Catching up with Old Friends

I had an interesting conversation the other day about re-reading books. The person I was chatting with said they didn’t like going back to old books because their to-read list was full to bursting. I understand completely. I keep a list of every book I buy (yes, I’m THAT guy) and easily have 200 books that I own but not yet read. Somehow, as much as I cross off, the list grows faster than it shrinks…

And yet I love re-reading favourites. I’m about to begin my annual revisit of the Jane Austen cannon (her 6 better known novels, although I do own all the others) and am really looking forward to it. Each time I start, I always learn more about the characters, or understand a different level of the story. It depends on my personal situations, where I’m reading, what level of insanity I’ve reached – new perceptions that offer new insight. The stories don’t change, but as I do I pull different ideas out of them.

It’s exactly like catching up with a best friend you haven’t seen in awhile. At first there’s the comfortable sense of familiarity, where you know what to expect and figure there won’t be too many surprises, but three hours (and coffees) into the conversation, you pick up on a new habit they’ve developped or certain nuances you’d never noticed before. When you’re in a bad mood, they’re there to cheer you up (because it’s your favourite book for a reason. The cute guy, the great ending, the cathartic weeping?), they never let you down and they never disappoint you.

Are you a re-reader? What’s your go-to book for revisiting a story?



  1. I used to be a re-reader, but like you, my TBR grows faster than it shrinks. I don’t have the time to go back because I feel like I’ll never get caught up.

  2. Re-reading? Absolutely! 😀 There are books which have something others don’t. For me it’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, older novels by Robin Hobb, and for something fun and light, Eoin Colfer.

    BTW – you’re about the least guy-looking guy I ever saw, unless your avatar picture is of your sister or cousin. 😉

  3. I don’t re-read…never really thought about it. Guess I don’t want to risk not having the same thrill the first time I read something. On the other hand, I can watch movies repeatedly. Hmmm…

  4. You are so correct, re-reading books is something can inspire you when nothing else can or could. also you never know what little nuance you might pick up you missed the first time.


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