!
    I think this is a great post and I think it’s really sensible to plan your rereading (I don’t do that, but wish I could!) I do find that reading more, or trying out new things leads to some pretty meh-to-disastrous occurrences. And yeah, old favourites are comforting- it’s why I love revisiting movies/books etc that I already know I love. And yeah, books do have different impacts and feelings at different times in life- I’ve definitely found that what I get out of a book can change drastically over time. Really wonderful post!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m honestly afraid to re-read some of my favorites because what if they’re not as good as I remember?? For example, I read the Harry Potter series starting when I was 14 and the series ended when I was in my early twenties. I’m about to turn 31 and have grown as a person. I’ve debated re-reading it but I think I might be too jaded now lol. I’ll probably just leave it alone and not ruin anything for myself….for now anyway.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Brilliant post. All perfect reasons why re-reading is soooo beneficial for readers. I do envision myself re-reading books in the future (with a 5-10 years period in between reads), but right now I still feel the “if I re-read, I’m putting the little time I have into something when I could be reading something completely new and amazing”. And.. as a relatively slow reader, I also believe that re-reading is probably something that will be better for me when done naturally hahah

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      I was thinking this morning, what if I could only read 1 book a week. I have to admit, I suspect my priorities would change. My guess is that I’d pick out 12 books for the coming year to re-read and get to one a month.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. I kinda feel the same – the older I get the more I re-read. I’ve always WANTED to re-read, but never did, until 1-2 years ago. Now I just do it, when I feel like it. Lots of people always say they ‘wish they had more time to re-read’, but I think they don’t really want to, because it is so EASY to just make the time. You are not forced to pick up new-to-you books.

    ‘a re-read allows me to gather up the smaller patches of things that I simply couldn’t that first time around.’ –> Summed up my experience with ‘The Malazan Book of the Fallen’ 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m not a re-reader. A couple of times, I’ve started back into books that I had read in the past, thinking I’d forgotten all the details, but after a bit of reading, I started remembering everything and put the book down.

    I’ve been using other techniques to reduce my burnout from bad books. I read a non-fiction book for each work of fiction, and I generally have better luck with those. I also hold a “comfort” series in reserve. This is a series that I’d like to read straight through because I’ve enjoyed the first book or two, but I hold back. Then, when I’m so sick of bad fiction that I’m thinking of giving up reading fiction altogether, I pull out the next book in my comfort series. It takes me years to get through a series, but so far the tactic has kept me going with SFF.

    I’m also a less voracious reader than you. I burn through an audiobook every week or two, depending on length, but for the last couple years, I’ve been using all my visual reading time for short stories in magazines and anthologies. I used to read more novels when I was flying back and forth across the Pacific, but I don’t do that any more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      I am glad you found a way to avoid burnout. Did something just “click” one day to get you to that point, or was it longer process? I’m not a non-fiction guy so that type of solution would never occur to me at all.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Finding techniques to avoid burnout has been a long, gradual process, and it’s still going on. I’ve always enjoyed non-fiction, and at one point I’d read long strings of non-fic or long strings of fic according to my mood, but at some point I began a regimented system of fic-nonfic-fic-nonfic. I don’t remember what spurred me to do that, and I also can’t quite remember how I came up with the idea of a reserve series.

        This year, I’ve been doing a scary amount of DNFing. I might post about that soon.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. pcbushi says:

    Good post. I just started rereading Dune for the umpteenth time. It’s just easy and comfortable now, and I also seem to come across new pieces or nuances each time I read it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      Yeah, Dune is one I am finding that 5years is a good space to re-read.
      Are you at the point where you can write your post on Dune and have it mainly be about the contrasting views you’ve had on it for each read?

      Liked by 1 person

  14. There are many books (and series) I would love to re-read, if nothing else to refresh my failing memory about the reasons I enjoyed them so much, but I’m aware that if I did, I would have less time to try the new titles that catch my attention – and I get oh-so-easily distracted by all the pretty titles that are out there! 🙂
    Anyway, I keep promising myself that once I’m retired and have more time to read, I will go back and revisit all those old, dear friends. Someday…. Someday…

    Liked by 2 people

  15. savageddt says:

    I am not good at re reading, My pace is to slow… revisiting 2 books this year and pritty soon too cuase i loved them and have the latest in the series still to read. Have not blogged about them here yet

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I’m a big fan of re-reading my favorite (and sometimes least favorite) books! I like being able to enjoy the world of a book again or glean new meaning out of it. For books I didn’t like the first time around but I think have potential I’ll try again when I think I might get more out of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Great post! Most of my re-reads are classics so most of my books I see as a conversation. Would you only go out with a good friend once? Of course not. You’d see each other often and learn more and more about each other. And your point was great in that while the books never change, with their depth they can change what they say to us or how they resonate within us. I wish I had more time to re-read.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Manuel Antao says:

    Repetition is nature’s way of assuring permanence…

    It panders to the idea of “growing out of ” that there is some natural order or progression of texts, defined by a greater authority. People should feel free to read whatever they like. I’ve re-read some of my Phil Dick’s favourites last year and it was mighty interesting. I first read them when I was about 15 and have read and enjoyed them several times over the last decades. Someone might say I shouldn’t read crap like that. there is always a risk that this sort of pontificating says more about the critic than the criticised. Who says I am not gaining new experiences while still now and then visiting my favourite writers and their works? We know that human beings can do both, challenge themselves with uncomfortable stuff – and then reread a favourite, to ease their ruffled feathers? Just to move on again to “terra incognita” again …I have books I can nearly recite by heart (Heinlein, Phil Dick, Shakespeare, P. D. James, to name just a few). I also read new stuff. Why do we think humans can only do one or the other? It is not necessary to grow out of stuff about goblins, spaceships or superheroes, but it is better not to be limited to it.

    nb: reply in the proper post..lol

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I’ve actually never reread a book but I can find the appeal in it. Sometime in the future, when I grow a few more gray hairs maybe, I’ll dive into rereading. Maybe sooner. I already have a mental list of books I want to reread which includes Dune!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      Dune is a great book to re-read.

      And never re-read a book? Wow. Honestly most of my early re-reads were in series that were long and ongoing (Wheel of Time for example), so that kind of started this whole thing rolling.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. […] from (un)Hauling Books to filling that space right back up with a Book Haul to a Random Tag to a Ramble on Re-Reading. I also started up what I’m calling my Versus set of posts. A book versus a movie or movies […]

    Like

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