This is a question I’ve seen people debate over the years – but personally, I love to read books multiple times. I don’t even know how many times I’ve read and listened to the Harry Potter books, for example, but I truly believe you don’t get the most out of a book until you’ve read it at least twice.
But then I talk to other people who think there’s no point in reading a book more than once. They think their time is far better spent reading as many different books as possible, rather than giving any one book a second thought.
So I want to know – do people still re-read books? Is it something that’s really just down to personal choice? I sort of understand the argument against reading them multiple times because there are so many books out in the world and I do want to read as many as I can, but I think it’s somewhat a waste of time if you read a book but never fully appreciate its value.
When you read a book for the first time you are getting accustomed to the author’s style, being introduced to the characters for the first time, encountering the tale for the first time – everything is new and unfamiliar. If you read it a second time, you notice things you didn’t on the first. You might be reading slower, or you might notice sentences you accidentally skated over in a particularly tense scene. The love you have for certain characters grows.
Plus, it’s probably in my nature as a literature student to read books more than once – after all, when I study things I’m going to be examined on, I read them at least twice to make sure I have a full grasp of the narrative and I’m familiar with the chronological order of things, but also to ensure that I’m not letting any aspect of that book escape my notice.
But what about other people? People who don’t have to take exams on the books they might read – do they read books more than once? My mum is part of a book club and she and one of her book club friends have the polar opposite views on reading books again. My mum does it, her friend doesn’t.
What do you think? Are you someone who just loves to pick up a familiar, albeit battered copy of your favourite tale for the twelfth time, or someone who likes to choose only new material, something different each time?