3 Completely Unreasonable Reasons I Don't Reread Books

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I believe in one day and someday and this perfect moment called Now.
— Jacqueline Woodson, Brown Girl Dreaming

When choosing a new book, I have a plethora of choices. My personal library contains many different genres and I'm never at a loss for something to provoke emotion and new ideas. I buy and receive more books than I can consume; I have a book hoarding problem. A recent release, a classic, or literature I've already read? Here are the three reasons I hardly ever choose that last option.

Once I've read a book, what more can I learn?

Okay, in all seriousness, I don't actually feel like you can't learn something new from rereading a book. Nuance becomes much clearer once you've read a book for a second or third time. With the story or plot points tucked away, you are free to explore the most abstract parts of a novel on a second read.

Those little things you missed on your first go around could change the whole way you interpret the content. Maybe you rushed though as you could read it for a class. Maybe you read it and didn't like it, but someone suggested it to you recently with much enthusiasm. Maybe, you just want to relive the characters and events because it's a great book. All these reasons and more are completely valid for rereading a book. I know people who reread the entire Harry Potter series every year- I am not saying in any way that it's a waste of their time. But, I think it would be a waste of my time, and it's okay that my opinion is different. (I told you, this was unreasonable.)

The reasons I get hung up on this point is because reading for me usually isn't about the details of a book, but how the book made me feel. Writing is a snapshot of an author's mind and I can feel connected to that writer through their word choices or sentence structure. And if I don't feel that connection it makes a Reread decision much easier in the long run.

I am much more interested with the themes of a book than the little details.

When I was in college, I thought it was completely coincidental that I fell in love with Philosophy. You read and read and read, and then you talk and talk and talk about similarities or differences between what you read. Or how one philosopher was completely different than another philosopher and maybe this concept was better than that one. With so many different schools of thought, I never got tired of learning a new one and rarely had time to look back at where I had been.

A few years of reading and speaking in this manner will change how you read a book. The next title would always expand on an original thought, sometimes with more information. I like to compare and contrast- it's my happy place. Finding connections between concepts and themes gives me life, and how I learn and process information happens more when I read something new. Even more helpful are references to other books or a chart comparing multiple books and themes.

I get bored so rereading is not a high priority.

A book has to be captivating to require to reread and that doesn't happen often. This is a personality trait for me, but I am continually looking for more excitement. Invited to an event? I'm there. Having a party? See you soon. Want me to reread something I already read? No, probably not. Thrill seeking happens every time I open a new read and if it's not thrilling, I'd rather be doing something else.

As I take a look around at my collection, I can name the books I've read more than once:

  1. We Should All Be Feminist by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  2. This Is Water by David Foster Wallace
  3. The Only Alien On The Planet by Kristen Randle
  4. Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

Every few months, I try and reread We Should All BE Feminist and This Is Water. There are, of course, other books on my ToReadAgain list; but they are all books I read at a younger age that I would like to understand better as an adult. And unlikely to be read again, if I'm being completely honest.

Life is too short to go back and repeat something I already did and all of these thoughts come down to this:

Fear of Missing Out
Fear of Missing Out

I'm afraid I'll miss something if I take time to go back instead of moving forward. (This isn't a 4th reason, this is really the only reason.)

There are so many books. Hundreds of thousands published each year, plus all the important books you're supposed to read that you may have missed. Everyone has a fear of missing out on something, be movies, friends, and even books. I already know I will never be able to read ALL the books, nowhere near that. I don't even think I can wrap my head around how many books I will never get to read.

When you look at it this way, it' not unreasonable at all. As long as I'm reading something it shouldn't matter if it's something I'll return to. What is your reread policy? Feel free to leave a comment down below.



How do you feel about revisiting a book? 

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About the author

Black & Bookish is the brainchild of Antoinette Scully, educator and lover of all things bookish. She is on a quest to fill your bookshelves with beloved authors of the African Diaspora. When she's not hanging out online, she's living it up as the mother of two rambunctious girls and wife of a local filmmaker.