The Rereading Dilemma

I don’t dare to do a count, but the current state of my TBR is, well, pretty bad. These days, not only do I have a physical TBR:

Part of my physical TBROne of my TBR stacks

I also have an ebooks TBR, an audiobook TBR and a Scribd TBR. Not to mention the library holds I pick up every week.

When your TBR piles are so big you know you don’t have much of a chance of getting through them all unless you swear off adding new books to your to-read lists for the next ten years or so (and I know lots of you know exactly what I’m talking about here), what do you when you feel the urge to reread a book?

Every now and then, this happens to me. Despite all these new, unread books beckoning to me, calling out my name, almost but not quite reaching out to wrap their bookish arms around me, I suddenly think of a much loved older read and I want nothing more than to cuddle up in my reading chair, snacks at hand, and re-read to my heart’s content.

Sometimes I give in. And sometimes I resist. But it’s always such a dilemma every time this happens.

And that urge to reread? Anything can trigger it. Here are some books I’ve found myself wanting to reread over the past three months or so, and the reasons why they came to mind:

Emily of New Moon, by L.M. Montgomery. Because I was on Twitter the other night when the #womeninfiction hashtag came up and I immediately thought of Emily.

The Forever King, by Molly Cochran and Warren Murphy. Because I was reading The Camelot Kids for a book tour, and The Forever King is one of the best urban fantasy King Arthur novels I’ve read.

Pride & Prejudice, by Jane Austen. Because I always want to re-read Pride & Prejudice, at least a few times every year. Despite this, it’s been nearly ten years since my last re-read of it.

Make Way for Lucia (The Mapp and Lucia books), by E.F. Benson. Because I received an email a while ago from author Guy Fraser-Sampson who has written some sequels to the Mapp and Lucia books (and this reminds me, I never emailed him back—this was way back when I was at inbox 1000 and non-essential emails were getting lost all over the place). What really bugs me, though, is I went hunting for my copy of Make Way for Lucia and couldn’t find it. And I suspect it accidentally got placed in the books-to-give-away pile when we made our big move to the city four years ago.

Any of the Bill Bryson travel books (I have all of them). Because I read this post from the Guardian Books blog about Bryson’s forthcoming new release, The Road to Little Dribbling, and suddenly I wanted to sit with one of his books and spend the night smiling and laughing with his words.

The Good Soldier, by Ford Madox Ford. Because I read an article about this book recently (I can’t remember where or even what the article was about specifically) and this happens to be one of the few classics (that’s not a play) that I really enjoyed when I was in school.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette, by Maria Semple. Because Candace happened to mention on Twitter a few weeks ago how amazing the audio version is, so now I really really want to listen to it in audio.

So there you go. My ongoing rereading dilemma. Out of all these books I’ve just mentioned, I know I’m going to do a reread of Where’d You Go, Bernadette in audio (I put a hold on it at the library as soon as I heard how good the audio is), and I am *this* close to rummaging around for the first Emily book. And the others? They’re still tugging at my heart.

What about you? Do you like to re-read books? Do you ever feel that re-reading dilemma?

12 thoughts on “The Rereading Dilemma

  1. Jemi Fraser

    There are certain books I love to reread too – and that list has changed over the years. I’ve reread Anne of GG several times, a few Agatha Christie’s, LoTR, JD Robb’s In Death series & some Jill Shalvis too. They’re all comfort reads for me :)

    Reply
  2. Shaina

    I reread my books like crazy when I was a kid (Harry Potter, I’m lookin’ at you), but I almost never do it now! One that I’ll definitely be reading again soon is Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. It was one of my favorites as a teen, and now I can hardly remember it!

    I say go ahead and reread if it will make you happy! Nothing wrong with treating yourself to a story you love. :)

    Reply
  3. Sarah's Book Shelves

    Ha – this is a dilemma! I really don’t re-read very often because of all the reasons you mentioned. But, for the past 2 years, I decided I’d re-read one of my old favorites around Christmas time/early January (when my review schedule has tapered off and I have more time on my hands). I’ve been reading Pat Conroy lately. Last year it was The Great Santini and The Lords of Discipline and this year it was The Prince of Tides. Next year, it will be Beach Music (rounding out the Pat Conroy).

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  4. Kay

    Oh yes, I definitely get the urge to reread books. And I do it, sometimes. I have found that when I am at my most fragile, because of life circumstances or illness or whatnot, I get the urge to be in a really happy reading place. Often, that means what I would term my “comfort” reads. So I indulge. It’s like a warm bubble bath or a cup of hot chocolate.

    And I don’t believe in putting “rules” on my reading anymore. Been there, done that. I subscribe to “no stress” reading – whatever that means at the moment. How lucky are we to love reading. Why ruin it with “shoulds” or “shouldn’ts”. Just my 2 cents. LOL

    Reply
  5. Leah @ Books Speak Volumes

    I feel this so much. Up until college, I mainly read the same few books over and over again, but I have only re-read a handful of books since I started blogging three years ago. I sometimes I crave an old favorite, but I rarely give in because of review commitments that take up a lot of my reading time. However, the publishing lull in November/December is always a nice time to revisit favorites! In 2013 I took a month to re-read the whole Harry Potter series, and it was wonderful

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  6. Suey

    I rarely re-read, but I do give in if I’m encouraging others to read something and I say I’ll read it with them. And then we end up doing a read along! Or, if my book club picks a book I’ve already read and I can’t remember it enough to discuss, so I’ll re-read. Sometimes. Usually. Some books though, like Pride and Prejudice, just need to be revisited a lot.

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  7. Alex J. Cavanaugh

    I’ll confess, I almost never reread books. I just have too many new ones I want to read that it’s beyond rare I go back to an old one. In fact, there’s only three fantasy series I can say I’ve read more than once.

    Reply
  8. Athira

    I often feel the same way, especially when I am in a rut or not reading anything at the moment. For me, it is usually the Harry Potter or LOTR books, but almost always I resist the urge and pick something else. I do plan to give in sometime.

    Reply
  9. Heidenkind

    I agree about The Forever King! That’s one of my favorite books of all time, actually. You’re the first blogger I’ve come across to mention it.

    Reply
  10. Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library

    That reread urge can be brutal! I do get it fairly regularly and there’s definitely some books I want to dig up and revisit despite my towering stacks of review books and TBR books and new books that I don’t have but want to have. I do give in periodically because I know if I don’t there’s the danger of a reading slump!

    Reply
  11. Melissa

    I used to be very anti-rereading. I thought it was wasting time to reread books when my TBR kept getting bigger. Then a few years ago someone challenged me to let myself reread one favorite book each month for a year. Oh my gosh, I was hooked! Since then I’ve reread all of Jane Austen’s novels, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Little Women, The Night Circus, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and so many other favorites. I’ve learned that rereading those books is different each time and it gives a new depth to them. I’m bringing new life experiences with me when I reconnect with the characters. Anyway, I love it now!

    Reply

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