On Re-Reading

On Re-Reading >> Life In Limbo

Today on the blog, I’m tackling one of the world’s most controversial topics: re-reading books. People are so wild about this one! Everyone seems to be very passionately on their own side of this debate – to the point where I’ve heard contempt and even derision in the voices of people when they hear I like to re-read books. “Life is short!”, that camp says, “what a waste of time.” Or they’ll say, “Really? Wow…I’ve never liked a book enough to re-read it.” (To which I say, “Well, maybe you should get yourself some better books?”)

As you might have guessed, I am firmly in the camp of the re-readers. Yes, me, the girl who was once quoted in the Globe and Mail as saying “One day I realized I was going to die without having read all the books I want to read.” That quote might sound morbid or excessively dramatic, but it’s a real thought I have often, ever since I read My Life with Bob, a book about a lifetime of reading. I know I will never get through my To-Read list in my lifetime, a fact which makes me feel small and human and motivates me to read as many beautiful stories as I can. 

But despite all of that being true, I am still a re-reader. Not with all books, and not all the time, but some books, sometimes. For me, it’s a kind of special treat to re-read a book that I absolutely loved, almost like eating comfort food. When I was traveling in Europe after university, alone and occasionally lonely, I re-read all of Sarah Addison Allen’s books on my iPad. These are not high literature, but they evoke feelings of home and magic and family for me, all things I needed a dose of at the time.

Any time I need to believe in love again, I re-read I’ll Give You the Sun. When I want to feel a fun summer feeling, I’ll pick up one of Elin Hilderbrand’s novels.  I just re-read the entire Harry Potter series which made me feel so happy and re-connected to my childhood. I’ve read Tiny Beautiful Things at least four times, because it makes me feel alive. This food memoir really gets me for some reason, I’ve read it three times. I can easily see myself re-reading the Beartown series. Really, anything on this list I will probably eventually (or already have) re-read several times.

I feel very gratified that Gretchen Rubin agrees with me since she often says, “The best reading is re-reading.” But how do you feel? I would love to know if you’re Team Re-Read, or Team There Are Too Many Books In The World!

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