Why Do We Reread Books?

read books

We all have a book (or books) that we have read multiple times. Some people reading this will find the concept of rereading odd, which makes sense on a logical level. Why would you reread something when there are so many new, exciting books to discover? The world is full of book recommendations, classics to sink your teeth into, choices from great lists that just demand to be read – so why do we keep going back to well-thumbed tomes?

Reason 1: Rereading Is Comforting

When we read a book for the first time, we don’t know it. Even if we have read something by the same author, there’s still a chance we won’t like the book, or it will have a twist that we don’t enjoy. There’s an element of trepidation at every page turn, right down to worrying about the fates of our favourite characters. With a great book, it’s a great experience – but it’s also a little bit scary.

We don’t have that sense of nervousness about the plot devolving or a beloved character meeting an untimely demise when we reread. We know how the story goes and what we need to prepare ourselves for. There’s no surprises and sometimes in life, you just want something comforting and predictable.

Reason 2: It’s Easier

There’s no doubt that reading takes some brain power. You have to summon up the energy to let the words on the page form pictures in your mind, think about plotlines, try and anticipate what’s going to happen next.

That doesn’t happen when we reread. You can almost do it on autopilot, enjoying the story but not really having to involve ourselves with it. We can read a “who dunnit” or see characters speculate about the motivations of someone, all safe in the knowledge that we already know the answer.

If this is the primary reason that you reread, it is worth trying out something from those “top 10” lists once in awhile. Reading should be pleasurable, but it should also test you on occasion – maybe try one new book for every three that you allow yourself to reread? After all, you’re going to need something new to reread eventually!

Reason 3: We Struggle To Find What We Like

If you only have an interest in a very narrow genre, then there might be a limited supply of stories available to you. In this case, why not try something in a genre you would normally go out of your way to avoid? See what’s recommended by fans of that genre and dive right in – you might be surprised at how much you like it.


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