All About Books

A book blog, mostly touring foreign worlds of fantasy novels with occasional detours into space and explorations of magical realism, featuring book reviews, random bookish thoughts and hand lettered quotes.

“I don’t have time for re-reads.”

on re-reading books

I’ve been re-reading many books the past few years, but never as much as this year. I’ve re-read a total of 40 books by now, which is more than a third of all the books I read. And while I almost always share my current reads on Instagram, I often come across people telling me things like “I wish I had time to re-read too”. Oh, man, that’s the biggest lie you’ve ever told.

Why you DO have time for re-reads

It’s obviously not even close to what’s really being published, but Goodreads features 200 books every single month. And that’s only the top releases. That’s more than 4 times what the average person pledged to read over the whole year in the Goodreads reading challenge. Even if you filter those lists and reduce it to what you’re actually interest in, there are still more books published each year, than you’ll be able to make time for (not even talking about backlist titles you might also want to read).

With every book you read you make a choice

Reading a specific book is always a choice. You choose to read that specific book over another and it has nothing to do with how much time you have on your hand, just want to you WANT to read. You choose to read that new book instead of re-reading an old favorite, making only time for that new book, not for an old favorite. 

“But I have all these ARCs to read” you might say. Even that is a choice though. As long as it’s not actually your job (and nope, blogging isn’t), you don’t HAVE to read those review copies, you choose to.

If you choose not to re-read, that’s fine. Read whatever you want. Don’t say it’s because you don’t have time though. If you have time to read a book, you have time to re-read a book.

Why you should re-read

I totally get that new books always seem more appealing than re-reading what you already know. I only started re-reading myself a few years ago. If you don’t re-read at all, let me tell you something: YOU ARE MISSING OUT.

There is a 99.9% chance you missed or forgot something

We don’t read fiction like we would a text book, not making sure to catch every single detail. Those small little details you miss or forget about might not be important at all, but when you re-read, there is nothing as much fun as (re)discovering something you missed/forgot. It’s not the same feeling as reading plot twists for the first time, but it’s definitely an equally good feeling. (and I even forgot about big plot twists before and was just as shocked as during my first read, so there is that)

Foreshadowing

You might often read a book and have moments like “oh hey! that’s been hinted at earlier” but let me tell you, you don’t know the half of it. When you actually re-read a book and have all the facts, you realize there is often way more foreshadowing than you thought.

And that’s just your “average” book. There are books out there that are made for re-reads, books that go crazy with the foreshadowing in the best possible way and throw facts right into your face and you don’t even realize it, books you can re-read five times and you’ll still discover more. The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater is the best example for that.

If it’s not worth re-reading, it’s not a good book

Even if you don’t do re-reads, if you don’t at least think that it is worth re-reading, then, in my opinion, it’s not a good book.

A book should never just be about the end, about how exiting the conclusion/answers are. A book’s job isn’t just about suprising you all the time, shocking you with new revelations. A predictable book isn’t necessarily a bad one. Getting to the end/answers should be the thrilling part too, how you get there, what impact it has on the characters, seeing them grow during the process. That it something that doesn’t get boring, even if you know where you’re heading.

Knowing all there is to know should never worsen your reading experience, just make it a different one (that’s not to say that spoilers aren’t bad, everyone should still be able to have both experiences!), and that’s what re-reading is going to give you.

Do you re-read books too? What are your reasons to (not) do it?