Autumn is one of the best months for reading not because you can curl up with a blanket, but because the weather is so wet and miserable you can’t quite muster the motivation to go outside. I find I read more in these months than I do for the rest of the year. However, this means that the autumn months can get a tad expensive with all that extra book buying and that’s not ideal as a student. But this got me thinking, why don’t I just re-read some of my old books? It makes sense, after all my books only collect dust on my shelf and make me sneeze.
After flicking through some of my old books, and not really getting anywhere reading wise, I began to wonder if there were any downsides to reading my old books. I was obviously struggling to get through them, so something had to be wrong. This then lead me down the rabbit hole of the debate with re-reading books, where I think I got a decent enough understanding of it to apply it to my own reading and summaries it for you guys. I don’t think this debate is anywhere near as large as some others in the book community, but either way I hope you enjoy my break down of the pros and cons of re-reading books.
It can get you out of a reading slump
I mentioned this in a previous post rereading books is a great way to get out of a reading slump. If you’re struggling with getting back into picking up books, then I’d recommend finding a book you read before (and hopefully enjoyed) and giving that a read. Rereading a book can give you a sense of familiarity and then rekindle the passion for books once more.
You get to experience a book all over again
One book I love to read time and time again is Uprooted by Naomi Novik, it has to be one of my favourite books of all time. Picking up an old book on your bookshelf gives you the opportunity to rediscover and re-experience the book you once loved. I also find it fascinating to see how I’ve grown throughout the years. A character I disliked in the past is now someone I can empathises with.
We often find comfort in the familiar
Sometimes it’s nice to go back what you find familiar. We often find a sense of comfort in familiar things. This is especially prevalent in today’s times when there’s a lot of uncertainty and stress. Every now and then we just need something familiar, for me that familiar comes in the form rereading the Harry Potter series. If you have a book that you found comforting the child or teenager always worth picking up and giving it read once more, you’re feeling stressed or anxious, might find some peace in its familiarity.
I think this has to be the most obvious positive to rereading books. If you are reusing something you already own that means not spending any money. As a result, saving money in the long run.
Lets talk about the negatives
You may not enjoy it as much as the first time
I don’t know about you, but I have a habit of remembering the positives as much as possible, I only like to see the good in things. This mindset transfers over to my reading habits as well can be a source of disappointment on occasions.
Sometimes you just remember the good bits and forget the bad parts. I’ve picked up books that I thought I enjoyed the first time around, but then part way though come to a character that I remembered I couldn’t stand. Not only has this put a damper on the book as I’m reading it now, but my memory of the book is now somewhat tainted. No longer do I just remember the good parts; I know remember the annoying character or the massive plot hole because they’re fresh in my memory.
It will lack suspense
Chances are you’re still going to remember those main plot points in the book. You may not remember them all as soon as you start reading, but the further you get into the book the more your memory of it will come back. A major down side to this is that the book is just going to lack that same level of suspense you had when your first read the book.
You can get stuck reading the same genre
It wasn’t until I got to University that I realised I was well and truly stuck on the YA genre. It was exceptionally rare that I ventured out of it. It didn’t help that I was re-reading the same books repeatedly either.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s perfectly ok to stay in one genre and just enjoy that, but you may be missing out on some great books elsewhere. If you keep re-reading the same book over and over again, you’re not going to be trying anything new.
There’s a higher chance of getting bored
Once I start reading a book, even if it’s one I’m reading for the second time, I feel like I must finish it. I’m not really keen on stopping reading a book mid-way through. This habit is particularly annoying when it comes to reading a book I’ve finished before. I’ve mentioned above that re-reading books can lack suspense; you know all the cliff hangers and you can get stuck reading the same genre. All of that comes down to the notion that you can just get bored of the book.
You can get bored reading any book, but there is a significantly higher chance that it’ll happen with a book you’ve read before. If you’re capable of putting down a book down you’re board of (I envy you for that ability) then this isn’t all that bad of a thing. However, if you’re like me and feel like you HAVE to finish each book you read, just be aware you’re more likely to get bored of your re-reads.
What are your thoughts on the matter? Do you like re-reading books as often as you can or are you itching to get your hands on a new book after ever finished read? At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong way to read, as long as you’re enjoying it you do you. Personally, I found I really struggle with re-reading books, they simply don’t hold my attention well enough. Yes, there are times I will pick up an old book, but in general it’s just not for me.