7 reasons to re-read books

The other day I planned to organise my bookshelf. As I started pulling out books it was like opening a box of memories. I found some I’d bought way back in college, some had been gifted to me, I remembered reading some on the 26-hour train journey when I was working in Bombay. And I found myself flipping pages, reading paragraphs and re-living the books. Time flew and of course the cupboard never did get organised.

reading

When we were kids it was perhaps born out of necessity when we had too few books and too much time. Or maybe children just do not get easily bored. However, the habit stuck on through adult-hood purely for the pleasure of it. It’s fun to revsit books not just for the memories they evoke but also for the books themselves, for the way we perceive them, understand them and enjoy them.

Here are my top 7 reasons for re-reading a book.

1. It’s like meeting an old friend

You’ve read the book. You know the good parts, the heartbreaks, the funny bits.I mean, you cannot be a Harry Potter fan and just read it once, can you? You want to meet him again and again. Like him, there are many more delightful characters you can meet only between the pages of your favourite books.

2. You get new insights

Some books need to be re-read to be fully appreciated. If you’ve been reading since when you were a child like me, you probably got to some before you could fully appreciate them. I enjoyed some books like Animal Farm, Fountainhead, To Kill a Mockingbird, Brave New World or even popular classics like Wuthering Heights much more when I read them the second or third time. As you grow and mature you enjoy the book in new ways.

3. You can open a random page and begin reading

Have a few moments between tasks? Want to pick up something entertaining while you have your cup of tea – something that wouldn’t demand much attention yet entertain you? Well a re-read is just perfect. Like TV addicts flip channels you can flip through a well-loved read. I can open and enjoy books like Bridget Jones Diary or a PG Wodehouse just about anywhere anytime.

4. You can skip the boring bits

Great isn’t it? Those lengthy explanations or descriptions – you can just skip them and get on with it.

5. Your brain isn’t clouded by ‘what happens next’ 

So you’re free to explore the book at leisure. You have the luxury of lingering over passages, enjoying the descriptions and appreciating the language. When I was reading My Family and Other Animals – I loved the bits about the ‘family’ and rushed through the bits about ‘Other Animals’. When I re-read it I found myself pausing at them – some of them had me in splits, some amazed and wowed me.
I have to add though, that frenzied reading to the finish has it’s own thrill.

6. Saves money

Well, obviously.

And lastly..

7. You might end up cleaning your book-shelf

With all this picking up and putting back books, you just might end up with an organised book cupboard. No guarantees there, though.

Do you like to re-read books? Which is your favourite one to pick-up?

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32 thoughts on “7 reasons to re-read books

  1. Vinay Leo R.

    Oh I agree! It happens to me too when I rearrange my shelf. 🙂 I love flipping through pages, and especially seeing book notes.

    Harry Potter just once is not possible. I pick it up to read, even now. Same goes with To Kill a Mockingbird.

    Boring bits. Yes. 😀 I know. Some parts are more memorable than the others!

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    1. Beat About The Book Post author

      Those are some of the favourites, aren’t they? So tough to see them and not read at least a passage or two.

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  2. Zephyr

    I had read many books in their unabridged form before I could begin to understand them when I had been around eight or nine. Re-read them all in my late teens. You are right about finding new insights into some books like Fountainhead. And yes, the last reason is always the best 🙂

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    1. Beat About The Book Post author

      Me too Zephyr. I read lots of abridged versions before I got to the real stuff. As for the Fountainhead – I think if I read it again I still might find something new to take away from it.

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  3. Lata Sunil

    Many books which I read as a teenager, I have read them again. And the second time around, it does give different insights. I love to re-read my favourite books. I even re-read comics which I buy for the children. Time to clean my shelf.

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    1. Beat About The Book Post author

      Oooh you read kids’ book too? Me too. Some of the new ones are so good, isn’t it? I read them under the pretext of preparing for the book club I run for children. Actually I enjoy them more than the kids.

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  4. Sreesha Diva

    Ohhhh this is freaky! I ended up cleaning my bookshelf this weekend too!!! And for no reason, really, I was just staring at the bookshelf and it was overflowing a bit (remember, I told you I need a bigger shelf) and I thought why don’t I just……… play around a little bit. And yes, I randomly opened several pages 😀 Some had little doodles on some pages – oh God, took me right back to those moments when I doodled them!

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    1. Beat About The Book Post author

      Yes I well remember. It’s tempting, isn’t it? I love to read the messages people have written when they’ve gifted me the books. Such memories!

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  5. Rachna

    Completely agree, Tulika. I re-read books often. I guess that is one of the reasons why we own books. Recently my son re-read the Harry Potter series. I was so tempted. Must do it soon.

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  6. Rajlakshmi

    Old books are like old songs… they take you back in time and sometimes suddenly flood you with memories. I could so relate to your points 😀 I always skip the boring bits 😀

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  7. pins & ashes

    Agree to all seven points.. re-reading and starting from a random page, like an old friend we have known for so long, we can turn to any page and start reading.. about the insights like ZN said, so true, every re-reading brings with it something new.. plus newer theories and re-reading at a later stage.. makes it even more insightful.. i loved this topic you chose to write on tulika 🙂 enjoyed being part of the read and the discussion

    Liked by 1 person

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  8. kalaravi16

    I always feel there is nothing to beat the satisfaction of revisiting old haunts, friends, hobbies and books! One of my most-thumbed books is probably The Little Princess and also Gone with The Wind. I would read, reread and enjoy a new perspective each time around! Have to do this sometime soon, been long now! Agree with all you said about revisiting old friends/books!

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  9. shanayatales

    Yes, yes and yes! I so agree! Also, a book like – To Kill a Mockingbird is like a gift that keeps on giving. One can get so much more out of it on a re-read.

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    1. Beat About The Book Post author

      I thought so too. There are some books you do not quite comprehend in the first reading or understand the story on a completely superficial level. The re-read is what gives it meaning.

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  11. Avada Kedavra

    Agree with all these points. That’s one of the reasons I am dedicating this year to reading some of my favorites again. Harry Potter series is one series that I can reread any number of times and still find something that I missed in my previous reread.

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    Reply
    1. Beat About The Book Post author

      Welcome Avada Kedavra. I love Harry Potter too. They’re one of the smartest books ever written. Re-Reading them is special because they have so much sub text. That said, I’d love to know the story behind your name. Why pick the deadliest of curses?

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      1. Avada Kedavra

        🙂 I chose this name some 10 years back just because I was crazy about Harry Potter and I don’t know, for some reason it sounded cool 🙂 did not change the name later

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  12. weebluemixer

    I love re-reading books and keep every book I buy because I know I will inevitably re-read it or ifs its a really good book I’ll re-re-re-re-re read it. I do find myself seeing new insights in the book as often in the first read I’m desperate to get to the next page to find out what happens I suppose I don’t absorb everything as I should. I love having my bookshelves chaotic and unorganised with books vertical and horizontal and all over the place, they only get slightly cleaned if we move the bookshelves!

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Beat About The Book Post author

      Ah – a fellow re-reader :-). This is exactly why I like to buy books rather than borrow them unless they’re one-time read thrillers. I still haven’t gotten around to cleaning my bookshelf.

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