I have this weird habit – at least, I think it’s weird – in that I have an urge to reread books. Specifically, certain books that had an impact on my life, influenced me in some way, or were just so amazingly written that I can’t get enough.
A few titles come to mind – The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas, and Leaves of Grass (which is poetry, but still a book I reread).
What I often run into is that when someone finds out that I reread books, some more than a dozen times, they inevitably ask, “Why?”
I find that curious. Like one of those moments when a dog hears a weird noise and the ears go up and the head cocks to the side. I hope I’m not that obvious. Of course I reread good books.
I learned the easiest way to make people understand, and stop asking that question, is to respond by asking them why they watch reruns on TV, or rewatch movies. I know there are dozens and dozens of movies that I’ve watched more than once. Hell, I saw the original Star Wars, in the theater, thirteen times on its first run. Yes, you read that correctly. Of course, I was ten or eleven years old at the time. And it was summer break.
It bothers me that people find it weird to reread a book (“But you already KNOW the story.”) but not to rewatch a Seinfeld episode for the fiftieth time, or rewatch The Matrix or a Star Wars film ten or twenty times. What’s the difference between them and a good book?
Nothing, really, although watching a movie or a show on streaming is more passive than reading. A movie will give you all the visual clues and the actors act it all out. Whereas with a novel, the reader has to use their imagination, make up their own visuals.
Personally, I love to reread a good book. There’s a certain comfort to it, and much like a good film, it bears a return because there can be things that were missed the first time.
To me, reading is far more entertaining that anything I can watch on a television or movie screen. I think it’s more rewarding. And rereading a good book is like meeting up with an old friend. Don’t you agree?