Reading and rereading

I very rarely reread books – my theory is that I’m not going to live long enough to read everything I want to, so why waste time on stuff I’ve read already? – but know there are a lot of people here who do. I’m curious to know how many, though.

Poll coming, hang on a minute.

Mainly due to my genre preferance. I prefer SF&F (emphasis on the F), and these days my collection is better than a typical library locally. That combined with the escalating price of books has me re-reading old favorites quite often.

Most new books that I buy tend to be latest releases of an author I am already into.

However, I intend to get a kindle for my upcoming birthday, and that should change the equation somewhat.

There is always new, cutting-edge non-fiction to read. But I’m getting to the point where I re-read some classic novelists whose work I find so much more rewarding than the average new attempt that the risk/reward game is in their favor.

I should reread books more, but I do pick at least one favorite to reread each year. I often discover things I never noticed.

I have read The Catcher in the Rye three times and I believe it is the only thing I’ve reread. The most recent reading of it was after having not read it for about 12 years.

I reread a lot of my favorites because I love them and I want to enjoy them again. I don’t know why someone wouldn’t reread a book they loved - people listen to a great album more than once. It depends on the type of book, though. A suspenseful thriller definitely loses a lot once you know the butler did it, but a well-written novel can be a pleasure to read over and over. It’s like art, or music, or poetry, you don’t just enjoy it once.

I mostly read new books (from the library), and I tend to read my oldies when I run out of new material. My rule about buying books is actually based on rereadability. If I enjoy a book and I know I will read it again, I’ll buy it. So almost everything on my bookshelf has been read more than once.

There are a few books I reread every couple of years: To Kill A Mockingbird, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Young Men and Fire, Beautiful Swimmers. I have reread several books by David Foster Wallace; the essays because I love the writing and enjoy feeling like I’m in contact with an amazing mind, and two novels because there is so much in them that once was just not enough.

I love re-reading good books, but an honest look at my habits over the last few years proves I don’t do it often. I use the library a lot, and buy books very rarely, so anything on my shelves is probably something I’d be willing to read over and over.

I reread constantly. You’re always coming upon new things you missed the first time around, and besides, a good book is like an old friend - always there for you.

I very rarely reread, but it’s not a matter of underlying philosophy as it is an inclination. My best guess about why I don’t want to reread is that one of my favorite things in fiction is the move from ignorance to knowledge (I’m kind of a fanatic about no spoilers, and I won’t even read the blurb on a book for this reason). When I reread a book, I don’t get to take that journey, so it lacks some of the delicious appeal of a book whose contents are a mystery to me.

I’ll reread most books I enjoy at least once. I often enjoy the second reread almost as much as the first, as it often takes a couple reads or views to lock stories into my memory properly. I’ve re-read a few favorites several times.

I used to only re-read a handful of beloved favorites, but I appear to be reaching an age at which my memory of stuff I read 15-20 years ago is growing dim, so sometimes I’ll re-read that stuff too, just because I remember having enjoyed the book but no longer remember much of anything else about it. (God, I hope this is something most people experience and isn’t a sign of some kind of impending memory disorder. I worry about these things.)

I love rereading books. If the story was good the first time, it will be good later. There are some books I have read dozens of times, loving every rereading.

I’m trying to reread most of the books that are still in my possession. If I reread and enjoy it, it makes the cut. If I reread and don’t enjoy it, to Goodwill it goes.

Of the four books I’m currently reading, one is a reread.

I often reread books I’ve bought. My wife never buys books and never rereads.

Right, so I answered ‘never.’

However, I have re-read a few YA novels - to share them with my kids. And I’m realizing I have forgotten a lot about Huck Finn since I read it in high school, so my ‘never’ is about to change, even for ‘grownup’ books.

I picked “Sometimes”. I have a few favorites that I’ve read many times. Occasionally I’ll re-read a book if I haven’t read it in many years. Sometimes I’ll re-read an earlier book when a sequel is released, to refresh my memory.

For instance, I’m slowly (2-3 books a year) making a third pass through the Aubrey-Maturin series, because they’re just that good. I’m going to try to re-read A Game of Thrones before the HBO series starts in April. I’m reading All Creatures Great and Small out loud to my family now - that’s one of the ones I’ve read a dozen times.

Re-Read a Book? Re-Watch a Movie or TV show? All a complete waste of time. I will admit to re-listening to a song.

Lately, the effects of work-related ridiculousness has been mitigated by re-reading some of Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Wooster books. They’re like old friends.

There is a definite upside here. I hope this is normal, as there are many books and movies I’d like to mostly scrub from my memory, so I can re-read/re-watch them with the same pleasure I originally got from them.

Many book take multiple readings to appreciate properly. However, that’s not the main reason I re-read, it’s mostly for entertainment or relaxation, whereas reading a new work is more demanding. Ideally, I’d read more original stuff (in the poll I put 50-50), but I don’t always have the energy, and picking up a new book is always something of a lottery. I can be quite fussy, and have to be in the right mood to enjoy some things.