Rewind, Revisit, Reread
“Haven’t you already read that book?”
“Are you reading that book, again?”
“How many times have you read that book?”
If you’ve been asked any of these questions, you might be a rereader.
I myself, am a notorious rereader. Usually, when I get asked a question like that, my automatic response is to assume that the asker isn’t a reader. I am always surprised to hear from another reader that they do not reread books that they’ve read before. I can completely understand wanting to experience new stories, writers, and genres, what I cannot understand is never wanting to revisit something that you loved. I even have a shelf on Goodreads called Play It Again Sam to keep track of all of my rereads. I've been rereading several books recently and that's gotten me thinking about the reasons why I do it, especially when there are so many books out there that I want to read, but haven't. I've decided to break them down into categories, because, why not?
The Mindless Reread
I find many reasons to revisit books. Sometimes, I might just want to relax with a book where I know what happens and how it will make me feel, we’ll call this the Mindless Reread. I know that the story is going to entertain me, make me laugh, sigh, whatever. Quality books can make this category, but I’ll be honest, sometimes utter garbage gets a reread too. It’s like watching a movie because it’s so bad it’s good. I may be a coffee snob, a cookware snob, and a make-up snob, but I’m no book snob. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I read Twilight, I’ve got no room to judge (except maybe if you read and liked Fifty Shades, then I might judge a little, but only if you liked it). Occasionally, I might even reread a book that I only rated 3 stars. I tend to not finish books that I’m not liking at all, I just send them straight to the DNF pile, or file, if it’s on my Kindle, so chances are, if I finished it, I enjoyed on some level. To borrow a phrase from a friend, sometimes you just need a good “palate cleanser” and the Mindless Reread works well for that.
The Preparation Reread
Another category that I find myself in quite often is the Preparation Reread. This occurs when the next book in the series is coming out and you either can’t remember what happened in the other books, or you just want it to be very fresh in your mind for the new book. I just finished a Preparation Reread of my favorite books from last year, The Red Rising Trilogy by Pierce Brown, in preparation for the new book, Iron Gold which came out last week. Yes, I did just read them in September and as soon as I was finished, I wanted to do an Obsessive Reread (more on that below), but I knew the new book was coming, so I controlled myself and pushed it to the week prior to the release. The whole point of a Preparation Reread is to remind yourself of what happened and to ramp yourself up for the new release.
The Obsessive Reread
I also have to admit that the Obsessive Reread is part of my repertoire as well. For me this really only happens with series, I don’t remember ever obsessively rereading any standalone books, but I do know people who will finish a book and literally go back to the first page and start it all over again. I’ve never done that, exactly. The closest that I’ve ever come to that was the first time I read Harry Potter. Picture it, Burbank, California, November, 2007, I had just gotten out of school, I wasn’t working yet, and my cousin finally wore me down to read Harry. Of course, I read the first book and was hooked. I read the whole series in two weeks. By the time that I finished Deathly Hallows, I was too obsessed to even think about reading anything else, plus, I had read it so quickly, I knew I had missed things, so I put down Year 7 and picked Year 1 back up. It took me about a month the second time, I hated Dumbledore that time around, but by the third time, I loved him again. That was the only series where I gave into my impulses and started again immediately upon finishing. I have been known to read other things two or more times in a year. I may have possibly read The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare three times the first year that I read them, and maybe, just maybe, The Infernal Devices, also by Cassandra Clare, twice. Sometimes, when I can’t decide on a new book, the Mindless and Obsessive Rereads converge, and I do something like read The Essex Sisters series by Eloisa James again.
The Classic Reread
This category is reserved for some of my favorites. For me, a great example of the Classic Reread is Pride and Prejudice. I find myself rereading it about every year or two, it is my favorite book of all time, after all. I tend to speed through it to get to the first proposal (sorry spoilers, but it has been out for over 200 years, plus multiple movie adaptations, so actually, sorry, not sorry). Periodically, I’ll think that my favorite book might have changed, then I’ll read Pride and Prejudice again, and absolutely nothing can beat it for me. It’s hilarious and still oh so gush worthy, the perfect reread. My 2018 TBR includes a few Classic Rereads. Recently, I realized that it has been at least 15 years since I read Jane Eyre, so I really want to revisit it this year. It has also been quite awhile since I read The Chronicles of Narnia, I love those books so much, I can’t wait to read them again.
The Do I Still Feel the Same Reread
My final category can be quite an interesting one. The Do I Still Feel the Same Reread, for me usually applies to books that I loved as a child, teen, or young adult and haven’t revisited in quite awhile. The books can be just as good as you remember or you can understand them on a whole different level. You might dislike a character or characters who you liked the first time, or vice versa. I first read Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier in Jr. High and I loved it. “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” One line and I was riveted. It became my favorite book (this was pre Darcy), I read it multiple times, I even loved the movie. I mean, it’s Hitchcock, staring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine, what’s not to love? I won’t spoil the major difference between the book and the movie, because you should read the book and watch the movie, they are both great. Time passed, I grew up, my number one changed, but I still considered Rebecca to be one of my favorite books. I decided to reread it after realizing how long it had actually been since I’d read it and found the book very surprising. As a young person I was caught up in the mystery and creepiness, spellbound, waiting to see what happened. As an adult woman, I found myself to to be incredibly annoyed with the main character of the book and how she constantly allows herself to be used and abused by everyone around her. I couldn’t help thinking, how did I miss this? Don’t get me wrong, I still love the book, du Maurier is one of my favorite writers, it’s just that as an adult, I was able to see the foibles of the main character in a way that I hadn’t before. I was finally able to see her how the author intended her to be seen.
Thus ends my reread rambles…well, not quite. I did take notes while I was rereading Red Rising and I am including them for your reading pleasure... or my friends are just sick of me texting them my random bookish thoughts while I’m reading and I need an outlet.
WARNING!!! SUPER SPOILERS AHEAD FOR RED RISING by Pierce Brown
If you haven’t read it, go away and read it, then come back.
Omg I forgot that the book opens this way and not in the mine.
I hate Eo, she’s the worst, but wait why am I crying when she dies...
Omg his uncle tells him to say hi to Dancer in the vale, didn’t catch that before
Ugh here’s Harmony, what a bitch
Awww Mickey, I love him, except I forgot that you kind of don’t love him as much here.
I feel like I understand this whole carving thing a lot more this time
Oh Matteo, there you are!
Roque, I know I’m supposed to like you, but I know what you do later, and thus, I must loath you for all eternity
Antonia ew I hate you
Sevro!!! I missed you!
The first time Pax screams his own name while attacking, aw Pax
It’s okay Casius, we’ll be friends again…it’ll just take like two more books
Should have killed the Jackal right there…and now Pax is dead…a whole lot more people would have been alive if you killed him there dummy
Mustang will come back, trust her, she's got your back, calm down
See, I told ya
Don’t trust the Jackal!
Again, I hate Eo
Crying again when he decides to not blow up the gala
Blowing through the ship walls with Sevro to take over command of it, so cool, and then naming it the Pax, sigh
Okay, listen to Mustang and don’t trust the Jackal!
When Darrow breaks down because Sevro knows he’s a red and is still his friend and he no longer has to carry the burden alone, I will not cry, I will not, okay, I did
I seriously love the Telemanus guys, they’re so awesome
Oh Tactus, you could have lived for more
Sevro, keeping Pliny’s eye, what a weirdo, I love him
Seriously this time, DON’T TRUST THE JACKAL
The Iron Rain is such a badass idea
Crying again when Darrow goes to see his mom
Roque, you are a whiny baby, look at what you’ve done
(While clutching book to my chest) At the end, God I love this book!
Oh Darrow, what has happened to you?! Alone in a box for a year. The Jackal is the devil, I told you to kill him.
When Cassius gives Darrow his cloak, I knew he had good in him! He can be redeemed (I mean I do know the ending after all)
Sevro with Darrow’s eyeballs, such a weirdo, I love it
Victra is a badass bitch and I love her, I love how much she wants to be a Howler
Sevro is trying, but he ain’t no Reaper
Yay, Reaper, you showed them who’s boss, finally!
Oh dang, look, your plan went to shit…again…
Mustang and Darrow, always better together
When you’re at that point in a reread when you know something terrible is going to happen, and you don’t want to go on, but you know you have to, 😩 Ragnar
I don’t want to read the next chapter, it’s called The Quiet and I know what that means. I don’t want to. You can’t make me.
Damnit Ragnar, I’m totally crying now
Oh Victra and your scars, you’ve grown so much
I love how Darrow doesn’t try to keep Mustang out of danger just because she’s a woman, he knows she’s smarter than him and that they need her
Oh Darrow, Roque would never have come to your side, he’s too Gold
I’m only not crying because I know for sure Sevro isn’t dead this time
Cassius!!! Yes, I love this part
Hahaha I love when Sevro wakes up, “Where’s your hand? You’re missing a f*cking hand!”
See once again, Darrow and Mustang, better together
Ahhh fantastic last sentence
(Clutches book to chest)
Can it be release day already?