I am a chronic re-reader. If I love a book, or a series, I can’t help but want to revist it again and again. Some series (like Patrica C. Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles) have become so familiar that I can start my re-read on any word, on any page and know instantly what’s going on, what’s going to happen next. The characters become old friends, steadfast and comforting, the environment is as familiar as the route I take to work.
No matter how many times I go back to an old favorite, I seem to find something new. It can be something big like the fact that a supporting character is always associated with the color yellow or the scent of flowers (and, thus, all associated literary symbolism) or it can be something small, like the nuances of the main character’s speech patterns. Finding things like this warms my geeky heart; it makes me a better thinker and a better reader.
Though I love re-reading, sometimes I do it because I feel like I have to. Before a new Harry Potter book came out, for example, I read through the entire series in case I forgot anything. (Now, I read the series about once every 1.5 years just for fun. And, because I love it.) I find this especially daunting and necessary when the series (and, individual books) are long and there have been long stretches of time between each book (I’m looking directly at you, George R. R. Martin. Directly. At. You.).
Then, there are the books that I can’t wait to “have to” read again. I can’t wait for the next Kingkiller Chronicles book to come out so I can delve back into the world of Kvothe and the Chandrian. Likewise, I’m antsy to get back to Libba Bray‘sThe Diviners, a fun series set in Manhattan in the 1920s, and can’t wait to sink my teeth into Dreams of Gods and Monsters, the final novel in Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. Though the latter book came out in April, I haven’t gotten around to re-reading the first two novels. (Hmm… maybe those should be next…)
My favorite books to re-read are the ones where it’s easy to completely lose myself in that world, whether it’s the Mountains of Morning or Rivendell or Hogwarts. The ones that, no matter how many times I’ve read the words, I continue to laugh or cry or rage with the characters. They are the books that stick with me and fill me with joy. They are the ones that, if I’m having a particularly trying day or frustrating week, I reach for automatically, knowing they will take me away for a little while.