I have a problem.
I love rereading books.
(First step is admitting you have a problem, so I can check that off my list.)
But there are so many new books coming out all the time and old books that I hear about for the first time, so my to-read shelf on Goodreads just keeps getting loooonger and loooooooonger. What to do???
I’ve read 44 books this year (WOAH) and 16 of those have been rereads (YIKES). Clearly this is a problem. If I devote that much time to books that I’ve already read, how am I ever going to even make a dent in my TBR pile? Imagine how many more new books I could have discovered if I had read 16 new books instead of those rereads! But I can’t bring myself to regret them . . .
I blame this behavior on my younger self, who read everything she could get her hands and seemed to think there was a finite number of good books out there (because apparently she didn’t realize that new books come out???) and just reread her favorites over and over. She realized that she liked returning to the books she liked and unfortunately that habit remains today.
(^ me as a seven-year-old)
So what’s the big deal with rereading?
I get to revisit characters and worlds that I love! Who doesn’t like stepping back into a world you’re familiar with and characters that feel like old friends? There’s something so soothing about returning to a story that you already know, because you don’t have to stress about what’s going to happen and instead you can enjoy the ride.
It can be comforting during hard times. I often turn to old favorites when there’s a big change happening in my life (I reread The Hobbit during my first semester of college and Harry Potter while I was studying abroad) or if things just haven’t been going my way and I need something familiar (I reread The Goose Girl at the beginning of this semester). When life is rough or scary, I need my faves with me to have my back.
I know what’s going to happen, so I can appreciate other aspects. Sometimes when I’m reading a book for the first time, I’m so anxious to find out what’s going to happen that I fly through it super fast. Rereading gives me the opportunity to slow down and appreciate other things like characters and prose and themes that I might not have caught on the first read (or second, or third…). I reread The Raven Cycle earlier this year because the first time through was so fast and stressful, and I loved knowing what was going to happen so I could pay more attention to all the little details that I didn’t catch before!
I understand new things in different times of my life. Every time I reread an old fave, I relate to it in a new way based on what’s going on in my life. Maybe I understand the motives of a character differently, or I relate a theme to something in my own life in a way that I wouldn’t have when I was younger. That’s the beauty of well-written, timeless books – they grow with you and let you connect them to so many aspects of your own life.
It’s a guaranteed good read. If you’ve loved it every other time you’ve read it, you know you’ll love it again, right? Especially when I’ve been disappointed by other new books, it’s so much easier to pick up something I know I’ll enjoy because I need to remind myself why I love reading. Plus, this can be a great way to get yourself out of a reading slump!
Less time for new books. I mean, obviously. The logical consequence of rereading old books is that new books get neglected. And the TBR keeps growing and growing until one day I die in an avalanche of books (my greatest fear).
I could realize the book isn’t as good as I remembered. Is there anything worse than picking up a book you used to love and realizing you don’t love it anymore? The betrayal! The heartbreak! Truly one of life’s greatest disappointments. This is why I’m a little scared to pick up some of the books I really loved when I was younger, because what if they’re not as good anymore and my memory of them is tarnished forever?
I can get stuck in a rut. Often, when I reread something, I remember some other old book that I loved that I want to pick up again. And I get caught in a vicious cycle of going through old books and not picking up anything new. It’s a slippery slope and I don’t know how to prevent it from happening.
That said, here are some of my favorite books to reread (as in, I’ve read them so many times I’ve actually lost count of the exact number and my copies are probably falling apart).
Aaaaaand here are some of the books I want to reread at some point. Not now………..probably. Maybe. We’ll see. 😉
(OH NO THIS IS SO MANY SOMEBODY STOP ME.)
(It hasn’t even been a year since I read some of these I need help.)
Do you like rereading books? If you had all the time in the world, what books would you reread? Any advice for my rereading problem?