Do you Re-Read Books or Not?

So I saw a tweet the other day from agent Bridget Smith (who I highly suggest you follow, because she’s awesome) about re-reading books that got me thinking.


I totally agree with her. Last year I didn’t read nearly as many books as I usually do. And at least half of the ones I did read were books I’d already read before. In some ways that’s a bad thing – I have hundreds of new books on my Kindle I was dying to read, books I’d been looking forward to and haven’t got around to yet.

But I realized something after reading Bridget’s tweets. I’m ok with that.

Last year was rough for me both at work and in writing. And when that happens, I tend to dig in, to nest, to want familiar and comfort around me. And re-reading books I know I love helps with that.

I’ll tell you a secret. Sometimes reading new books stresses me out. What if I hate it? What if something bad happens to these characters I’ve spent time with? What if the ending sucks or someone dies? (I have a book I was so excited to read but I haven’t, because I heard a character I fell in love with died. Yeah, I couldn’t handle it.) Or it’s just meh? Sometimes I just get overwhelmed with the thought of getting involved in these stranger’s lives, even if it’s only for 300 pages – feeling their angst and pain and worry. Sometimes I don’t want to go through the stress of will they make it?

And sometimes, I just want to catch up with people I’ve already met. I already know their story is a good one, one that makes me sigh with happiness or cry with cathartic tears. I already know what’s going to happen, so I don’t need to worry that I’m going to hate the book or waste my time.

There’s a comfort for me in re-reading. And like Bridget says, it’s like meeting old friends, it might be a little less exciting, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy it. Some of my favorites to re-read are Watership Down, The Chronicles of Narnia books, The Lord of the Rings books, any Julia Quinn regency romance, M.M. Kaye or Mary Stewart romantic suspense. And of course my favorite children’s books – Anne of Green Gables, A Wrinkle in Time, The Westing Game and so on. I have a lot of favorites 🙂

How about you guys? How do you feel about re-reading? And what are some of your faves?




  1. Half the time, re-reading is ALL I do. I’ve been putting off starting A Clash of Kings for the exact reasons you said–it’s too stressful, and I don’t know if I have the energy to invest in another 800+ page book with characters I love but know will most likely eventually bite the dust (or otherwise).

    Soooo I just re-read the books I’m comfortable with, and that gets me through. ^_^

    (And favorite books to re-read? Harry Potter and the Hunger Games are the big ones, but I like re-reading most of the YA books I’ve bought recently.)

    • OMG I don’t know how I forgot Harry Potter or The Hunger Games! Gahhh! Yes, total re-reads of mine too!

    • I reread Chessie’s books. I need them to be published so they can physically be on my shelf.

  2. I love rereading, but I don’t do it as much as I used to because I get too excited to try new books. But sometimes, when whatever I’m reading is slow, or I just feel like embarking on a familiar journey instead of a new one, rereading is the best experience. My favorite ones to reread are the lighter contemp books, like ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS, AUDREY, WAIT!, and THE BOOK OF LUKE, though JELLICOE ROAD pretty obviously begs to be reread. I read THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE two days in a row and I’m sure I’ll be rereading that one too in the nearish future!

  3. Yes, yes, yes.

    I reread the Harry Potter books at least once a year, and I sift through them outside of that too in preparation for my annual Potter Party and Trivia Tournament 😉

    Jo Rowling actually said something about this once that totally resonated with me on both sides of the issue. It was something like… reading, for her, means the ability to escape into a place where you’re happy and comfortable. Like a sanctuary. And that if her books can do that for anyone, she’ll have done her job right. (Or something.) I feel the same with reading, and have the same hopes for writing. <3

  4. I re-read way more than I new-read. I’m always very skeptical of new books and they quite often turn out to be a waste of my time. And If a book is any good at all, you can always find something new on a second (or third or twentieth) pass.

  5. This is one of the issues with having a book review blog… I LOVE to reread books that I loved the first time around, blogger guilt gets to me because I feel like I SHOULD be reading my next review book.

    But I love finding new things to love in my favorites on a new read. Anna and the French Kiss is one that I LOVE to reread.

  6. I’m totally cool with re-reading and actually wish I did it more, but I’m a very slow reader and my friends say I have a ridiculous elephant memory. So it takes me a lot of time to read in general, and with my memory thing, a reread can lose some of its appeal because I REMEMBER so much of the book. Plus, when I re-read, I don’t just read the good parts; I will read a book all the way through from beginning until the end. Although, I do just reread the good parts sometimes, but I don’t really count that as a true reread.

    So with so many new books I want to get into, it becomes a very real question of where I want to spend my (sadly) limited time. But like you said, rereads are nice because it IS like seeing old friends again, and the really good books can always teach you something about writing (and life) and I do often find details I missed or new meanings in stories when I come back to them at an older age.

    The early Harry Potter books are some of the few I’ve reread (Azkaban’s my favorite and I’ve been through it 3 or 4 times). I’ve also read The Odyssey by Homer in a few different incarnations multiple times. I’m due for a full reread of my favorite book The Last Unicorn (I’ve reread bits and pieces of it) and Ray Bradbury’s From the Dust Returned. 🙂