To reread or not to reread is one of the biggest issues book lovers can face. Rereading takes up time you could be reading any of the millions of books out there, so it can seem inefficient and a kick in the eye to the pile of unread books on the shelf. I begin with the caveat that at the moment I am not rereading very much because Goodreads won’t accept my rereads as part of my year’s books and I’m trying to double my year’s challenge on there and read 100 by the end of 2016. However, I do like to reread and am going to explain why.
Firstly, rereading allows you to savour details that you missed the first time, to take in foreshadowing and hints that didn’t make sense originally, and to generally enjoy elements that an initial read may not have caught. Books are long and full of words, so it is unlikely that a single read will allow you to notice them all. For favourite books especially, rereading a few times can really cement its merits in your mind and allow you to think about it whenever you want.
For the books that were less than favourites, rereading can allow for new perspectives. Maybe with time, knowledge, or experience, that hated book will seem a little better. For example, I recommend anyone who hated Frankenstein to try it again, especially literature students who know anything about the Romantics or gothic novels. It can improve massively (my best friend is a graduate student who studies the Romantics and the 18th century and loves Mary Shelley, but she didn’t like it when she first read it).
On the other hand, if you dare to reread a book you really hated, you also might be certain that you hate it, and with that remembrance have a better picture of its flaws to complain to people about or get into arguments about. Admittedly not the best form of rereading unless you’re someone who loves debating books with people.
For students, rereading can be very useful for having new things to say about texts. For general readers, it can enlighten or make books more enjoyable. So go and reread your favourite books, whether that means experiencing the prose style of Lolita again or giving the Harry Potter series another run through in case you missed an extra word or line about your favourite character.