Why Should We Reread Books? A Discussion

I actually first published this post way back in September of 2020, only a few weeks after I started my blog. I totally forgot about it until I went looking back to my old posts searching for something else and stumbled upon this gem instead. It’s a pretty cool post, and honestly the original wasn’t written that badly, but I decided to spruce it up and publish again, since very few people got to see it given how new the blog was back then. So, I hope you enjoy, and if you are one of the few people who’ve already read this one, well…give it a reread?

There are so many books out there–too many to be able to read in an entire lifetime, no matter how much you try. Once you’ve read the book, you’ve absorbed the plot, the characters, the world. Reading books is like having a thousand different stories running through your head. So, why in the world would you pick up a book that you’ve already read? If you know the story, the characters, the world, why read it again? Why waste the time on this book when there are so many more new stories? Today, I wanted to discuss some of the reasons that I reread, plus a few reasons why rereading can be helpful in some scenarios.

So first of all, why do I reread books? There are a few reasons for this. One of them, which I feel like is fairly common for a lot of people, is just for comfort reading. If I’m in a book slump, or I just want to read something that I know that I’ll enjoy and am familiar with, rereading is definitely something that I’ll do. There’s definitely something nice about curling up on a cold day with a book that you already know you’re going to enjoy, ready to get immersed into that world again.

Probably the second most common reason that I’ll reread a book is if it’s in a series and the next book in said series is about to come out. My memory when it comes to books is woefully bad (as I’m sure you’ve heard many times before), so rereading is a big help so I’m not totally lost when I start the next book in the series. Sometimes, I’ll even have to do this more than once, if the NEXT book comes out (aka, one reread for the second book coming out, but then another one when the third book comes out)

And lastly, I’ll reread a book just if I have no other books to read. Almost always, I have access to a library and keep a pretty steady stream of books coming to me from that library, but sometimes, especially before Christmas or my birthday when I have been banned from getting books from the library so that I don’t accidentally read a book that I’m getting (my mom claims she doesn’t do this, but I know she said it to me once), I don’t have that, and so I end up rereading books that I have at home.

Now, why might rereading be fun or even useful at times? I think the best thing about rereading is to catch clever little tidbits that the author hid in the reading that you really don’t notice until it’s been revealed later on in the book! My best example of this is in Six of Crows, which I reread recently, and I noticed so many clever things that Leigh Bardugo added in hinting at how Wylan’s father really thought of Wylan that I absolutely would not have gotten the first time around.

When you reread, you could also focus on a different part of the story you’re reading from the first time around. Usually, the thing that I pay the most attention to is the plot, because that’s just what’s happening in the story, so it fascinates me most, but turns out that there are a lot of awesome other things, for example characters and character development, as well as worldbuilding, and by rereading, you’re able to appreciate some of the other elements of a story that you didn’t catch at first because you were focused on what was going on.

Books could also help to assist with your own writing, if you are a writer. In the past, I’ve found plenty of books that I use to help me with writing style as well as worldbuilding. Obviously I’m not suggesting you plagiarize or copy parts of the book, instead I’m simply recommending studying the book for techniques that an author used to make their book better. For example, how did they introduce their characters? What is their description like and what sorts of things do they describe? I remember at one point being obsessed with and reading over and over the first chapter of Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, just because of how much I loved the description, and attempting to recreate that in my own writing. Anyone who’s book has been published has clearly done something right, so why not learn from them?

What are a few reasons that you reread? Do you find rereading useful? What are some books that you jump to as comfort reads?


22 thoughts on “Why Should We Reread Books? A Discussion

    1. Thank you so much! Yes, catching new things just makes you realize the entire ingeniusness of an author (ingeniusness is not, as it turns out, a word, but we’re gonna ignore that). And comfort reading is just the best; picking up a book that you know is amazing so you’re able to just see the characters and the story again is just so nice. Ooh, I haven’t heard of the Smoke Thieves, I might have to check those out!

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  1. i was never one for rereading until last year, when i started reading frontlist books and by the time the next book in the series came out, i had forgotten the earlier one. and obviously sometimes i just want to read something I KNOW i will love, so i reread a favourite just to be on the safer side (cough six of crows cough). love how insightful this post is!!

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    1. Honestly, same. For me, most books are just one time experiences. It can especially be tough to pick up a book you’ve already read when there are just SO MANY OTHER BOOKS out there! But rereading so you remember what the heck happened in a book before its sequel comes out is definitely a huge part of rereading. And yes!!! Six of Crows is a definite favorite reread! Thank you so much, thanks for stopping by!

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  2. Ooh this is such a nice post!! I used to reread books like mad (like, sometimes I knew entire passages by heart) but now I reread the books I feel like rereading. When I read something for the second time I see so many hints that the author had planted I didn’t see in the first time, it’s so fun finding them out and having aha! moments and how-did-i-miss-this moments.

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    1. I’m glad you enjoyed! Oh wow, I could only aspire to reread so much that I actually memorized the book. That would take me literally forever, because my brain is so bad at remembering books. Why did you used to reread books so much? The aha moments are the best! Rereading can give SO MUCH insight into how an author really wrote a book, and everything they put into it.

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  3. Amazing post Phoenix! I agree with all of your points, honestly! Especially comfort reading- YA contemporaries are my go-to comfort rereads. I also reread whenever I am in a slump, because it sometimes helps me get out of it, but that just might be me!

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  4. I definitely love rereading books although I have done a lot less rereading since I discovered Net Galley as one of my reasons for rereading was that I couldn’t afford to buy enough new books to buy to keep me occupied. However, I also reread when I am really tired and just want to switch off so I’ll reread a favourite book. I also reread sometimes if I’ve read a new book and it has reminded me of one I’ve read previously. But the main reason I think is just to revisit old friends again. My rereads are mainly fantasy so I can escape into different worlds.

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    1. Hmm, that’s interesting how having arcs has made you reread less, though it makes perfect sense! arcs are something that you have to read sooner rather than later, so they could definitely prevent you from rereading other things. I like the idea of rereading when you’re tired in order to not have to concentrate on the book as much because you already know what’s happening. Oh huh, I’ve never thought about rereading a book that you’ve been reminded of when you’re reading another book. But yesss I agree, revisiting old friends in comfort reads is the best reason to reread.

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  5. I completely agree with your points and I also re-read books for all of these reasons. Its just so comforting to read something that I know I already love and enjoy, and especially when I am feeling down, there is nothing better than having one of my old comfort books with me.

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  6. PHOENIX I AM IN LOVE WITH ALL OF YOUR DISCUSSION POSTS!! I LOVE THEM ALL SO MUCH! And I completely agree with all of your points, and YESS RE-READING IS SO HELPFUL IN WRITING!! And also for writing reviews sometimes, but maybe that’s just me haha 😭 I’m usually too busy devouring the book to pay attention to ALL the various components and such so I hardly ever review books I haven’t re-read. AND THE SOC WYLAN’S RELATIONSHIP WITH HIS FATHER THING – I relate so much! I re-read parts of SOC right after finishing the book and OMG YES THERE WERE SO MANY CLUES (like the part where he doesn’t write the names on the map of the ice court??) but then sometimes books you’ve read long long ago don’t interest you as much when you re-read them, and that is sad, especially when the book in question used to be one of you favorites (*cough* MATILDA *cough*)

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    1. aaah thank you! WordPress for some reason put this comment in my spam folder, I have no idea why!!! Anyways, I’m really happy that you love all my discussion posts and I do have more planned eventually (though they are not written yet so who knows when ‘eventually’ will be). Haha yeah, exactly! Reviews usually focus on way more than I focus on in reading, so it can be super hard to write a good review! Aah, yeah, or old favorites that you begin to see a bunch of problems with, which is a bummer. Sorry you didn’t enjoy Matilda as much as you used to!


  7. As someone who very rarely rereads, I loved hearing your thoughts on this topic. I find that even when I might want to reread a book, if I don’t pick it up immediately, I will most definitely end up gravitating towards something I haven’t read before.

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    1. To be perfectly honest, I don’t reread much either (why did I write this post? I have no idea). That’s true, rereading is kind of an in the moment decision, because even though there are a lot of amazing books that you’ve already read, there’s so many more that you haven’t! Thanks for stopping by!

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  8. This is an amazing discussion Phoenix!! I was part of the team who never rereads books because I’m a terribly slow reader and I didn’t understand how people could find comfort in a story they *knew* everything about already. But this year I have been rereading my favourite book for a readalong I was hosting and I saw little elements and so much foreshadowing for the big reveal which I hadn’t noticed the first time! So I completely agree with you. And ahead of the second Bridgerton season I reread Anthony’s story and it was so comforting to see my favourite characters again so now I seriously think that I was missing out on the whole rereading thing! And what you wrote about the writer aspect was so interesting because someone asked a well-known author for advice and they said “read, read, read” and I agree. Reading helps us see the style, characters, tropes, etc. we enjoy. Thank you for this description!

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    1. Aah, thank you! Haha, honestly I used to basically never reread either, and I still don’t do it a whole lot but I do it sometimes. Ooh, how’s your readalong going? Exactly, I honestly think that the finding little mentions and hidden things in the book is one of the best parts about rereading. It’s like little secrets that the authors add in that so few people actually notice! And seeing your favorite characters again is always super comforting. Ooh, what author was that? Yeah I have to agree, that’s really good advice, you’re totally correct! Of course, thank you for commenting!

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