Do people actually reread books?
Children do, as any parent of a small child with a book in the house can attest. In fact, most children reread their favorites, or rather have an adult reread their favorite to them until the adult can read the entire story without looking once at the pages.
But what about adults? Do we pick up books we’ve already read in order to immerse ourselves in that world again? Have you ever picked up something you’ve already dog-eared and underlined, taking the time to read more than your highlights?
Do you reread books?
I’ll reread and reference nonfiction if it’s full of juicy info. But not fiction. Life is too short and there are TOO MANY BOOKS! ~Kellie
Let me start by saying I have zero scientific data to offer you. I don’t know of any official studies, but I’ve read a couple of articles and a variety of comments on avid reader groups. And the consensus is very mixed.
Some readers love to reread old favorites, some pulling them out once every year to enjoy again. Others steadfastly refuse, insisting their To Read list is too long to even think about revisiting volumes that have already been consumed. Still others, like my character Amber in Crossing Values, aren’t exposed to books often enough to consider rereading.
A Literary Great Who Reread
C.S. Lewis, the author of classics such as The Chronicles of Narnia and The Screwtape Letters, valued rereading. He once said, “No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally – and often far more – worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond.”
I love that. I recently read through the first two Mary Poppins books. With C.S. Lewis’ encouragement, I want to pull out my copy of fairy tales by the Grimm Brothers. I also loved Anderson’s fairy tales and Nacy Drew stories growing up. Ooh! I wonder if my library has those on the shelf.
Additionally, in his book On Stories: And Other Essays on Literature, Mr. Lewis wrote, “An unliterary man may be defined as one who reads books once only. . . . We do not enjoy a story fully at the first reading. Not till the curiosity, the sheer narrative lust, has been given its sop and laid asleep, are we at leisure to savour the real beauties. Till then, it is like wasting great wine on a ravenous natural thirst which merely wants cold wetness.”
Well, that kinda stings. I admit that many of the books I’ve read I would likely get even more out of now that the basic story questions are answered in my mind. I could slow down and enjoy the journey more.
Books I’ve Read and Reread
Each year, I pick a goal: How many books I want to read before the end of the year. It’s somewhat arbitrary, although I do look at what I’ve read the last couple of years and what I think my life is going to look like over the next twelve months. Sometimes I hit the goal easily (like last year). Other years, I’m squeaking in the last few books over Christmas break.
As part of that goal, I try to include smaller goals, like reading in a variety of genres and making sure I pick up at least one or two classics.
And, without fail, I do reread a few books. Some are comfortable favorites that I just want to relax and lose myself in. Some were so good at first reading that I want to slow down and enjoy them with a small group of friends.
What makes my list? It might surprise you . . .
Carrie’s Six Favorite Fiction Rereads
- The Harry Potter series. Yes, I’ve made it through all seven books multiple times. Please don’t send me hate mail or dire warnings about the magic contained within. If it helps any, I also enjoy Narnia, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings series.
- Cinderella. My favorite fairy tale of all time and I’ve enjoyed this story as told (and retold) by the Grimm Brothers, Walt Disney, and many more.
- Sherlock Holmes. Much like Nancy Drew, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a favorite author growing up. I don’t make a lot of time for him these days, but every once in a while, he’s just perfect.
- Holding Heaven by Jerry Jenkins. Imagine, Joseph holding the infant Jesus then years later an adult Jesus comforting a dying Joseph. Oh, the conversations these two might have had.
- The Chronicles of Narnia. These stories captured the imagination of me and then my kids, so we liked to listen to them in the car running errands or on long drives to various soccer fields. That means we made it through the full series more than once.
- Twas the Night Before: A Christmas Allegory by Jerry Jenkins. Combining three of my most favorite things: A sappy love story, the Christmas holiday, and Saint Nicholas. It’s an irresistible combination to me.
I have read a couple of books more than once! Sometimes it is to understand it better, however most of the time, it is because I desire to be “part of that world”, to quote Ariel. ~Sarah
What about you? Do you reread books? Or are you consumed by getting through a To Read list that’s too long to adequately express? I understand both opinions, but I wonder if my readers lean more heavily one way or the other.
Let me know by commenting on this post on my Facebook page. It will be pinned to the top of the newsfeed for the rest of this week!
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