What Makes You Re-read a Book?

I’ve talked a bit about how I struggle to re-read these days as a blogger but today I’m curious WHAT it is about a book that makes you decide to reread when you do? There’s always a bazillion new books coming out and even more that you haven’t read that have already been published years and years ago so the choice to re-read is a very deliberate one.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what calls out to me in a book to be re-read. There are, without a doubt, books I really liked but I could never see myself reading them again. I’ve been looking at the books I’ve been drawn to re-read and I’ve come to some conclusions about myself and what things make me re-read a book or at least on my list of books to re-read:

1. It’s a comfort thing: There are some books that just make me feel so safe and secure. That might sound weird but I find myself able to just get lost in certain books that I loved before — it feels like getting wrapped in a big, comfy blanket. A lot of times it’s cute, happymaking stories but other times it is just a childhood book that makes me nostalgic. Knowing a book won’t break my heart sometimes is what I need.

2. A lot of the books I reread are ones that were of the more life-changing variety: I tend to gravitate back to those books that I felt had so much wisdom in them — those passages that I just dog-earred forever. (Shhh..you know I commit book crimes). I want to go back and relive all those moving words that changed my life or made me think. I just want to feel moved and inspired again so I decided to pick these kinds of books up. I just KNOW I’m going to glean more from these kinds of books that I might have not have the first time around.

3. I want to re-visit characters I really connected with: There are some characters that I just can’t help but stop thinking about even years later and I have to just re-read their story.

4. I tend to revisit the more quiet books: I love plot-based, action-y novels where a lot is going on but, for me, MOST of the time I don’t have the desire to reread it again unless it’s an all time favorite and it’s been a long time in between now and my first reading so I might not be as keen on the details. But a lot of the time it’s the quiet books I come back to. They had a decent enough plot the first time around but there was something more in those pages that draw me to it.

5. I don’t tend to reread books in a series unless it’s a favorite book ever: I know a lot of readers will re-read a series before a new book comes out but I just don’t ever do it unless it’s an absolute favorite. I just don’t have that draw to do so. I will sometimes skim so I have a clue of what is going on or look at the last chapter but I rarely do a full reread.

6. I like to re-read a favorite to see how it still stands years later: I like to pick up a book that I deemed a favorite years ago and then reread it to see how it holds up. I like to see how I changed and how that affects how I see the book now. I love this because I see books in new ways and have new thoughts. Sometimes this isn’t always for the best because I see a book maybe as not that great anymore. It could be a case of this.

So now I’m just really curious as to what makes a book something you want to re-read!! Please tell me because I’m sure everyone has such interesting reasons for what makes them re-read and what elements in a book draw them back in! Is it characters? Is it because you loved the story so much? The writing? You love the author? Is it a series reread?

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 28 year old married lady who is in denial that she's actually that old. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating gelato, listening to music with oversized headphones and teaching her niece how to be as awesome as she is.

Comments

  1. I re-read both of the first books in the Mara Dyer and Shatter Me series because I loved them so much and wanted to feel that cliffhanger ending again before starting the second books because I wanted to know exactly why I felt the need to read the second book immediately. If it’s a standalone it is usually because I loved it so much and I want to make sure I still love it the second or third time I read it then I also re-read books if I can’t remember completely what happened at the beginning of the series or if I decide I might like it more than I did the first time I read it. I know as a blogger I constantly tell myself I do not have time to re- read a book even if I loved it but I am trying to change that :)

    • It’s so hard to get rid of that nagging voice telling us not to re-read!! Also, sometimes I totally will reread just the cliffhangery ending of a book before going into the new one. YOU JUST HAVE TO. And then you remember how you were reduced to tears or shock and then you get even more giddy because you have the new book in your hand!!

  2. I re-read mostly for number 6, but I haven’t done much re-reading since I started blogging either. The only exception is the Curse Worker’s Series by Holly Black audiobooks. I listened to each of these audios 2 or 3 times last year. It was really fun to go back and be able to detect the foreshadowing and references. It also helped me better understand the end of the series, I noticed things I hadn’t noticed before.

    I really want to do more re-reading, especially of some of my old favorite books.

    • Yes I love seeing all the foreshadowing too and all the little things you never REALLY noticed before because you were so swept up into the story!

  3. I’m not much of a rereader, but I did find myself rereading a few books this year and the end of last year. I told myself I was only rereading them to review them, since I didn’t the first time around, but it was more than that. I did want to review them, but all of the books that I reread were ones that I really enjoyed (4 and 5 stars) and wanted to share my love! Before that they were just books that I loved and they were only in my head, but now they’re out there so people can see why I loved them!

    I have a huge list of books that I want to reread to review. Most of them are series that I started awhile ago, so it’ll also serve as a refresher for the new books. :)

    Sadly, I’ve never gotten the urge to just reread for fun. There’s so many new-to-me books that I want to get to instead. Plus, I’m in the habit of donating books when I finish them, and I use the library a lot, so rereading isn’t always convenient.

  4. I think for me it’s numbers 1+3. I generally reread character driven books vs action driven books. I’m also embarrassingly likely to reread if there’s a great romantic story line. I’ve read Fan girl 3 times since it was released 2 months ago.

  5. I agree with the comfort-blanket thing. That’s what make me re-read the most. Often it’s my fave novels from high-school, that I know I’ll read really quickly, like my Tamora Pierce books. I’ve also re-read books via audiobook, because I can do that and do other things, like housework, and still feel like I’m reading. I don’t tend to series re-read when the next one comes out, with the exception being Harry Potter. I did re-read those before Deathly Hallows came out.

  6. I usually don’t reread books, with some exceptions. I’m not much of a speedreader so I’m not able to finish as many books as I would like. So because my wishlist is bigger than my read count each year, I tend to choose new books over books I’ve already read. The only exception for me are reasons 2 & 3 on your list, but then again there aren’t many books in those 2 groups for me, just a few that really made me change how I think and made me cry because I relate so much. I picked those books up because I needed the reminder again!

    At the beginning of this year I have also reread Under the Never Sky in time for TTEN to come out, because I’d heard that that could be helpful because TTEN continues straight from UTNS without reminding the reader about little bits from the last book. While I liked rereading UTNS (it’s one of my all time favorites) I don’t think I will do it again with other series. Or maybe only with series where I read the first one years ago and can’t remember anything when I want to read the sequels (I’m bad with reading the other books in a series like you, so this could really be something I’d see happening).

  7. I’m a huge re-reader. Like you, I don’t do that much anymore since I started blogging. I’ve thought a lot about the books I tend to re-read, too, and for me, the books I usually re-read are the easy, comfortable ones. There’s this one book, Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz, that I have re-read a zillion times. I liked this book when I first read it. I liked it a lot. But it isn’t anything new, and it isn’t perfect, and it isn’t really life-changing either. But I keep coming back to it, over and over. It’s just so comfortable. I’m not worried that something terrible will happen to the characters, I’m don’t have to worry about the getting really upset. Those are usually the types of books I re-read.

    As for series, I was never one to re-read the whole series before the next book came out. I never even did that with Harry Potter (how’s your challenge going?). I have re-read Harry Potter, because I love it and it’s the best series ever, but I’ve never re-read just because the next book is coming out.

    Sometimes I do re-read a book because it spoke to me in some way, but that’s very rare. I’m not really sure why that is. For me, the books I usually end up craving to read again, are the simple, comfortable ones without a lot os emotional upheaval involved.

  8. I never re – read a book i dont know why i just never have. I have kept a few old classics that i loved but i have never re – read them maybe when i am older.

  9. I like to re-read for many of these same reasons. A lot of the times it’s for comfort-all those books I read when I was growing up that made me fall in loving. Other times it’s because I just loved the world and characters so much I would rather revisit them then read something new. Or sometimes I’ll reread because I’m in a slump and rereading something I know I love will help bring me out of it. Other times its simply because I feel like there were bits I missed, or the sequel is about to come out and I realize that I don’t remember much from the first books or books. And sometimes I reread just because it feels like a crime to have all these books sitting on my shelves gathering dust.

  10. I think #1 and $5 and my main reasons. I rarely reread books but I did reread all 3 of the first books in the Mortal Instruments series at least twice. I just love them so much and couldn’t get enough of the characters. I will reread something if it’s comforting and makes me really happy. I feel like I will reread Fangirl pretty soon for that very reason.

  11. you know I am such a big advocate of the re-read – the vast majority of my reading is of books I’ve already read. For me, especially, it’s a comfort thing. Opening the pages of one of your favourite books is like being reunited with your very best friend; you’re so so happy to see them and you know that you’re going to enjoy every second you spend with them. Nothing can beat that feeling. Nothing. Not even the crisp smell of a brand new book with promises of adventure, love, laughter. Not even when you know there are so many books you want to read and so little time to read them in. I don’t have a lot of spare time for reading, so when I do, I want my falling apart copy of the time travellers wife or my food splattered copy of the philosophers stone. I want my books that not only tell their own stories but also the stories of my life, of my time spend in their pages. I want that comforting presence of knowing I am in the company of friends, and oh, how much fun we will have together.

  12. I hardly ever re-read, but when I do it’s for the same reasons you mentioned. For instance, I just re-read TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD because I loved it when I first read it and I knew it was one of those wisdom-filled books. I also re-read HUNGER GAMES and CATCHING FIRE before MOCKINGJAY came out, just so I could remember the story and characters better.

  13. Mostly I reread books if a new book in the series is about to come out. But I only reread books that are my absolute favorites. If not, I’ll read the recaptain on it or like you, just skim through real quick to refresh my memory. I also like to reread books that had a huge impact on my life and classics like Pride and Prejudice. I used to reread all the time, but then I started blogging and now I just don’t have the time to. Which is good and bad in a way. I like that I’ve been introduced to all these new awesome books, but I also miss being able to sit back, take my time, and reread a book. Because when I reread books, I find things that I missed the first time. Or I can look at a book differently because I’ve changed.

  14. I love re-reading! Sadly, I haven’t had much time for it lately, but it’s definitely one of my resolutions for next year.

    Anytime a new Harry Potter book came out, my friends and I would all re-read the previous books (haha & that definitely took some time toward the end!). It’s been years since I last read any of the books, so a re-read is seriously in order! It’ll be really interesting to see what little details I’ll pick up on now that I know how the story ends/why certain decisions were made/etc,

    For the most part, I re-read when I’m sick. I have some comfort read authors and on those days I’m feeling yucky, I make myself a big cup of tea and curl up with one of my favorite books. :)

  15. For me it’s definitely comfort reads. If a book can make me lose myself in it and escape fully into this other world then I’ll reread it. I normally do this when I’m really stressed and want to pick up a book I know I’ll love.

  16. I love re-reading books. My favorite ones, the ones that I always turn to over the years, are the quiet, melancholic ones because they tend to offer room for thought. It’s interesting to see what my reaction and thoughts change over the years as I mature and have new experiences. A lot of it is for comfort though, since while my life changes, the books do not (the plot, words, etc).

  17. I re-read more than anyone I know, and it’s because I want to spend time with my best friends again.

  18. I used to re-read ALL the time before I started blogging and obviously now…. HAHA. No time ever!
    I think what draws me in to re-read are the books that I FELT. I HAD to re-read all of Gayle Forman’s books because they made me FEEL so much. I fell in love with the characters, the setting, the plot — and they made me realize things about my own life.
    Harry Potter is definitely a comfort read, but also a series that changed my life and one of the series/books that made me a reader.
    I definitely need to read Anna and the French Kiss again because that was another book that I just LOVED and totally connected to. (Add Meant to Be there too!)
    I think my ideas of re-reads get ruined when… say, I loved book one in a series and then the rest just bummed me out.
    Interesting topic!! I loved thinking about it. Yep, when it comes down to it, total personal connection to a book and a book that really hit my heart!

  19. 1, 2, 4, and 5. You basically hit the nail on the head. I re-read books that are my faves, and I usually do it when I’m in a book slump, or when I’ve just read a book that’s disappointed me. I tend to re-read my favourite passages only, and I try to get myself into the feeling that I first got when I read the novel. It’s a comfort, and it’s also an affirmation for me that good writing does exist and what I’m doing matters…or something. =P

  20. I rarely reread & when I do, its like you said about the comfort thing. Usually I’ll want to take a brake from all the new stuff (which can be exhausting) and just revisit a world I’m familiar with. It doesn’t happen a lot because there are SO MANY books out there and SO LITTLE time!!

  21. #1 and #2 are totally me! Some books shake me to my very core and leave me thinking about them for WEEKS. Those are the books that I will reread!

  22. I agree with a lot of your reasons, particularly the comfort feeling/favorite characters/meaningful books. I don’t do a lot of rereading these days, but I am working my way through the Harry Potter series again. I read the series largely as it came out, so over a period of years. I wanted to read the books in a more condensed time period, although it’s now been almost a year since I started (I’m on book four). It has been great to reread knowing the outcome of certain characters/plotlines, and to pick up on all the details I overlooked before. It makes me realize more than ever what an amazing thing J.K. Rowling created with that series!

  23. I agree with you on re-reading for comfort and revisiting old characters that I love and connect with. I also will re-read a book because a sequel has come out and reading so many books in between has made me forget the important details of the series. Similarly, I’ll re-read because a movie adaptation is coming out (i.e. Catching Fire). Recently instead of re-reading for a sequel I’ve taken to listening to the audio book. Generally I don’t like audio books because I worry I’ll tune out an important detail, but for re-reads it works well. I just listened to the audio of Divergent to prepare for Allegiant and it helped my commute in addition to refreshing my memory! :)

  24. This year, I actually reread quite a few books … I never expected to do it! I think it was a comfort thing and this strange pull to want to read something familiar. Since I started rereading books, now I want to reread more. I think I had to get out of the mindset that I could only read new books as a blogger. It’s fun to revisit old ones!

  25. For me, it’s all about the comfort and the characters. The feeling of being swept up in a beloved story and getting to see your favourite characters again? Nothing beats it.

  26. Oh wow, I can agree with all six points you made. And I totally know what you mean about it being a comfort thing, like a nice blanket. I turn to the Sailor Moon manga, Harry Potter, and Annette Curtis Klause for that. :)

  27. You know, I was just thinking about this the other day. I used to re-read A LOT, and I hardly ever do anymore. I think it changed when I got a Nook a couple of years ago. Before when I had time/was in the mood to read, I never wanted to actually go out to a bookstore (20 min drive for me), so I would pick an old friend off of my shelf and read (even if it was just my favorite parts.) Now, though…I have a bookstore (or the library’s ebook collection) available 24 hours a day, so there is always something new waiting for me. I miss re-reading. I miss having books that fall open to my favorite sections because they are so well loved. But on the other hand, I read a lot more books per year now, and I really like that I get to experience all of them (so many books, so little time, you know?). I think I need to find a happier medium.

  28. I used to re-read all the time before I started blogging. Now, not so much. I re-read for all the reasons you list, and also because sometimes I just didn’t know which new book to move on to next and so took extra time to acquire one/decide between a few options by re-reading a favorite in between.
    One thing your post doesn’t mention but affects my re-reading is HOW I re-read. Sometimes I do go and read the entire book again. Other times, however, I’ll re-read certain sections or chapters. In those cases, it’s mainly because I want to feel a certain emotion and I know that reading that part of this book will allow me to feel that way. Like whenever I am depressed/sad and just want to maintain that feeling for a while, I’ll read the ending to The Amber Spyglass. If I want my sadness to be more mingled with hope, I’ll read “The Forest Again” chapter from Harry Potter 7.
    I guess after writing this I’ve realized that I re-read mostly for comfort/certain emotions. I do think re-reading is beneficial and something that should never be looked down upon. Many times authors spend years writing this book, and readers certainly aren’t going to glean all they can from books by only reading them one time. :)

  29. I think #1 and #3 capture my re-reading habits pretty well; I pick up an old book usually because I liked what I felt the first time I read it, whether it’s a sense of security or joy or angst and whatnot. I like your big, comfy blanket analogy because that’s exactly how I feel about most of my re-reads! :)

  30. Completely agree with #3!

    I’ve only re-read one book in my life though. There is just to many other stuff on my TBR.

  31. Totally agree with your list! Those are some good reasons for me to re-read a book. Another one is when I continue a series and need to read the first book again to remember what happens so I won’t be confused in the second book

  32. So, basically, you listed every single reason that I like to re-read books! I think the other reason that I didn’t see on this list is re-reading in preparation for upcoming books in a series. But otherwise, this list is pretty much spot on!

  33. Perfect timing on this post! I am currently rereading Divergent and Insurgent to get ready for Allegiant. I haven’t reread in a long time other than to prepare to teach a book again. I think using goodreads and blogging for a while made me want to only read new books, but I find myself really enjoying reading Divergent and Insurgent again. I used to reread Harry Potter and the Little House books all the time and am starting to remember how enjoyable rereading is. I decided I’m going to count my rereads toward my total number of books read for the year since I am taking the time to read them (and I’m realizing I forgot a lot of things that happened!). I think I will end up rereading Legend too so I can read Prodigy and Champion too! Rereading is underrated :)

  34. I have a few staples that I’ll constantly go and reread again. Julia Quinn’s entire Bridgerton series, the Harry Potter series, the Secret Society Girl series — mostly for the plots and the characters and how much I love love love them. I haven’t gone back and reread much else, though sometimes I’m tempted to. There are just so many other books out there I haven’t read yet that I don’t want to spend my time with books I’ve already loved! (Sometimes, but not always.)

  35. I have to admit to rereading before a new book in the series comes out. Firstly it’s a good opportunity to reacquaint myself with the characters and serves as a reminder about what’s happened in the series already. Secondly, it also means I might glean some of the clues that are frequently hidden throughout the books and so I can develop some theories about what’s going to come next. Lastly, it’s just a good excuse to reminisce and remember where you were when you read it, and how you found it, and all the shocking things that happened in the series. I’d say that I’d only do this sparingly, with something special to me like Harry Potter or the Obernewtyn Chronicles, otherwise I’d always be rereading.

    I also tend to reread before the movie comes out (if one comes out), like just now I reread the Hunger Games trilogy, before Catching Fire comes out. Again, another excuse for a reread, and also makes me more excited to go and see the movie. But I do feel guilty about rereading, since I know I’ve got about 40 books on my shelves waiting to be read for the first time, and here I am spending all this time with books I’ve read before!

    As for single books, I guess I’m the same and I only reread when it was special.

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