Welcome to my brand new Saturday discussion post! Doing reviews and book memes is well and good, but without a good interactive post, I felt like the blog was lacking something. In July, when I was making Harry Potter-themed Saturday posts, I did a discussion post on The Cursed Child. Due to its good reception, I’m planning to continue that, but with a broader scope. Today I’d like to discuss about the habit of re-reading that has been weighing on my mind lately. To participate in this, hit me up in the comments section below or if you think you have a lot to say, write up a post on your blog and do a pingback so I can read your thoughts on this (there is no deadline for that).
A few weeks ago, I had a conversation that went like this:
Me: I’m re-reading The Philosopher’s Stone because I got a new edition of it for my birthday.
Friends: Not again! I wish you’d get over it.
Me: But I love the books and want to experience them again. I find new things I’d missed on my previous read.
Friends: Harry Potter is overrated. How many times can you re-read the same thing? It’s the same old book.
Me: Till my dying breath if I want to, because I’ve changed as a reader.
Friends: You’re stupid and your experiences are not valid.
Has this happened to you? By the end of that conversation, I was extremely angry and almost in tears. I really need to know I’m not the only one who re-reads books and that I’m sane to do so. I’ve seen many Booktubers and people on Goodreads re-reading books or even entire series, especially if they happen to like them. Below is a list of reasons as to why I re-read books.
1. Each re-read is a new experience
Sure, I know the characters and the plot, but sometimes it’s been so long that I’ve forgotten. For those who read a lot of books (I’m currently at 70+ a year), it’s hard to remember the smallest details of all of them. I at least like to think of each reading experience as new. Different things are relatable at different times and the mind picks up on subtle things like foreshadowing only during a re-read. I feel like I appreciate books on a deeper or different level every time I read and I love this kind of connection.
2. A sequel is coming out and I don’t remember what happened before
This is one of the foremost reasons for re-reading in the bookworm community. While keeping up with an ongoing series, especially if the releases are far apart (1+ years), it’s hard to recall exactly what happened in the previous books. As it happens, sometimes I get ARCs months in advance and when the next book comes out, the gap turns out to be too much. An example of this scenario would be that I’m planning to re-read His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman because I finished the series in 2008, but The Book of Dust is releasing this year and I need to refresh my memory.
3. I need to revisit my favourite stories
Some of my absolute favourite books in the world are those stories I can’t get enough of. I’m such a Lord of the Rings fan that I have a ritual of reading the trilogy and watching the movie adaptations each year in September. There are so many characters, complex subplots and places in there that I find something new each time. I’m planning to add reading a new book set in Middle-Earth or written by Tolkien to my ritual so I never tire of this. The world is so rich and fleshed out with its own history, mythology and races that I don’t think my tiny brain can truly grasp it all.
4. I already know I’ll love it
I think that one of the best ways to get out of a reading slump is to pick up a book I’ve already enjoyed. Sometimes, new books aren’t just clicking with me or I have strayed so far outside my comfort zone or preferred genres that I need a warm hug in the form of my favourite books to remind me why I spend hours upon hours shut off in my room flipping pages. Since I’ve already liked the book, I know that it’ll help restore my faith in books and rekindle my joy for reading.
5. I’m reading for a different purpose
Re-reading books of successful authors and learning the tricks of the trade is a popular method that many writing gurus recommend. Most of the time, reading is a pleasurable activity for me. I’m not actively looking for how the author has explored her theme or how engaging the subplots are, but I’m just reading a story that I hope I’ll enjoy. A writer’s mindset is different from how a casual reader approaches a book. Similarly, a book reviewer maybe reading critically whereas a bookworm might just be reading for the sheer entertainment. Someone doing market research or writing an academic paper maybe looking for something else altogether. The way I approach a book each time I read it differs, so this is another reason I do so.
6. I disagree with a popular opinion
I’m sure a lot of us readers have reading moods. Sometimes, I may have disliked a book I would have otherwise liked just because I wasn’t in the mood for it. If I find that the popular opinion is that the book is phenomenal, I sometimes pick it up again to see what I may have missed. It may so happen that I loved a book, but many people are finding it problematic or just plain bad. At these times, I re-read more critically and see if I still feel the same. This is one of my closely guarded secrets but this has happened to me with the Twilight series. As a teenage girl, I loved it up to Eclipse. On realising that many readers hated it, I re-read it only to find out that I had outgrown it and started seeing the issues with it.
7. I’m participating in a group reading activity
I just joined the Wizarding Book Club hosted by Pottermore and I’m trying to work through the series again with millions all over the world as well as discuss the major themes in it with the community. Sometimes, upon joining a book club or taking an English class, one is forced to re-read a book in order to talk about it with one’s peers. It may not be mandatory to read the text again, but it is preferred to do so because then one’s judgement is not based on what they can remember (which could be factually incorrect because it’s been that long) and they can support their opinions with direct quotes from the text.
Do you have the habit of re-reading books or would you rather take on your never-ending TBR? Do you have a ritual where you revisit your favourite books at a particular time of the year? What makes you pick up a book the second time? You may agree with all of these points or disagree or have new points of your own, so please let me know what your thoughts on this are. I hope you enjoyed this post and pray tell if you want to see more of the same kind. Happy weekend to you all! 🙂