Saturday, January 30, 2016

The Benefits (and annoyances) of Being a Re-Reader



So over Christmas break, I decided it was high time that I (1) reread the first six Harry Potter books, and (2) finally read the seventh.

Now I know EVERYTHING and will understand ALL THE REFERENCES YAY!

Also I still think Snape is a jerk. Not evil, no, but a jerk nonetheless. Fight me.

But after I read the books, I realized it's been a long time since I reread something. I used to reread all the time. ALL THE TIME. And then when I discovered YA and actually alive authors and began to read new releases and my TBR grew at ten times the rate it had before, I stopped rereading. Which is sad, because I during my grand HP reread, I found that I had missed the comfort that comes from revisiting old books. 

So. Let's break down my research (rambling thoughts?) into a list of why rereading makes my bookwormy life so much better.

1. I learn new details that I missed before.

I have a bad memory when it comes to details and minor plot points and sometimes even major plot points. Even in my non-bookish life, I don't remember details (I inherited this from my dad, so blame him). Instead, I remember emotions and how certain situations or people made me feel. It's the same when I read a book. So every time I reread a book, something new pops up that I missed before.

2. I don't feel like I wasted money when I buy a book.

OF COURSE, seeing books on my shelf is a pretty decent use of my money. Their mere presence validates my purchase. But I'm a strong believer in getting my money's worth, so with that mindset, technically the more I read a book, the better value it becomes. This is logic because I say it is.

3. It's like revisiting old friends.

This is especially true if you have a bad memory like mine. Sometimes you want the hero to be in danger of his life and not know if they are going to survive, but sometimes you want to be able to comfortably read through the book knowing exactly how it's going to end. It's like watching Princess Bride for the seven hundredth and fifty third time. Same principle. (And don't try to deny that you haven't seen Princess Bride seven hundred and fifty three times.)

4. I get a new perspective.

The Harry Potter books are cool because if you were one of the original readers, you'd grow up with them. The first three are obviously MG, and then the switch to YA is extraordinarily clear in Goblet of Fire. When I was first reading them, this fourth book was my favorite, probably because I was 14 and related to Harry the most there. I enjoyed the rest of course, but at that point my brain was at the 14 year old level. In Order of the Phoenix, I found Harry annoying, whiny, and acting way too much of a victim when everyone was OBVIOUSLY in danger too and OBVIOUSLY doing the best for him the stupid child. I considered myself very mature at 14, if you can't tell.
During this reread, Goblet of Fire wasn't my favorite as it had been before. And though I still found Harry kind of whiny in Order of the Phoenix, I understood the reasoning behind it better. I think it's fascinating (and evidence of J. K. Rowling's skill) that the style of each book so perfectly correlates to Harry's age. It's so much fun to read them as an (amateur) adult kind of viewing it from above, rather than during childhood.

But then again, there is ONE disadvantage that I see to rereading, and that is: 

I don't get to read SHINY NEW BOOKS as much.

When I was a reader of solely classics, I would reread my favorites every year or so, sometimes even more than once. But now that I've gotten into the YA world (shame on you my blogging friends! actually no i love it), I've been rereading much less. But my hiatus from the new and shiny while reading Harry Potter was so pleasant that I plan to do it more often.

And what about you? Do you reread? Or are you a one-time kind of person? What's the last book you reread? And (be honest now) how many times have you watched Princess Bride?

16 comments:

  1. This is wonderful. I can totally agree with you. I love rereading because I can miss things the first time I read a book. I am usually just so excited that I read so fast the first time. On rereads I take a little more time and realize how awesome the books are again.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Amanda

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    1. That's very true and something I missed in the post - I also always read superfast the first time, which probably doesn't help my bad memory. :-P

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  2. Great post! I completely agree with you about rereading - it's a great way to develop your understanding of a book, picking up on details you might have missed before. And rereading books definitely feels like meeting up with old friends - I love rereading Harry Potter, for instance (I probably do it every second year, if I'm honest) because it takes me back to my childhood a little bit, and every time I read the series I'm amazed at the skill of Rowling, particularly her plotting.

    (And if I'm honest, I've probably watched Princess Bride twenty-odd times :D)

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    1. Oh I entirely understand you many rereads of HP since I do the same thing with Narnia! Those were my childhood books and I've lost track of how many times I've reread them.

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  3. First and foremost: yay!! You finished Harry Potter!! *party*

    This is a conundrum I find myself into, too. I used to reread a lot before I discovered book blogs. And maybe I don't like my books not counting towards my GR challenge (crazy, I know, it's just a stupid number I set myself). Now I still reread from time to time, but usually read new books, and miss the feeling of revisiting old favorites. I also have lousy memory, so rereading is almost reading anew for me. #booknerdproblems are hard.

    Also, I'm going to steal amateur adult. It's the perfect phrasing.

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    1. *parties with you*

      Don't we book nerds suffer so much? Someone needs to invent a machine to pause time so we can just read ALL the books and then reread them ALL AGAIN. (And again.)

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  4. I reread all the time, mostly because I can never seem to afford many new books. I reread Howl's Moving Castle at least once a month. It is one of my favorites.
    Honestly, I have lost count of how many times I have seen the Princess Bride, it's a large number to be sure. :D

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    1. I've never read Howl's Moving Castle (but I've heard of it). I'm going to put it on my list!

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    2. (also, what about libraries? I don't buy many books, but I ABSOLUTELY RAID my local libraries.)

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  5. I love to reread but I haven't done it nearly as much since getting into YA. Harry Potter has always been my go-to; I'd reread each book before the new one came out so I could look for details and clues, and it is AMAZING how much JKR fit into each book! Then in college I didn't read for fun very much, but I always had the comfort and ease of Harry Potter, like you said. I love that you compared it to watching favorite movies because I've watched my favorites SO many times and it's absolutely the same concept! Lately I tend to reread favorite contemps more bc to me it's like watching a romantic comedy. And I've reread The Raven Cycle a couple times for the details. But I want to give in and read my old favorites more. Love your post :)

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    1. Ohhhh I need to reread The Raven Cycle because that is SO FULL of details and foreshadowing and hidden clues. Especially before TRK comes out, I've got to intensely study the books before and formulate all my theories :-P

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  6. I LOVE rereading!! I don't do it as much as I used to, but I still do it whenever I can.
    I actually just finished rereading a book I first read when I was 12...for the fourth time. I still love it.

    And I lost count of how many times I've seen Princess Bride a long time ago.

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    1. That's so great! What book was it? Four rereads is an impressive recommendation :-)

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  7. Yes...such a dilemma. So many worthy of a reread, so many worthy unread. Excellent appraisal of the pros and cons.

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    1. Thank you! We bibliophiles suffer so :-P

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  8. Interesting, I actually experienced a similar thing through blogging, even though I read YA books before. Also I didn't read any books I would declare that they're classics. But I was a rereader, who rather borrowed a book twice from the library instead of exploring new ones. Then I started blogging and in the first year I did, I was totally obsessed with new books and everything and my TBR isn't twice times bigger, but three times. No end at sight. And I'm still constantly adding books. Lately I at least tried to stop borrowing so many books from my friend, when I need a year to finish them (not that I'm a slow reader -but I need half a year to get started and half a year to review them) also I'm trying to stop reading new books all the time. It's exhausting.

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