To Reread or Not to Reread…I’m sorry, what was the question?

Bad jokes aside, I am quite surprised at how many people don’t actually like to reread books. I’m equally surprised by how many of those readers think that I am weird because I do.

“A truly great book should be read in youth, again in maturity and once more in old age, as a fine building should be seen by morning light, at noon and by moonlight.”
― Robertson Davies

I have always been a re-reader. I’ve read the Little House books several times over, as well as many of the Nancy Drew books. I have reread the first five Harry Potter books at least thirty times and the last two over twenty times. In fact, because I was in such denial the year after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was published, I reread the entire series four times! In one year! I just didn’t want to leave Hogwarts.

not really going home
This photo edit is courtesy of the Harry Potter Stuff tumblr at http://hpstuffs.tumblr.com/ (definitely go check them out!)

A fair amount of people have asked me whether or not I get bored of reading the same books over and over. My answer is always the same: “how can I get bored of re-reading a book when each time I read it I discover something new?” Especially with Harry Potter, a new nugget of information is always unearthed with each read-through, even if it’s just a different way of looking at a particular scene or idea.

Here is an example:

Just a few nights ago, I finished rereading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (my favorite of the series). This current read-through is the first I have made in quite some time and the first since I have begun to fully-immerse myself in equality and feminist theory. I look at so many of the characters in a new way now, particularly the trio, Luna, Ginny, Molly, Professor McGonagall, Professor Dumbledore, and, yes, even the baddies like Umbridge, Voldemort, and Bellatrix. It’s almost like reading a completely different series.

Here is another example:

I don’t know about you, but when I re-watch movies that I watched as a kid, I always catch something that I never understood when I was younger. Especially when watching Disney movies…you know what I mean. The simple fact that I have “grown up” and “matured” means I will understand things in a way I never did before. The same goes for books.

“To reread a book is to read a different book. The reader is different. The meaning is different.”
― Johnny Rich

Each and every time you reread a book, you are a different person than you were the last time you read it. Even if you were to only read the same book over and over again. It is my far-from-professional opinion that reading changes you. Furthermore, during the interim between reads, you are always learning and experiencing new things and may learn something  that furthers your understanding of a particular book, scene, or character. Four years after Goblet of Fire was published, a classmate of mine died. Two months after Deathly Hallows was published, I lost my grandfather. It was my first experience with death as an “adult” (I was seventeen). This current read-through of Harry Potter is also the first I have attempted since my mother died last year. I know reading Deathly Hallows will be extraordinarily more painful that it was before. It will be a whole new experience.

“…the reader who plucks a book from her shelf only once is as deprived as the listener who, after attending a single performance of a Beethoven symphony, never hears it again.”
― Anne Fadiman

The next time I read Harry Potter, Nancy Drew, or Little House on the Prairie, I will be a different person and it will be a different experience. If you are a reader who has never reread a book, I propose a challenge. Go and reread a book (or series) that your particularly enjoyed the first go around and see how different of an experience it is. If it’s not even a tiny bit different, let me know and I’ll erase the word “always.”


(C’mon, you had to know that was coming.)

Until then, Happy (Re-)Reading!


P.S. Comment below about your thoughts on rereading. I would love to hear everyone’s opinion!

7 thoughts on “To Reread or Not to Reread…I’m sorry, what was the question?

    1. My mother was a big reader but like yours, she was a one and done reader. She would always tell me I was weird (lovingly of course) for rereading the Harry Potter books (among others). I explained to her why I reread and I think she understood it, but I don’t know that she ever found a book that appealed to her so much.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My mom totally took advantage of that when she started using a kindle! She didn’t really have room for her books anymore and didn’t want to get rid of them so she sent them to my house so they would be safe haha!

        Liked by 1 person

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