I saw someone raising this question today on social media: do you re-read books?
My answer: yes, and frequently.
Why I pick up a book for the first time is almost always related to book reviews. But the reasons why I re-read that same book are not. Here’s why:
- I may not have been ready for the book in the first place and have placed it aside. This sometimes happens when the theme comes too close for comfort.
- The author may have introduced too many characters within the first three chapters and I felt I needed a spreadsheet to follow along. This mindset can change over time.
- The author’s writing style might be on my mind more now that the story has sank in and I am still wondering how they put everything together so seamlessly.
- The characters may have evolved in a manner that I did not foresee in the beginning so looking back by re-reading, I discover elements or character traits that I missed before.
- If a movie has been made about the book, I often re-read to compare. I get it that with movies we are talking about different media. Perfect example, I re-read Tolkien after the movies came out. I was much better able to voice what I did and did not like, why, and how the Tolkien descriptions sometimes worked better than the CGI.
- After a few years, your outlook on life may have changed. Interests change too so a book that held your attention at age 20 may not work at age 45.
- Breaking news, an author’s death, a discovery in anthropology, etc., can all cause renewed interest.
So, do you ever re-read a book?