Everyone Drop What You’re Doing And Re-Read A Book

Hello blog friends! I’ve been meaning to discuss something that’s very dear to my heart: re-reading. I’m a habitual re-reader and proud. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read Harry Potter or The Hunger Games and don’t even get me started on how many times I’ve read Hamlet. I just love it. Shakespeare for the win!

But really, it’s an amazing joy for me to re-read books that have meant a lot to me. So I’m here to tell you to do it. Alright, let me rephrase that because you’re your own person and you can do as you please. But let me give you a little insight as to why you should re-read.

When I was in high school I read some of the best books. Not even a part of the curriculum, just good books. When I started college I had so many stories to read as an English major, that I needed the comfort of a genuinely good book that I didn’t have to think about the symbolism for, or have to think at all really. I mean there’s only so many times you can read The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman or D.H. Lawrence’s The Rocking Horse Winner before you’ve run out of meanings behind it. I mean for Christ’s sake they’re only like 15 pages long!

So rather than lose my shit over the books and stories I had to read, I started re-reading to clear my mind. As I’m sure you’ve figured out by now, I tend to read to relax. So all I wanted was something I didn’t have to think about. The first things I started re-reading like crazy were the Harry Potter books. I’ve read those books since they first came out so Hogwarts is more or less my second home. This was a wonderful thing. Being submerged in a world entirely unlike your own for just a couple of hours, with the characters and places you love, before you have to go back to the real world is something that I’ll never take for granted. It’s freeing to be able to escape for a while.

As time went on, and the work got more difficult, I read even more (oddly). This time I delved into Amy Tan books. The Bonesetter’s Daughter was read and re-read in less than a week. Hamlet, The Hobbit, My Horizontal Life, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Night, I re-read them all. Of course I don’t want to give you a false impression: I read a lot of new books too, or at least books I’d never read before. But my comfort was more with re-reading books I’d read.

So, here’s what I propose: think of a book that has made a huge impact on you, or at least a book you’ve read that you’ve enjoyed reading, and re-read it. I know re-reading isn’t for everyone. A lot of people think, “I’ve already read it, I know what happens! Why would I read it again??” And here’s the answer: Why not?

There’s absolutely no harm in reading a book you’ve enjoyed again. Yes, you may know what happens, but do you watch movies that you’ve seen before? Seriously, my Jaws DVD is WORN OUT because I watch it so much. I can guarantee that at least once in your life you’ve re-watched a movie. You know the plot, you know who the bad guy is and who gets shot at the end, but you watch it again anyway. So why not try the same with a book? Yeah you know the ending, but it doesn’t make the story any less good. And it certainly shouldn’t make you not want to read it again. It should make you say, “wow, I remember loving that book. I should read it again and understand why I loved it so much.”

Now, I’ll say this: there have been times when I’ve read a book that I loved and then when I re-read it I was utterly disappointed and thought to myself, “This? This is what I was so excited about?” But don’t let that discourage you. Give another book a shot. One you’ve read more recently and know you’d still enjoy. Perhaps you’ll find new meanings in the story – I’m still finding new hidden things in Harry Potter. That shit is loaded with hidden meanings. But that’s why it’s amazing!!!!

So give it a try and let me know what you think in the comments or via e-mail. The books might surprise you.

Until next time,

Rachel

e-mail: rachel@booksandcleverness.com

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