Friday, August 3, 2018

Discussion: Why I DON'T Reread


This Week’s Topic: Why I DON'T Reread


I do a ton of reading challenges, and every time I see "reread" on the list, I automatically cross it out. I am just not a "re-" person in general. Re-watching movies? Nope. Re-watching TV shows? No, again.

In the past, I have mentioned reasons for not rereading.
  • Too many unread books to read. 
  • No surprises in the story, at all. 
  • I would rather engage in a "new" experience. 
All are still valid for me, but I think I also avoid rereading books because of fear. 

My co-blogger, Noor, posted a little discussion over on the WLABB Instagram page. It was about books she doesn't like anymore. Essentially, she revisited some books, which she loved the first time around (in her youth), and found that they were no longer her cup of tea.

I'm literally always revisiting books — whether it's rereading books because I'm stressed the heck out or it's doing some critical thinking after seeing a particularly interesting analysis. And what often ends up happening is that I do a complete 180 on a book I thought I loved — I'm always learning and changing and so are my opinions. • Three books I've spoken positively about but am just not into anymore (though it's totally rad if you love these books!!) are Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, the Divergent series by Veronica Roth, and the Maze Runner series by James Dashner. I really wanted to love the first because I loved Fangirl (and ghosts are lowkey my brand) so I went into it with the mindset that I'd love it. But thinking back, it wasn't that great and the pacing bothered me a lot. The second two, meanwhile, both have similar problems for me. I read them during the heyday of my dystopia phase, and coming out of that bubble made me realize the plot and characterization in these books were paper thin. • I'm thrilled for those who love the books that I don't, but I'm also thrilled for myself for growing and maturing as a reader. What books have you guys loved in the past that you just can't stand anymore? - Noor
A post shared by We Live and Breathe Books (@wlabb) on

This made me think of Salem's Lot, the original movie. I first saw this movie in grade school. I thought it was epically scary. For years, I would tell people how scary this film was. Then, when I was about 17, I watched it again, and was sooooooooo disappointed. It didn't live up to my memory, and re-watching it nullified my original memory, thus, robbing me of something I thought I really enjoyed.

Noor's post led me to reflect on my "re-" hangup, and I have come to the conclusion, that I am afraid of tainting my memories of any of my "read" books. I want to hold fast to the way I felt about them the very first time I experienced them. Maybe I would consider revisiting a story I didn't like, but I will stay away from the books I loved and enjoyed in order to preserve the warm, fuzzy feelings I have for them.

Now it's your turn!

Rereading: Pro or Con? Why? 
Let us know in the comments!

54 comments:

  1. I used to re-read obsessively as a child. It was a comfort thing, I think? Like I read Pride and Prejudice over and over and over and over again...my total count (so sad Goodreads wasn't around back then) must be somewhere around twenty-five re-reads and that wasn't the only one. When I entered all my books into GR, I realised I'd only read about 300 during my childhood even though I devoured like a book a day...but I just would re-read over and over again. So: comfort thing.
    Now as an adult, I'm aware that my time is limited and that I'll never manage to read everything, so now re-reads are rare.
    Also don't make the mistake of reading a book you loved when you were ten, and that you thought was the best book ever written back then...it went very badly for me, haha!

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    1. I know, because I am older, and have a lot of life behind me, something I adored when I was younger just might not make the cut now. I have also read a LOT of other books since then, and I start to question the quality of what I read. I do get the comfort in a re-read. I think it's the same reason my daughter loves to re-watch her favorite movies from her youth, but time is such a precious commodity, and there are so things/books I want to experience, while I am still on this earth.

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  2. I do a lot of re-reads. Most of my re-reads are listening to the audiobook of a book that I previously read and they are usually books that I originally read sometime the past decade or at least during my adult years. I love re-reading books. I have found that after I have been through a book twice it stays with me a lot better and I tend to remember more details. Re-reading favorites has brought me out of quite a few book slumps and it just makes me happy. I have also found that there are some narrators just really are able to make a favorite even better and listening to a book really is a different experience.

    I do have to say that I am kind of afraid to pick up some of those books I loved as teen for the reasons you mentioned. I am not sure that I really trust that my teen self made good choices :)

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    1. I have lived a lot of life since I was a teen, but I feel like i am reverting back to those tastes ๐Ÿ˜† I know a lot of readers, who love re-readind, and a lot do audio to catch back up on series too. I just trust the author does a good job jogging my memory

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  3. When I was a kid, I had about 10 books that I reread constantly. I never wanted new books. I just wanted those books. Now I don’t reread very often because I don’t have time. Last year I reread a bunch of favorites, and they were all about as good as I remember. I guess I’m lucky that I didn’t hate any of them.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    1. I am so glad your favorites held up. Your apparently had great taste as a kid. ☺

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  4. Too many books, too little time for me to reread (not true for picture books, only novels). I also fear rereading books I loved as a kid--what if my fond memories don't hold up? I don't want to ruin the magic.

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    1. Picture books are short enough to re-read (and kids always make you do that anyhow). I don't think it's so unusual for our tastes and literary needs to evolve, but like you said, I don't want to ruin the magic, and it's a strong possibility when you try to recapture the feeling you had when you first read something. Too many variables for my liking.

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  5. I’m not much of a rereader because there’s just too many books to be read. And I have reread some books that ended up disappointing but I’ve also reread some books that were like coming home to a good friend. It’s a tough one. Great discussion.

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    1. I am with you - too many books, too little time. I guess it's a gamble - maybe the book held up, maybe it didn't, but I just couldn't gamble with something that left me with such a lovely memory.

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  6. I LOVE rereading! I feel like for me it's (relatively) easy to look back at a novel I used to adore, and realize that I won't like it today, so I only reread books I'm quite sure I'll still love. Thankfully, I've never been let down by a book this way, though it has happened to me that a series was a totally different experience than when I first read it. My co-blogger, Ruzi, and I first bonded over our love for Meg Cabot, and the year she was publishing the new Princess Diaries and Mediator adult novels, we decided to binge the series. While especially PD did not impress me, it was still a great experience. IDK maybe we're weird haha.

    But yes, I do love rereading, especially books with my favorite characters - I find that just for the plot, I wouldn't necessarily want to reread a novel.

    Great post!!

    Veronika @ The Regal Critiques

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    1. I guess if you do stick with book you KNOW won't let you down, it's relatively safe. And that is a really good point about not rereading for the plot, since you already know how that's going to go, but rather to see a beloved character again. Like revisiting an old friend. That's sort of sweet.

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  7. I'm not much of a re-reader either and for basically all of the reasons that you've mentioned. I do sometimes worry that some of my former favorites may not stand up to the test of time if I reread them and, like you say, I'd prefer not to taint my original feelings about the book. The only thing I like about rereading is that sometimes I do find new details or themes that I overlooked on the first read.

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    1. I KNOW my tastes have evolved and changed, so the fear is real. I acknowledge, that rereading will reveal new details, my co-blogger has always said that, but I fear the flaws so much more than I value the new details. I do like talking about books I have read with someone though, because they could add some insight.

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  8. I agree with this 110%! There are WAY too many books to get through instead of rereading! I'll going back and maybe browse a book and read favorite parts from time to time but never have a read the same book twice.

    I DON'T WANT TO TAINT MY LOVING FEELINGS EITHER!

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    1. *high five* I am going to savor the memory and not ruin it with any new judgement. I think it's kind of cool to look back on certain parts, like how I watch a clip of a movie, but I just can't bring myself to re-read.

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  9. You know, I feel like that's a legitimate fear for me too. There are tons of books I read in the early days of life that were just awesome! Now that I've read sooo many more books in the same genre, I worry I might not love the same way. Then of course the stubborn part of me says yes I will! Lol!

    My #1 reason is always that I have wayyyy too many new books to be read for the first go around! Though I do intend to re-read a trilogy of an older series for it was picked back up again this year for a new installment. Since it's been eons since I read that one, I am going to re-read it...eventually.

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    1. My co-blogger and sister used to reread entire series every time a new book was released. My sister did it for every HP book (crazy!), but that is such a HUGE time investment for me. I know a lot of people do "rereads" via audio, but I will say, most authors do a great job reactivating the previous book information in my brain with just a few prompts in the current story, and it all comes flooding back.

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  10. It depends on the book. Some books I'll reread a lot. These are books that I absolutely adore. These are the books I write fanfiction of.

    One other reason that I will reread a book is if I know it well enough, I can read it in another language for practice. It took me two reads in English of Carve the Mark before I was able to tackle Las Marcas de la Muerte. I've read Divergent in English, Spanish, and German, and part of it I've read in Russian. It's a really good way to practice a language in the way people really use it, rather than textbook speak.

    But for most books, I'll probably only read them once.

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    1. That is one of the coolest reasons I have ever heard for rereading. I love languages (studied three in high school, two in college), but I have only even read Winnie the Pooh in another language (Latin).

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  11. I've had the same problem where I reread a book that I used to love and it falls flat for me. I still enjoy rereads because they add new depth to books that hold true to the test of time. One of my old professors once said a book doesn't truly become yours until you've read it seven times. I haven't done this before (he's at least as old as my grandfather, so he's had time to reread books!), but I love how he was able to quote books from memory and hold rich discussions about them. I'd love to have his memory and familiarity of books when I'm as old as he is!

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    1. When my daughter was younger, she made me re-watch movies over and over again, and you definitely notice more with each iteration, and I believe the same holds true for rereads. I appreciate the comfort that something familiar and loved can give to a person, but I guess with how average and humdrum my life is, I need to keep what I can fresh and new.

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  12. I'm one thousand percent with you Sam. I don't re-read because I don't have the time and my TBR is terrifying. I think I am also afraid to taint some reading experiences as well. Like, I wonder how I would react to the first Harry Potter book 20 years later.

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    1. Terrifying is a good word to describe my TBR too. ๐Ÿ˜‚ It seems I hardly meet a book I don't want to read. I have heard some people say the early HP books were not as well written as the later books, but I think he is a character who just owns the heart of fans.

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  13. I'm not much of a re-reader either. The only time I do is when I'm revisiting old favorites or when I'm starting a new book in a series and I can't remember what happened in the last book (and then I'm really only skimming). There are just too many new books I want to read to waste time re-reading.

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    1. A lot of people I know re-read to prep for new books in a series. I let fate have it's way with me, and try to trust my memory.

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  14. I mean... I don't reread either... also for all the reasons you listed. Plus if I didn't like the book the first time, I'm not likely to like it again? Maybe? Sometimes I'll borrow the first few books in a series if it's been years to recap before going on to the next through a skim, but I'm not technically rereading it.

    Honestly there should be a Spark Notes version for book series that has SPOILERS AHEAD. ๐Ÿ˜…

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    1. There are some bloggers out there, who do incredible recaps for series, when a new book is being released. Kind of an awesome service they are doing for all us readers out there, but I do think they keep it spoiler-free.

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  15. I do reread, not as much as I did before I started blogging, but I still try to get one in every once in awhile. I like revisiting characters and getting immersed in my favorite stories. I also sometimes use rereading to help me weed out my shelves, to kind of confirm how I felt about a book. I didn't love it the first time or the second time, it's time to get rid of it. I can see how someone's feelings about a book might change upon a reread - but I've actually had the opposite happen, some books I've actually liked MORE upon a reread. Maybe it took a second chance to appreciate it?

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    1. If a second look makes you love it more, hooray! It's that fear I harbor that keep me from even taking the chance. Though, there have been books, which I grew to like more as I talked about them or wrote reviews for them. So, I think having time in general with something to really digest it is a good thing.

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  16. I love to re-read books! I don't do it as often as I would like, because there are sooo many other books I want to read and never have. I do re-read the Harry Potter series and Percy Jackson (since I get to read them to my kids now). Others I want to re-read and haven't are The Wicked Lovely series, The Iron Fey series, The Vampire Academy series, Kissed by an Angel, and one or two others. I feel like I always learn/notice something new with each re-read, or I understand something now that I didn't before. I also love revisiting old characters and places.

    -- Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear?

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    1. You might have to pull your Iron Fey books out, since Kagawa is adding to that series.

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  17. Ooo, this is such a good point! People always talk about not wanting to reread because of time, but let's be real, us bookworms aren't usually focused on our time. The fear of a favorite not living up to your memory is much worse than any qualms about "time", haha! However, I will say, I just pick and choose. I don't reread a lot of books, but I adore rewatching movies (and occasionally some tv shows). When I do reread books, it's often to continue on with a series, or if I've fallen out of love with a series, to see if I enjoy it more than I remember. I rarely reread my absolute favorites for the same reason as you, haha!

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    1. My daughter has a vast DVD collection, and loves revisiting old favorite films. I am the type of person, who likes still photos over video of personal events, because they I can remember my version of it. I just stick with that first impression. I think maybe if I did not have a favorable first impression, I would be open to revisiting something, should someone convince me to do so.

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    2. Haha that's very true! I honestly think it's sometimes worse to take too many pictures, because it's hard to take tons of pictures and still enjoy things as they happen.

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    3. I cringe when I am at an event and everyone has their cell phone in front of their face "capturing" it. I just want to enjoy it all.

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  18. I adore rereading a favourite book. I don't get to do it anywhere near as often as I used to (seriously, my childhood was just me rereading and rewatching stuff, when I like something I get a touch obsessive). I get your fear of rereading but I feel like you're missing out. I think there's something lovely about revisiting a characters and their story. Sure, you know what happens but it gives you a new perspective. Yes, it is heartbreaking when you revisit a book you loved and it's not as good second time around but it's great when it is.

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    1. I did that a lot when I was younger, but I guess as I grow older, and my times never seems to be my own, I just don't have the desire to re-anything.

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  19. I used to re-read all teh time but haven't since I started blogging. I have too many books to get to. I don't re-watch tv or movies either. Maybe certain scenes if they happen to be on while I'm flipping channels but that's it.

    Now my husband! I think I have involuntarily seen Alien and Resident Evil 100's of times lol

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. I am starting to think partially fear, but more time that keeps me from rereading or rewatching, because I realize how fast time is passing and how precious each moment is. I want to fill it with new experiences.

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  20. I have done a few re-reads, and they've worked out well. There have been a few disappointments, though, too. I usually don't have time for re-reads so that's the main reason I don't do them that often. I can see how you'd be wary to re-read not wanting to tarnish a good memory.

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    1. I hold all my good memories tightly and dig them up when comfort is needed

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  21. We already had a short conversation about it, Sam, but I'm beginning to agree! I've found that I keep going back to books that were favorites and find they aren't. My memory definitely didn't serve me right. However, I do find some enjoyment with rereads because it does bring you back to some amazing feels. However, I'm so worried about them now. And I do agree that I have so many unread books it's hard to go back to ones I've already read before.

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    1. I wonder if it's the feels or the nostalgia. The nostalgia thing really ramps up the older and older I get, which is why I sort of love YA. More revisiting a time than a story.

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  22. I love to reread but I totally get your point! There are sooo many books to read and sooo little time. But honestly, I also agree with you. There are some books that I will not reread - especially the Old School Romance books with forced seduction and kidnapping themes which was acceptable back in the day.

    I read a lot, though. Especially when I'm in a book slump :)

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    1. That is an especially good point. There are many things in older books that were ok, which are now under full attack by the masses. I think considering when a book was written is really important, when reading something.

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  23. I understand why people don't reread! I agree - so many unread books and all those new experiences waiting to be hard. However, I would argue that it isn't that there isn't any surprises though. There are so many details and other things you miss when you first read a book. Buddy re-reading a book with someone who is reading it for the first time as well is certainly an experience to see how they take the things you already know is coming or had a perspective about. Some of my opinions on Twilight changed when doing so. I reread far too often, but it's great because it keeps me out of slumps.

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    1. I agree with finding new details upon re-reading. After teaching a chemistry for 12 years, I was still able to uncover new details or find new connections, but I just always want something new when it comes to my entertainment. For comfort, I will go to a favorite genre, but never the same book.

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  24. I don't like to reread, mostly because of time, but also because I am a little scared that I won't like a book as much the second time!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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    1. Time is probably the number one reason for me as well, though, I really appreciate people, who can see the story with fresh eyes after 3, 4 readings. I just like chasing something new, you know.

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  25. I can agree with your fear, and I've been disappointed sometimes, but mostly I'm fascinated by how a favorite book from the past resonates with my life now. A good book grows richer with rereading, and I love to experience that. However, the lure of the new is also strong, and must be heeded.

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    1. I can see that being the case for many of the books, the "classics", I read when I was younger. I look at the list of books I read in high school, and I really wasn't equipped enough to fully grasp the themes and meaning of the book, but hey, it was required reading. I look back on many of those books now, with a lot more life experience, and I realize how brilliant some of the books were. A re-read of those books, might be interesting for me.

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