To Re-Read: To Read…. and Then….. Read Again :)

I have seen a couple posts as of late on re-reading.  It really got me thinking about this as book lovers, who usually have more books in-house and on our wish list then we could ever hope to read… what makes people like us drop everything to read a book again?  Certainly you can not have that same “first time” experience again…. yet I am betting each and every one of us has at least one go to book that they hang on to and know they could read it again and again and love it every time.

So why?

For me, I get something a little more out of a book each time I read it.  I may pick up something I missed before, or now knowing how it all turns out, words can take on new meaning, and I can appreciate the author even more for a turn of a phrase, or a clue to something coming that at the time… I did not realize was a clue of things to come. 

I refer to books like these as comfort reads.  Books I can turn to at any time, I know they are there… I know they will satisfy.  I already know I love these books.  Characters can become deeper, more three dimensional the second third and fourth time around.  I now… know them.  Not only do I know what they will do and why they will do it… I go through it all with them. 

What makes me turn to these books, when again, I am surrounded by lovely books yet to be read…

It could be a mood… maybe I am going through something hard in my life and I don’t want to crack the code on a new book… I want to go where the characters are known, where I can enjoy a butter beer (oops… have I said too much?  😉  )  Perhaps I am tired, or in need of an old friend… but time and again I will visit these books.

My list … currently is short.  While I have many books that I keep and feel I may one day re-read… there are few that I actually have. 

The Harry Potter series.  All of them.

Seriously… every time I talk about them I want to read them (like now!).  I can easily go back to Hogwarts any time and see these fantastic characters.  Every year I read at least one of these books.  When book 7 came out I read through it quickly in three days to avoid hearing any spoilers… and then turned around and read it again that same week… more slowly, savoring and enjoying every page. 

Summerhouse is truly a magical read of what if you could go back and make a different choice…  I ADORE this book.  Every time I see it somewhere at a sale I buy it to give to friends.  I personally own two paperbacks of it and two hardcovers, one in large print.  Fantastic book I have read probably 5 times so far…

Dance Upon The Air was our first ever book club pick in August of 2001.  At that time, and to still to this day, I am not a Nora Roberts fan.  Never much of a romance reader….  HOWEVER – this is not Nora’s typical fare…. this series is about three women with powers…. one who doesn’t know she has them (Nell, Dance Upon The Air), one who knows she has them but wished she did not (Ripley, Heaven and Earth) and one who has them, loves the ability to do good…. and embraces them, (Mia, Face The Fire).  For the record…. Mia is also my favorite all time female character.  She is tough, independent, beautiful, and the owner of a book store.  Seriously, what is not to love?  😛  About every couple of years I read this series again… and…. I am about due….

No classics on this list…. yet.  While I have classics I adore (To Kill A Mockingbird), I still love basking in the memory of the story and as of yet, do not wish to dive in again. 

Do you have books that you read time and again?  Why?  What do you get out of them that second and third time around? 

About Sheila (Book Journey)

Bookaholic * Audio Book Fan *Bike Rider *Rollerblader *Adventure Seeker *Runner*Coffee lover *Fitness Fan * Movie junkie

Posted on January 29, 2012, in Book Stuff, Book Thoughts and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 52 Comments.

  1. I used to reread books all the time but since becoming a book blogger, I rarely do. I do reread the Harry Potter books yearly (usually by listening to them on audio and occasionally by rereading the books). I used to reread The Lord of the Rings a lot but I haven’t in a few years. I also have reread Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre several times.

    It is true that you pick up on things with rereading. I’ve definitely noticed that with Harry Potter. Now my TBR pile is so big that I feel stressed if I reread. I am currently rereading A Thousand Splendid Suns but that is because it is a book club pick and I want to refresh my memory. It isn’t a book I’m in the mood for (I want something light and funny) so it is something I have to push myself to do. I do want to reread The Lord of the Rings this year but I may not get to it. There are so many new books that I feel I need to read.

    That Jude Deveraux book looks interesting. I hadn’t heard of it before.

    • My TBR used to stress me out too Christina but I decided I am human and I have a life beyond the books and I am going to read what I am in the mood to read. For the most part that works, this year I have been trying to mix some of the books I have that are my own as well as the TBR ARCS. This has worked so far this year.

  2. I have a shelf that I use only for books I want to re-read. The problem is that I’ve never re-read any of them. But…here’s a list of a few of them:

    Zoya by Danielle Steele
    The Stand by Stephen King
    All of The Left Behind Series by Jerry B. Jenkins & Tim LaHaye
    Still Missing by Chevy Stevens

    I bought Summerhouse and Return To Summerhouse last year because of your rave reviews, but haven’t gotten to them yet. I’m hoping to this year.

  3. Staci@LifeintheThumb

    I loved all of your choices. I am currently re-reading HP for the second time. I am amazed at all that I missed the first time around! 😀 I love Jude’s book..period. But Summer HOuse is wonderful beyond belief. And I LOVED that trilogy by Nora…it was quite simply magical and it is worth reading again!

    • Ahhh Stacy – we love the same books! 😀 When I wrote this post up earlier today I started craving pulling Harry off the shelf… I really shouldn’t – so many to read but I want to… or maybe it should be Summer House…. it has been a while…. 😀

  4. I have plenty of those … these are the books that I keep and don’t give away because I’d love to enjoy them again. The reasons for re-reading are varied depending on the mood but mostly like you said, it’s because I’m comfortable with them … I know what I’m going to get with the book 🙂

  5. Love this post!

    It’s slightly embarrassing how many times I have read the Harry Potter books – I started from book one each and every time a new book or movie came out. And I’m reading it aloud to my seven year old now!

    Little Women is like my wooby of books. The Book Thief is another re-readable book, as is The Hunger Games series.

    I also have a short list of books that I want to re-read…THE NIGHT CIRCUS, EAST OF EDEN, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, and SARAH’S KEY.

    • Not embarrassing at all… I am right there with you Alison! I actually had our Student Pastor come up to me in church today… he and his wife recently borrowed all my Harry Potter movies and he asked me why in the end Voldemort looks like he does and not like he did when he was Tom Riddle…. LOL… he wanted to know if the answer was in the books and thinks maybe he needs to read them 😀

  6. There are very few I have reread, and they are mostly from when I was younger. The Outsiders by SE Hinton I’ve read about 10 times. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and Spring Fancy by Lavyrle Spencer (I loved Jo Jo Duggan!) were a few more from a while ago. But I just feel there are SOOO many books I want to read why invest precious time in something I’ve already read when there’s so much yet to discover!

  7. I think everyone has some re-readable favorites on their shelf. For me it’s scifi classics. I’ve read Asimov’s Foundation Series several times. I’m thinking about re-reading the Ender’s Game books before the movie (the one they’ve been talking about for 20 years) finally comes out. There’s more, but like I said, it’s mostly scifi for me. The only thing that stops me is that there are so many other books I haven’t read yet sitting on the shelf calling to me.

  8. I have some books by author Beth Gutcheon that are like comfort reads for me, especially Still Missing and Domestic Pleasures. I also enjoyed The Summerhouse and have it. Plus there are several from the sixties and seventies by authors like Marge Piercy and Sara Davidson…love their books. (Small Changes – Marge Piercy; Loose Change – Sara Davidson).

    They remind me of a certain time in my life and the discoveries I was making then.

    I recently bought Gone with the Wind and Uncle Tom’s Cabin for rereads, as I read them both over and over when I was young. I’m feeling nostalgic for them….

  9. I’ve never been a big rereader but lately I’ve been rereading a least one if not more books I really liked from highschool/college a year to see what I think of them now. I like doing this as I find I appreciate them even more!

  10. I will definitely be rereading Wither!! But other than that I’m not a huge rereader. Just not enough time in the day for me.

  11. I know I’m a re-reader (used to be more so, but now I feel guilty when I’m re-reading rather than reading the books I’ve been sent or that are on my TBR list). I definitely agree that you can often notice little details on re-reading that you miss on the first (or even the first fifty) reads. I get that all the time when re-reading Tolkien’s books.

    A lot of the time too, the books I go back to are the “comfort books”: Mercedes Lackey et al, for example, for times when I’m just tired or not feeling well.

  12. Life is a Trip looks like a good one. There are some books I would like to read again-but I need to get through the books I want to read first.

  13. Ah, yes, the comforts of rereading! I am currently re-reading Persuasion, my favorite Austen – this is my third time through. I seem to turn to series when it comes to wanting to re-read: Anne of Green Gables, the Mitford series, Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. And, yes, Harry – I just finished a complete reread of the Harry series via audiobook – this time with my kids. It was fantastic sharing it with them that way!

  14. Haven’t re-read a book in a long time, but I used to read Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman at least once a year. Something about that book really speaks to me, but I’ve never been able to successfully explain why. And I love that you mentioned Summerhouse! After I first read that one, I went out and bought several copies to give to friends! Love that book!

  15. Ah, Sheila, I think you know that I am definitely a re-reader deluxe. Your list of books that you read again are all on my list as well. In fact, I re-read THE SUMMERHOUSE last November and just before that one finished reading The Three Sisters Trilogy yet again, for about the 5th time. Shall I tell you how many times I’ve read the Harry Potter books? No, I probably shouldn’t. Re-reading, it’s certainly the thing to do at specific times in one’s life.

  16. Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, Georgette Heyer these have been my re-reads (upto now that is!!!)

  17. I do almost all of my guilty pleasure re-reading with audiobooks. The books that I re-read most often are the Harry Potter books. There’s something about them that is timeless, and even though I know well what is going to happen I look forward so much to my favorite parts, and some of them I can quote along with (like Hermione saying, “Just because you have the emotional range of a teaspoon…”). 🙂

    I hope to re-read some of my favorite Anne McCaffrey books this year too.

  18. I love rereading! Sometimes my opinion changes about the characters and their actions over time, but mostly I reread books to bring back the feelings I had when I read them. 🙂

  19. I had to write down the names of the Nora Roberts-books you listed, because Nora Roberts is my favourite comfy books too. Other than that I can reread Harry Potter and an old teenager-series called Lexi written by Judy Baer.

    There is not enough time to actually reread books, but I believe that sometimes you just have too. I do it when my reading goes slow, or I’m having a bad day. It’s just like saying Hi to an old friend.

  20. Such a good point. Between my shelves, audible, and my kindle I probably have 150+ books that I own but still need to read. And that isn’t event counting all the books I want to buy or borrow from the library. But rereading can just be… so wonderful. Reading a book for the first time is special, but rereading it feels more intimate. It’s like building a friendship with a book. That sounds cheesy. 🙂

    I’ve started rereading a lot more than I used to. These are my picks: Harry Potter (whole series), Georgia Nicholson (whole series), Megan Meade’s Guide to the McGowan Boys, White Cat and Red Glove, Anything by John Green especially The Fault In Our Stars, and Percy Jackson (whole series).

  21. I reread almost nothing. Which makes it extra fun that the one thing I do reread occasionally is The Three Sisters trilogy! I like to read it in October for the kind of magical, witchy vibe.

  22. Ahhh, what an excellent question! I do have some favourites that I love to read or have kept because I know I will read them again. I am in full agreement about Harry Potter! I read and was infatuated with Night Circus and want to read it again. The Help is another I could read again and enjoy it just as much or more. Like you, depending on my mood or what is happening in my life, I have some go to books. JK Rowling is one of those writers whose books do that for me. I also like some of John Grisham’s for the same reason, ie. Pelican Brief, and I have read Black Beauty numerous times. I’m sure there are more in my bookcase that I have overlooked but know they are there when the mood strikes.

  23. There are some books on my shelf that I enjoy re-reading. They offer a sense of “coming home” and comfort. It’s a shame that since I’ve become a book blogger I never seem to have the time to re-read anything! Sigh…

    • It does take balance Laura, I used to just push to read the arcs one after another and then decided if it wasnt enjoyable… why do it? Now I mix it up, an arc and a book off me shelf and occasionally… yup – the re-read 😀

  24. I love to reread even though I don’t do it often enough! I love the Nora Robert’s trilogy that you mentioned and plan on rereading it myself this year at some point 🙂 If you enjoy that one then you should really try her key trilogy. I’m having a hard time remembering the name of the first book but I believe it has key in the title. Maybe..definitely check it out though because it is just as good as the Sister Island trilogy!

  25. I’m a huge re-reader and I call them comfort reads too. Books by Toni Morrison, John Steinbeck, and others are books that I love to savor when I re-read them. Great post.

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