I have a confession to make: I’m afraid to reread books. That’s not to say that I never do it; I used to reread books all the time. Sometimes it was by accident, and I wouldn’t realize until partway through the book that I had already read it once before. Most often, though, it was intentional.
If a new book in a series was coming out, I would read all of its predecessors to make sure that I was prepared for the new release. If a book that I adored was being made into a movie and I owned a copy of the book, I would reread it just before its release, even if that meant that I would sit in the theater and think wait, that never happened in the book. It was somewhat of a tradition to do this with the Harry Potter books each summer, so I’ve probably read that series twenty times by now.
There were some books that had such a profound impact on the way that I viewed the world (or, in some cases, myself) and would be my go-to book if I was faced with a particular issue or if I was feeling a certain way. The Perks of Being a Wallflower was my go-to book before high school started; when I felt like I didn’t fit in anywhere and would never make friends, Charlie was there to listen. And now, after finishing A Monster Calls, I have somewhere to turn whenever I feel guilty for letting go and not thinking about my grandmother as much as I should.
When it comes to books that didn’t resonate with me on an emotional level, though, I’m always afraid to pick them up again – especially if they’re books that I liked when I was younger. An excellent example of this is Blue is for Nightmares, which I recently reviewed. The synopsis still appeals to my reading tastes, so the difference doesn’t lie with the book; it lies with me.
Reading a book is never the same experience twice: our mood, past experiences, and past reads all influence how much we enjoy a story. As we age, we become more critical readers and, more often than not, our reading tastes change. A book that we loved during childhood may not appeal to us today, and that’s okay. That being said, it’s still incredibly disappointing when you read a book that you remember loving, only to find yourself wondering how you could have enjoyed reading it. It’s like losing an old friend, so I consciously avoid putting myself in a situation where this could happen.
And, of course, now that I’m a book blogger, my to-read pile grows exponentially every day (or so it seems). I feel as though I can’t justify rereading books from my childhood – especially when I can still remember a lot of the details – because there are so many new releases that I’m excited to read and so little time to read them all.
Now, it’s your turn: what are your thoughts on rereading? Are you braver about it than I am? Share your thoughts or stories in the comments below. : )