on re-reading

I read a lot of books, but more importantly, I re-read books.

I’ve come to find out not a lot of people read something more than once, which boggles my mind because if you liked a book, why not re-join that universe and those characters over and over again?

Why read something when you already know how it ends? You say. That’s precisely why I re-read! I answer. I can predict the ending and the twists and the turns and even if the obstacles seem as insurmountable as before, I already know the outcome, so I can enjoy the journey to get there. I can pick up on more details instead of focusing on just the big plot points, which allows me to breathe in the book’s universe more deeply.

Occasionally, all I want to do is wallow and cry and picking up a sad book facilitates that. Knowing how the sadness takes shape allows me to control how low I go. (And sometimes, I’ll just turn on the beginning of BRIDGET JONES’S DIARY (the movie) and that does the trick of encouraging self-pity, but then dragging me away from it.)

Or I’ll pick up a book I know will make me laugh and grin away the dark mood.

Other times, I want to surround myself with pretty language to drown out the ugly words in my head.

There are also times I want to play detective, but I’m horrible at solving mysteries, so re-joining a universe where I know who the bad guy is means I catch all the clues giving my ego gets a much needed boost. And some books have such a huge twist that you have to read it twice in a row so you can read the story with a fresh set of eyes and pick up on all you originally missed.

But the main reason I re-read is because it’s the familiar that’s comfortable / what I’m seeking. Life can get crazy and be unstable and hard to handle. Knowing how a book will take shape? Being able to predict the ending? That’s a nice walk down easy street. A fabulous way to clear the mind and steady the heart.

What are some of the books I’ve read more than once?

CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein*

GRACELING by Kristin Cashore

HARRY POTTER series by J.K. Rowling (I’ve re-read books 3 and 4 the most.)

IF I STAY by Gayle Forman*

METRO GIRL by Janet Evanovich

SIMON VS THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA by Becky Albertalli*

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green

THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY by Annie Barrows*

THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins* (note, just THG, not the other two)

THE RAMBLERS by Aidan Donnelley Rowley*

THE ROSIE PROJECT by Graeme Simsion*

THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater* (I re-read this every November. If you’ve read the book, you’ll know why.)

THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by Jandy Nelson

THE WITNESS and CHASING FIRE by Nora Roberts*

TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS by Cheryl Strayed*

*Books I’ve both read and listened to.

Do YOU re-read books? If so, which ones? If not, why not?

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5 Responses to “on re-reading”

  1. Sister J Says:

    I love re-reading books! For all the reasons you listed although I probably couldn’t have put the right words to them. Thank you for describing why I love re-reading books as well! The first few I can think of that I enjoy re-reading, other than ones you mentioned, are The Host and all of the Anne of Green Gables books. Xo

    • abby mumford Says:

      As my older sister, you were a strong influence on my loving of reading because you were reading all the time and I wanted to be like you. Plus, you picked out all the sassy books from the library. ;)

      I can’t believe I forgot to mention Anne of Green Gables. GAH. What an amazing book. I must re-read that immediately!!

      • Sister J Says:

        Anne of Green Gables is such comfort reading! You continue to influence my reading and for that I thank you.

  2. Nate Says:

    Love that you re-read Scorpio Races every November! Very cool.

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