21 thoughts on “Why do we Reread?

  1. I’ve reread quite a few novels and short stories, and those are the ones that really resonate with me, that connect with me in a way that they never really leave. They’re always there, and going back to them is like visiting an old friend and discovering things you may not have known (picked up) on your last visit. My last reread was Clive Barker’s ‘Cabal’ (love this story), and my next reread will be Raymond E Feist’s ‘Magician’.

    • I reread ‘Magician’ every couple of years, love it! 🙂

      So could it be a certain time period / time you read the work, that can to it’s appeal? For me it definitely is, some of my childhood/teen ‘classics’ never grow old for me – The Hobbit is one easy one that comes to mind

  2. Hi, Ashley! This is a great question. I think I am still trying to unravel the answer to this, though I am coming to realize that the authors/poets I come back to are typically haunted by the same themes/obsessions as I am. It’s taken me years to understand the “why” behind this. I think that for me, the works I want to re-read are the ones that give language to how I experience the world and how it feels to be human. They somehow capture the tension and fragility we exist in on a daily basis. I could spend pages talking about aesthetics, but I’ll leave it at that. Thanks for sparking a great conversation. The poets I always come back to: Li Young Lee, Jane Kenyon, Linda Pastan, to name a few. Also, John Steinbeck’s novel “East of Eden” is one that I could read continually for the rest of my life and probably extract some new insight with each reading. Would love to hear your own answer to this question. Take care, Libby.

    • Thanks, Libby 🙂
      Ah, I can see that in myself as well. Questions of loyalty seem to feature in a lot of work I read, and travel. And I like the idea too, that we read to be reminded of our humanity, yeah.
      Haiku definitely does it for me, but I have to keep thinking for a proper answer – although, actually now that I’m typing, one other springs to mind – Hogfather by Terry Pratchett, always makes me laugh! Will keep thinking 🙂

  3. I rarely read a novel.
    Sometimes short stories.
    I do return quite often to poems though and to non-fiction.
    I therefore think that for me to return to a novel is to believe that the changes in me since the first/last time I read it can be reflected by the words on the paper. To say it differently, I hope the words will illuminate for me changes I haven’t notice, I hope to learn something new, that I wasn’t ready for before.
    It is more often happen to me with non fiction or with poetry which I find that I can interpret differently even a day later.
    I am not sure if a novel can offer that (I am sure a good one can) but it would have to be H U G E to be worth the rereading.

    • I like that, Dhyan – if it illuminates change in the reader.

      Maybe it’d be easiest when rereading a book we first encountered when we were young, and then again later as adults? For instance, I know I felt differently toward certain characters in Great Expectations first and second time around.

      Thanks for the reblog too! 🙂

      • Yes. But easist isn’t better. Most of the time. And we are changing a lot too between 22 & 34, for example.
        I am actually more happy to realise i am able to read into a different depth from paar years before rather then when i was a boy. Though if i still enjoy a book it is awesom. Like 35 May. Esch generation can enjoy it and discover new layrs in it

  4. Books that I re-read always have 3 things in common:

    -The language which the author uses is fluid and expressive. This makes reading a pleasure and an experience which is effortless.

    – The narrative has so many layers that each time you read, you understand it more and more and more.

    – Characters OR themes which I connect with. I’ve never re-read a book about a character or situation I don’t identify with.

    I think ‘re-readability’ is the mark of a true author.

    • Thanks for your post, anonyme 🙂

      Great criteria, I think I feel quite the same. Especially if I couldn’t even empathise with a character/theme, I’d not reread it.

      Any particular books come to mind?

  5. I re-read books that I want to experience again, usually a long time after I read them the first time. Books that gave me a good feeling, usually, that I remember with fondness. The last one I re-read was a Terry Pratchett (surprise surprise), ‘Monstrous Regiment’. The one before that was Terry Brooks’ ‘Magic Kingdom for Sale’.

    • Hi Cheryl, thanks for a great answer, I agree – re-visiting the good feeling is a big draw for me too, reading is sometimes like a great film that lasts SO much longer than an actual film, so it’s hard for me not to enjoy that experience 🙂

      What did you think of Magic Kingdom for Sale? I LOVE the premise but half-expected more comedy (not that it was un-funny). How about you?

      • I did expect it to be more of a humorous novel, seeing the blurb and the cover, but once I got into it, I found the humour to be more subtle. I still enjoyed it.

        And yes, I find re-reading a novel a lot like re-watching a favourite film. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve watched Labyrinth and still laugh and smile at the same places. 🙂

        • Me too – and I did read a few of the others. I love the story of his editor goading Brooks into writing it by suggesting it wasn’t the right project for him 🙂

          Yes! And for me another one has to be The Goonies. Or Drop Dead Fred. Or Rear Window – I pretty much adore it!

  6. I re read initially cause I’ve got a dreadful memory and almost always forget a book after the first read through. What I won’t forget is the feeling it gives me, be that good or awesome (usually not bad cause I won’t finish books that are bad) so I’ll want to revisit for that reason initially.
    If I do remember or if I’ve already read more than once, then it’s cause I want to visit old friends, characters that I care about and miss. I’m another huge magician fan and have revisited pug and Thomas numerous times, as I have with dragonlance, crystal shard and many others. They never get old, they never get boring and I always cry and laugh at the same bits (tasslehoff anyone?). In fact I’ve just started a re read of peter v Brett’s ‘a painted (warded) man’.

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