The Joys of Rereading


There are all sorts of readers in the world. Escapists, discoverers, arm-chair travelers, and so on. Readers may find themselves in one, or several, of these groups.

There is one small subgroup of readers, however, that you either belong to or you don't: rereaders.

Those who are not rereaders may be baffled that some spend precious minutes that could be used to read something new perusing a book for a second, or even fifteenth, time. Rereaders may feel just as baffled that others wouldn't want to immerse themselves in a beloved or remarkable story multiple times.

But with all of the books out there, who has the time to reread?!?

Rereading usually happens around the holidays (oh, the nostalgia of the holidays) or when a reader is in a certain mood. Rereading also helps readers out of reading slumps.

But still, why reread? There are other ways to cure reading slumps, other ways for a new book to satisfy a mood.

There is nothing like the joy of reading a book for the first time; however, first-read thrills can't always compete with the joys found in a well-loved story. There is joy in the comfort of revisiting a story, joy in better understanding a book, and joy in deep familiarity with a world found between the pages.

Those who reread for comfort simply feel at home in a certain book's world. These are the books we return to when we're stressed out, overwhelmed (or underwhelmed), or just need a lift. They help us grapple with disappointed hopes or difficult times. They remind us that the world contains both sorrow and beauty, pain and joy.

Those who reread for understanding reread in order to grasp the nuance or details of a book. These books usually hold a significant place in the life of the reader. They've caused paradigm shifts or made the reader look at the world in a wholly new way. These kinds of revelations, of course, require deeper thought and a careful understanding of the journey on which these books take the reader.

Those who reread for familiarity can quote from these beloved books, they know them so well. People who are fans of a book can recite the most famous parts, but those with true familiarity can call up lines or whole passages for fitting situations or as a way to connect with others who share the same love for that text. 

What do you reread and why?