Rereading, or Why I Come Back to Certain Books

why do I reread books by mynameismarines (10/9/20)

Mynameismarines talks about rereading books a lot on her channel. Her most recent video on the subject came out early October, and it is what inspired me to start interrogating my (re)reading habits more in depth. I highly suggest checking it out if stuff like this interests you, and I also just highly suggest checking out her channel in general, it’s one of my favorite booktube channels.

Every week, dozens of books come out. Books are always coming out, and there will never be enough time in my lifetime for me to read all of them. I still want to read as many books that I can in this lifetime but still, I go back and reread books. It’s not like I’m constantly rereading books or anything. I probably reread about one to three books a month, which is a fourth to an eighth of my reading a month. But that’s still time that I could spend reading books that I haven’t before.

Personally, I have a few reasons for rereading book. These range from mental health reasons to content reasons. And those are not things I’m going to shy away from but of it is also just that I love rereading books.

From old favorites, the cutesy chapter books that I read as a child, to books I just read for the first time last year. Going back and rereading books is an experience that I cannot really put into simple words. And while the experience can vary depending on the exact reason, the core experience of rereading books for me is a sensation of returning to memories. It’s feeling the same things I felt a week ago, a few months ago, a year ago, a decade ago. It’s remembering the exact taste of a drink I had years, the taste tucked away in my memories and distorted by the action of remembering. It’s a coming home to a home that is never my home for more than a couple days at most.

And I don’t know if any of that makes sense. What I’m trying to say, trying to get across in a way that feels emotionally true to me, is that rereading books, in the very least reading my favorite books, comforts me. The characters are already new friends, and I know them more intimately than I could ever hope to know another person in most cases. I have built the infrastructure of the settings in my mind, all I have left to do is add the details and polish it more and more. The magic or the science or the plot twists or whatever aspect is already tucked away in my mind. Really, the only things I need to learn still are the little details. The only things I don’t already know are the threads I want to unravel.

When my brain is loud, when my thoughts will never really slow, all of that is helpful. I can sit back and read Gideon the Ninth and Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir again, and I can spend hours thinking about the characters and the themes and the magic system and about what is going to happen in book three. I can sit back and read An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green and be welcomed back into a world and plot and character that I know so feel that I have fallen asleep listening to it and woken up only to know exactly where I was.

Now, I’ll admit, I don’t reread books only for reasons like that. I am someone who is trying to talk about books regularly online, and I cannot shy away from the reality that makes thoughtful reading an important part of my reading. For the past few months, I have been planning a deep dive into Riley Sager’s books that requires me to 1) read all of his books and 2) read his books, the majority of which make me want to put my head through a wall. These are not books that I am rereading for fun. And they are books I would probably have never reread, let alone reread physically, if I wasn’t doing this, if I didn’t want to talk about how his portrayals of women fit together and yellow about his overuse of the em dash.

Beyond the fact that I just like closely reading books, there is some content, like the previously mentioned Riley Sager deep dive, that require close readings. And close readings require rereading. I need to read a book multiple times to comfortably pick apart the themes and the characters and what the book is aiming to say. It’s simply a requirement for me now that I broadcast my thoughts and opinions online.

And, really, I don’t need these reasons to reread books. Rereading books is, while not a large part of my reading, a very crucial part of my reading and content creation. And even if my TBR doubles every year, I cannot imagine stopping anytime soon. But, to put it simply, I like rereading books and that’s enough for me to dedicate my time to it.

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