In the last year or so, I’ve started to do more and more re-reads, both of books I read years ago and have fond memories of, or books that I read shortly before I started blogging and really want to write a review.
Re-reading a favorite book is something I actually find quite scary. What if my memory has made this book to be more than it actually was? What if my tastes have changed so much that a book I had on a pedestal is now something I will detest with every fiber of my being? Is it actually possible that a book could be BETTER than I remembered?
When I was a teenager and in my early twenties, there were several books I read over and over again – some of them I even finished the last page and then turned straight back to the first page and read it all over again. All of those books have a place in my heart – and now that I’ve re-read several of’ those’ books, I can say that although my preferences may have changed for which books I pick up to read in the first instance, those things about the books that I loved years ago are still making me happy as a reader.
One example that immediately springs to mind is the Tomorrow series by John Marsden. Those books were released when I was a teenager, and being set in Australia they really resonated with me. I remember anticipating the release of each one, stalking the local bookstore until it was available, running home and reading the WHOLE SERIES AGAIN each time just so I could be sure that I remembered every little detail. I loved the drama, the romance and the friendships and I must have read the first book at least a dozen times over that period. (Quite) A few years later someone on Goodreads asked me if I had read the series and all those memories came flooding back. I started stalking used copies on Amazon, fruitlessly rummaged for e-book versions and more than a year later found out that Quercus was re-releasing the whole series in the UK. So I bought all the released copies, pre-ordered the upcoming releases and ….. put the books on my shelf.
I was so frightened that I would ruin my teenage memories of those books by reading them again. They would be dated, the things that appealed to me as a young and rather naïve teenager might now be drowned in the sea of my thirty-something-cynicism. Then the movie came out, I watched it and loved it, I listened to the first book on audio for a different perspective and loved it, and it was time to bite the bullet.
I loved the hell out of those books, and I was stoked to realize that I still loved the hell out of those books, even years later.
There have been disappointments, sure (I’m staring RIGHT AT YOU World War Z), but there have been books that I liked MORE the second time around, particularly now that I write my feelings down on paper (um, screen) and that my preferred genres are so much wider.
I’ve often seen bloggers say they don’t have time to re-read, and I totally get that (hello impossibly huge TBR that will outlive me). But maybe we SHOULD make more time for those books that we desperately loved and have never had a chance to get back to again? After all, we all have our comfort zones in other ways, right? Whether it’s hibernating in bed when life gets icky, or eating ice-cream like it’s going out of fashion whilst watching sappy movies. So why don’t we get out those teenage/last year/last month favorites and eat ice-cream whilst in bed and devouring those books we love. Is it time management, fear or something else?
Do you re-read books that you loved, or are you a scaredy cat with far too many other books to read? What's your favorite book to re-read?