I have been a big reader almost all my life. I would read a book, and some time later–weeks, most of the time, but in some cases days–I would read it again. And then a little while after that, I’d read it again. And again. I didn’t have a huge selection of books as a child–books that belonged to me. The greater portion were schoolbooks. But I often reread those schoolbooks–dozens of times, for the most part.
Then, when I was around sixteen or seventeen, I entered the blogosphere (merely as a reader, not as a blogger). I began to follow the bloggers I followed on Instagram. and I began to notice something. Those bloggers bought at least one book a month–more often than not, four or five (or eight or ten, in extreme cases 😉 ). They also got a few review books, pretty regularly. They read between 8-15 books a month. BUT. They hardly ever reread a book. If they reread a book, it was a huge deal. It was a phenomenal book!
My personal reading style is to read a book–very fast. Then, a few months later, I read it again, more slowly. And a few months after that, again–more or less slowly. Rereading has helped shape me in many ways. Last year I read A TON of new books; this year, my goal is to read as many old books as new books. And as I reread, I remember why I do it. Today, I am going to share ways that rereading has helped me. Rereading may not be applicable to every person (or every book!), and rereading might not do for others what it has done for me personally, but I still believe it is well worth doing, even a little.
1. Rereading has helped me remember information.
I have often found that rereading books many times had implanted information on my brain. I can remember the details of a historical occurrence long after I read it because I have read the book many times. This could be simply that I have a good memory for words. However, I’ve seen that rereading also helps me remember information about things I don’t particularly care for.
Example: My mother was reading a schoolbook (that I have never read) to my younger siblings. It was describing a certain bird. (I am not particularly interested by natural history). My mother asked my siblings if they could guess what bird it was. Based on the descriptions (a twittering bird with grey/brown stripes on its side and a bright red cap & breast), I answered, “I think I know what it is.” She looked at me and replied, “I don’t think we have those here.” I answered offhandedly, “Redpoll or Redbreast.” The answer was a redpoll. She replied jokingly that she guessed I hadn’t had that bad of an education after all! The fact was, I had immediately remembered a bird that shows up in The Burgess Bird Book for Children (which I have read at least eight times). If I had only read that book once, I would very likely have completely forgotten that unimportant little fella. But reading it so many times had imprinted it on my memory.
2. Rereading has helped my writing.
When rereading, I often notice things I did not notice the first (or second, or third) read. Like how certain characters changed. How an author wove certain parts of their books together. How they wrote a certain scene. How they worked plot twists. How dialogue showed the characters’ growth. How forshadowing began. It’s taught me things about the writing craft. I’ve often fallen upon cool writing tricks that I would not have seen if I had not reread the book. It has also taught me words (I always look up words while rereading but very, very seldom while reading for the first time–unless its a boring book!). I sometimes stop to notice how a phrase was worded. I stop to notice quotes much better than during the first read, too. 😉
Example: When I reread Ivanhoe, I was amazed to see how Scott deftly pulled characters together and how the climax slowly worked up to a huge incident. Since I had read the book before, I knew when characters would reappear and I noticed how certain happenings helped work in the climax. When I reread Enemy Brothers, I noticed SO many ways that Constance Savery revealed characters, expressed their emotions, etc.
3. Rereading has turned books into deep friends.
How many times have I reread Little Women? What about Anne of Green Gables? Or the Little House on the Prairie series? Understood Betsy? Our Island Story? I’ve lost count. But I know those books (among others) like my own bedroom. Those books seem to hold my childhood in them. They hold the dreams and tears and laughter and happy sighs of my growing years. They are home. I know their pages like I know my parents’ faces. They speak comfort and happiness. The characters are more than just acquaintances. They are friends–deep, real friends. It’s hard to even describe how dear those books are to me. And I think that’s a lovely problem to have. ^_^
4. Rereading has improved my vocabulary/writing style.
I reread books so often that many phrases and/or words have stuck in my head. Often when I am speaking or writing, I come out with good words to describe things or a phrase which sums up the subject. I have an extensive outlay or words to choose from and many good quotations. I strongly believe that’s just because I read good books so often that their styles & vocabularies bled into me.
5. Rereading has brought a lot of fun into my life!
There’s nothing like quoting “has anybody seen my mouse?” when you hear anybody walk around complaining, “Has anybody–?” There’s nothing like quoting an sentence from Little Woman and having your sister reply with the next sentence. (It’s even more fun if it’s a dialogue and you know
almost, if not all, of it.) There’s nothing like having your sister read out a sentence from a book and you’re able to tell exactly what scene she’s on. 😉
6. Rereading has helped me see things I missed the first time.
This sounds like a repeat of #2, but it isn’t. Rereading helps me understand the story better. While rereading, I see where a character first pops up, why they actually were in a certain situation, who this personage was, etc. I am going slower, and I know what happens in the end, so I understand things better.
7. Rereading gives a book a second chance.
Sometimes I read a book and I find it disappointing, boring, etc. It’s not bad, it’s just not what I expected. Often, when I reread the book, I find that I enjoy it much more. Perhaps I’m in a better mood. But generally it’s because I know now what will happen so I’m not disappointed by how it all turns out. I like giving books like that a second chance. 🙂
8. Rereading helps me rave about books better.
Mwahaha, that’s open to debate, I suppose. But I can tell you it’s much better to be able to spill out the whole plot of a book in detail than to have to frown at the cover and say, “I remember really loving this book, but I have no idea why anymore…” xD When rereading a book, you see things you never noticed, you dig deeper, you remember it better, you develop a special knowledge of the book, and you enjoy it again. All of which helps it stay longer in your mind. 🙂
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So, are you Team Reread or Team One Read? And why? 🙂