February 6, 2015

If We Ever Meet Again...


Kelly and I have spent a lot of time discussing our love of re-reading - it's the reason she suggested we team up to host The Re-Read Challenge! I'm already so in love with this challenge. Almost half of the books I've read this year have been re-reads... and I'm remembering why I used to spend so much time re-reading. While I know there are so many unread books I could be reading, there's just something about revisiting a favorite.

But here's the tricky thing about re-reading: every single reading experience is different. Re-reading often cements my love for a book, but sometimes the opposite happens and I won't be as fond as of a book the second time around. On other occasions, re-reading might help me find reasons to love a book I'd originally just liked (or even disliked). Alexa and I were discussing this aspect of re-reading, and it led to an interesting conversation. So, here are the three most common re-reading scenarios I've experienced.

What happens when I re-read?

Scenario #1: I Liked You Better When
Before Into the Still Blue came out, I re-read Under the Never Sky and Through the Ever Night. The first time I read them, I was hooked. I loved the environment, the characters and the conflict. But after re-reading, I found like I didn't enjoy them quite as much. I felt myself growing impatient with the plot, and I realized that I had no desire to read the books again. I'd still recommend the series, but it didn't remain a favorite.

Scenario #2: I Enjoyed You More Than Before
I enjoyed For Darkness Shows the Stars when I first read it two years ago, but I didn't consider it a favorite. But when I re-read it recently, I felt myself falling more in love with it. I wasn't as confused by the world, and I didn't get hung up on the unfamiliar terminology. Without those things slowing me down, I was able to better appreciate the creativity, the writing and the romance. This became a favorite!

Scenario #3: I Love You THIS Much
I absolutely adored Saving Francesca the first time I read it, and re-reading just reminded me of all the reasons I'd loved it the first time around. From Marchetta's incredible writing to the unforgettable characters, I knew this book would have a spot on my shelf forever after I re-read it. I suspect it will just keep getting better and better! In this case, re-reading solidified this book as one of my all-time favorites.

Why do my thoughts change after re-reading?

After we talked about how re-reading impacts our reading experience, Alexa and I realized we each had our own three reasons why our feelings for a book might have changed. So, we decided we'd each share our perspective! Check out Alexa's post for her three reasons, and here are mine:

Reason #1: What Other People Said
I don't avoid reviews before I read a book, but I don't seek them out either. And once I finish a book, I typically try to hold off on reading reviews until I've written my own. After my review is written, however, I'll start looking at what other people have said about the book in question. Sometimes other reviewers will point out flaws that I missed, which become even more obvious after re-reading. Other times, a reviewer's love for a book may help me see it with new eyes. Then, re-reading may solidify that change in my feelings.


Reason #2: What Else I've Read

Now, this can go either way! The more that I read, the more books I have for comparison. For example, a dystopian read can seem less creative the more I read from that genre. I read one popular dystopian novel soon after I started blogging and really enjoyed it. But when I re-read a few years later (and after I'd read a lot more dystopian), I noticed that it really wasn't that creative and relied too heavily on tropes. In other cases, I might realize that a book exemplifies the best aspects of a certain genre the more I read from it.

Reason #3: What I Liked Originally
When I was thinking about the books I've re-read, I noticed a pattern. The reasons that I liked a book originally are often a good prediction of whether or not my feelings for a book would change. If I love the writing or characters, then chances are good that I'll still adore the book the second time around. I may not relate to the characters the same way, but I usually enjoy getting to spend more time with them. But if I just liked the plot? It may not hold up when I re-read, and that's typically when I like a book less.

Have you experienced any of these scenarios?
Why do your feelings for a book change after re-reading?

7 comments:

  1. I've only reread one book so far (although I enjoyed it so much I might have to bump up my goal!) and while I still absolutely LOVED the book, my feelings changed a bit. There was one issue in particular that caught me off guard and hit me to the point where I mentioned it in my reread review. I honestly don't know if, when I first read it, I simply didn't care or overlooked it. With a second read, however, I couldn't ignore it.

    I absolutely agree that other books you've read come into play as well. I was never a big YA reader and the year after I started blogging I read a YA contemporary novel. At the time I thought it was amazing, fantastic, phenomenal, etc etc and even stuck it on my favorites shelves/best of lists/the whole works. Thinking back though, was it really that great? I'm 100% positive that if I reread it, my feelings would change completely. I've read a lot of books since then and what seemed like something new and wonderful might not hold true today.

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  2. I never used to like rereading, because I always thought I'd be bored since I already knew what happened in the books and how they ended. But I'm coming to love rereads and definitely want to do more of them this year! I am always nervous, though, about scenario #1. What if I loved the book and the reread made me hate it? It would ruin whatever experience I had before.

    One of the ways my feelings change after a reread is the time and where I'm at with my life. I definitely look at books differently now than I did even two years ago. I think that's partly WHY I'm afraid to reread favorites. I don't want my feelings to change, but it's inevitable as I've grown older and my tastes are a little different than they were. However, there are those that have just made me love them more and more after rereading them, even as I've gotten older and changed in many ways.

    Great post! :)

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  3. This post is so true! I've definitely experienced the majority of these things when rereading books, and it's always so terrible to discover that you liked a book better the first time around. Still, it's worth a chance to see if you'll like it even more. Nice post! :)

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  4. I'm only starting to reread (I've done 1!), and I definitely felt different about that book on the second read, mostly because the plot twists were ruined. I hadn't put much thought reading others' reviews and having that affect the way I feel about a book, but I think you're so right! I also don't shy away from reviews of books I haven't read. I typically focus on 3 things - their overall rating if available, and their intro paragraph and their summary paragraph. I might skim the middle if I feel like it. This way I get a good overall feel for their feelings on the book with and hopefully without any spoilers or details. Pre-blogging, I hadn't realized how much of a personal experience reading a book can be. I just thought a book was either good or bad, and I'm realizing there is so much more to it than that!

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  5. I must admit, I suck at rereading. I always mean to, but end up getting sucked into all the new books again.
    But so far the books I have reread (mostly from the Harry Potter series or something by Meg Cabot or other favorites like Jane Eyre and The Book Thief) remain my favorites.
    I guess because I'm so picky at rereading, I end up only doing it for the ones I truly loved.
    I still would like to reread more though, see if my feelings change and revisit stories that I loved but haven't read in ages.

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  6. I have a very hard time re-reading books because I like not knowing what's going to happen next, and when I DO know what's going to happen next I sometimes grow a bit bored. However, there are certain books I KNOW have re-readability, so I can't wait to reread those. :P

    I really want to re-read Pride and Prejudice this year because it's one of my favorites, and I am curious to see if I still love it another time around, or if my tastes have changed. (Doubtful, but you never know!)

    I completely related to this post though. I envy people who can re-read books. I need to re-read HP!

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  7. It's seriously interesting to observe how our feelings shift upon rereading an old favorite, isn't it? Whether it becomes less of a favorite or more of a beloved read, it's always contingent on who YOU are when you read it, and whether the book's themes/characters/story stay true to what you enjoy best. Loved getting to collaborate with you (sort of) to produce these posts! <3

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