Re-reading is another one of those topics I see pop-up on book Twitter regularly. Do you re-read? Should you re-read? Again, this is a personal choice, just like your preferred format, or to DNF or not to DNF. I re-read books, always have done and always will. But why do I read them again if I know what’s going to happen? The story isn’t going to change, so why?
Nostalgia is a very strong emotion and it courses through our veins. You see it everywhere nowadays. In the remakes, the prequels, sequels to old series, reboots of series. It’s everywhere. It’s also one of the reason I pick up old books again. Some series I’ve read several times now, but it’s the Harry Potter series that made me realise how strong nostalgia is. The books aren’t really that good. Especially the first few. Nostalgia often clouds our judgement and makes the things we loved years ago seem better than it really was. Sometimes it’s a good thing, but often it’s misplaced. Re-reading can be good, just to get in touch with that feeling again. Maybe you still love it as much as you did before, but don’t feel bad if your opinion changes.
My brain isn’t working with me right now, so re-reading a book I already know is easier than reading a complicated book for the first time. That’s why I’m re-reading the Wicca series by Cate Tiernan right now. The story over the whole series is complicated, but the books are short and I still remember mostly what happened even if the details are vague. I don’t have to figure out relationship dynamics, political structures, or complex words. Going back to the series is like meeting old friends.
The different times in your life will give you different perspective. You’ll find other things or themes that pop out, ones that resonate with you more now. Maybe you’ll see undertones that weren’t visible before. Or you see the jokes or hidden symbols. Maybe you’re in a better mood now, or a mood that doesn’t fit the book at all. Every time I read The Night Circus there is new magic to enchant me. Things I didn’t pick before. Maybe it’s the same as re-watching The Matrix. You know the twist and now you’re looking for clues that hint at the twist. Sometimes it’s nice to analyse a story like that.
It’s a risk to re-read a book too. You might not like it anymore. Maybe you’ll take it off your favourites list. It happens, and that’s okay. You’re growing and changing as a person, your reading tastes might change too. Don’t feel bad about that. You’ll find new ones.
What about you? Do you re-read books? What is the latest book you re-read?