I have friends who have reread the Harry Potter series all the way through at least a handful of times. I personally could never bring myself to do it more than once — I mean, the last half, collectively, is huge! But I understand why they keep going back to stories they fell in love with.
There’s one book on my shelf that I’ve read at least once a year since I first bought it. The story is familiar to me, I’m no longer surprised by its climax. But I keep going back to it, and try to at least once every 365 days. Why do I do that?
After all, I have way too many unread books. And I KEEP BUYING MORE. Why continue returning to something you basically know by heart?
Rereading books IS worth your time, it turns out. At least, one of them is. If you have a favorite book, there are actually many reasons why you should try rereading it as often as possible — within reason, of course.
Writers take the things they love about books and make their own stories out of them. They also learn from their favorite books and use every reread as a lesson or refresher in the things they can do better in their own storytelling endeavors.
You probably relate to one of the book’s characters. This can not only give you a sense of comfort and reassurance — you’re not the only one going through X — but it can also motivate you to work on your own projects that give your readers someone, despite the fact that they’re fictional, to relate to, to lean on, to make them feel like everything is OK.
Sometimes, you do miss things the first time. And if you go a year without reading a story, it is possible to forget some details that caught your attention last time. The best books are the ones that have tiny details woven into them that enrich the entire reading experience when you discover them for the first time — even if it’s not the first time you’re diving into the book.
And most importantly, you love it — why not enjoy it again and again? Its the same reason I have seen every episode of Gilmore Girls at least twice, and why one of my friends has seen every episode of Friends at least three times (probably more by now). When you love something, you keep coming back to it because it makes you happy. That’s not a crime. Life is hard, the world isn’t fair, and not everything turns out the way you wish it would. The stories you love — books, TV shows, movies, etc. — nurture your soul. So much so that they’re almost a part of you.
It’s OK. Keep going back. Because even though new content is always being made and it often feels like there isn’t time, it may be something that’s worth the hours — and the memories.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.
5 thoughts on “Why You Should Reread Your Favorite Book At Least Once a Year”
Great write up. I do read the genres in which I write, however, I don’t reread the books. The books I have read over, time and time again, are those authors/orators that I adore…such as Cicero and Einstien, and the entire collection of Shakespeare. Their writings can never be duplicated…maybe that’s why I continue to dive into them?
Thank you for the blog!
It’s so interesting to hear what others prefer to reread “for fun.” Thanks for sharing! :)
We are different people every time we reread a favorite book and because of that we always find new meaning while enjoying an old friend.
Well said! (written?) I love it. Thank you for sharing that with me.
I’m definitely an avid rereader. When I read something for the first time I feel an obligation to be well rested and ready to really “see” and experience everything it has to offer. But when I’m rereading I feel free to relax, to skip segments, and not worry if I miss things.
Often times I have to read it once for the sake of the big plot, the questions that pull us all along, and then I will read it a few more times to appreciate the smaller moments that show the intimacy of budding and growing character relationships.
Some stories I reread once, or a few times, and then I’m done, and I can part with them. Others I may reread less often, but I still need to have them, for those times that I need “that experience”, and as a comforting piece of knowledge, that I can reread them any time I want. I would say there are probably at least a dozen, if not a couple dozen, that I could reread many times and still find joy in it. In many ways I do have to push myself to keep turning to new stories, the gambles that may payoff, and must be given their chance, even though I do love returning to old familiars.