Friday, February 6, 2009

To Reread or Not to Reread?

Do you reread a lot of old favorites, or do you prefer reading new books?

I like a little of both. I estimate that I reread 20 books last year, about 14% of my total reading. I started thinking about why I might revisit a book. I tend to reread:
  • Complex stories
  • Earlier books in a series
  • Familiar and beloved stories
  • Audiobooks

I listen to an audiobook before I go to bed at night, and I find that if I fall asleep or my attention wanders, it's easier to pick up the story if I already know it. So I often listen to old favorites like The Chronicles of Narnia or Anne of Green Gables. Other times, I'm just in the mood for a familiar favorite, a "comfort read" where I know exactly what I'm in for. When a new book in a series comes out, especially if it's been over a year, I often need to reread the earlier books to remember what's happening. And of course there are those stories that are complicated and practically beg to be reread just to understand what happened (in my opinion, The Thirteenth Tale is one of these).

I've also realized that I reread more as a child than I do now. I didn't have easy access to new books, depending on allowance and my parents' driving me to the library or a bookstore. I read more of my own books then, and I had a limited number to turn to. Now, my rereading is mostly in small doses, less than one in five of the books I chose last year and primarily audiobooks.

So if you reread books, why? When do you?

And if you don't reread, why? Did you ever, or do you think you will?

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