Let's Talk: Re-Reading Books

Friday, October 18, 2013

Let's Talk is a weekly feature here at i swim for oceans. I think it's important that we all have our say, and there's something to be said for raising our voices. Simply put, here on the little old blog, I like to host some of my very own discussion posts because, well, I like to converse with you all.

And so, Let's Talk will feature questions or prompts, which I will answer, too. Love it or hate it, weigh in or don't, it's my hope that Let's Talk will at least get you thinking...and maybe even get you discussing with the rest of us!
Do you ever re-read books that didn't work for you the first time around but have them work the next time? Has it ever worked the opposite for you?

I'm a re-reader. Any books that I actually keep on my shelves are ones that I'm committed to re-read to this day, but I can't say it's always been that way for me. I love books. I love collecting books, and I love to have thousands upon thousands of pages of the written word throughout my house - good or bad. Through book blogging though, it's safe to say that I've amassed quite the collection, and re-reading has really served to narrow those books down for me a little bit.

Take, for instance, Mockingjay. The first time around, I gave it a five-star review. As much as it pains me to admit it, I think that I got swept up in the hype and loved the rush of reading the final installment. When the hype died down and the craze had settled just a little bit, I decided it was time to read it again. And, lo and behold, I found myself immensely disappointed in it.

The magic that we had between Katniss and Peeta had truly been watered down into mere shades of what it was before. The tension between Katniss and Gale was, well, non-existent. And, frankly, we watched Katniss go from a proud, enigmatic heroine to one coloured deeply by revenge and retribution. It darkened my impression of her.

On the flip side though, I first read Madeleine L'Engle's Time series when I was in middle school, and I hated it. I remember reading the first few chapters of the fourth book, Many Waters, and thinking it was just horrible. I didn't want to read more about the boys, and I really didn't want to read about a fantastical world where mammoths were real, Seraphim and Nephilim walked the Earth, and unseen El was going to rain hell on the planet.

When I read it a year or so later though, I was utterly entranced by this remake of the Biblical tale, and it remains one of my all-time favourites to this day. I cannot believe so many people haven't read it, and that my judgment was so wrong the first time around. This is one book that I'm so glad I re-read

I think it works both ways. I really have to be in the right mind to give a book another shot, and I won't always give books a second go. If I loathed it the first time around, or if the writing is really bad, chances are it won't get a re-read. Some books though...some books deserve that shot.


  1. Great discussion Melissa. I actually reread books very rarely, if at all, because I'm always after the new and shiny books on my TBR pile. I've been meaning to sit down and read harry potter again, as much as I loved them but obviously haven't yet!

    Just noticed you've added my blog to your blogroll, thanks so much! I've returned the favour on my blog :)

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

  2. I read THG series about 6 times each. I'm such a nerdddd. But my opinion of MJ never changed, it wasn't enjoyable for me at all.

    Great post, hun! <33

  3. Shiver didn't work for me at all the first time - I DNFed it - but I was really in the mood for werewolves and gave it another shot and wound up loving the entire trilogy. I generally don't do that; I almost only re-read books I've loved. But, I'm really glad I gave that series another shot. Great post, Melissa!(:

  4. I love re-reading books. I don't get why some people feel like it's wasting your time. I'ts great to a beloved world, like Harry Potter, or to know I'm going to read a book I'll love again like The book thief.


  5. I reread To Kill a Mockingbird and actually enjoyed it the second time -- I might have been too immature for it the first time. I need to reread all the HP, just to see if my love has grown...or shrunk.

  6. I haven't reread a book for a while and I totally understand the feelings change with books read. Heck My feelings change about books after a while or if I haven't written a review and realize that maybe I didn't love it as much.

  7. I wish I had more time to give books another go, I'm one of those readers that doesn't DNF very often, but also who doesn't re-read books which I found disappointing before. I have a stack of favourites which I can read time and time again, especially when I need a quick pick me up, but it's never been the other way around. I think I will have to try this though very soon! Another brilliant discussion post Melissa! :)

  8. Mockingjay was the exact same for me Melissa! I loved it the first time through, and then the more time I had to think about it, the less I liked how things played out. I thought some of the deaths were absolutely unnecessary, and despite being happy Katniss and Peeta ended up together, it just felt like she settled. Like she didn't actually want to be with him, she just was because that's how things worked out. What? No. Clearly, I still have some lingering thoughts on it:)

  9. I don't exactly enjoy re-reading books for some reason. The only book I can think of that I've re-read about a million times is Blue-Eyed-Devil by Lisa Kleypas. And then, last year I remember reading Losing It by Cora Carmack and absolutely hating the main character. I read it again recently and completely adored it!
    I guess liking a book also depends on your state of mind while reading the book.

  10. I agree with Nick above that state of mind has a lot to do with me liking a book or not. There are some that I know without a doubt I am supposed to love but did not. I pass it off as state of mind. I haven't gone back to read them again but plan to. When I see other bloggers that have the same tastes I do loving the book and me not, I know it's got to be timing.

    I've read Pride and Prejudice, actually most of Jane Austen's books many times. But I can't think of anything else since I've been blogging that I've reread.

    Great topic! Hope all is well with you!

  11. I am still too scared to read Mockingjay because of what everybody said at the time. You know..the deaths. I know I must read it but I have Mockingjay phobia at the moment. EEEEe!!!

  12. I have yet to reread a book...ever! I just can't find the desire when there are so many other new books out there. I'm about to start my first though...kind of...I beta read the draft and now have a review copy of the finished book!

  13. Great post, Melissa. I actually agree with you on The Mockingjay. The ending was rushed. I re-read books form Julie Kagawa and Susan Ee. Mostly books that have a deep impact on me.


  14. Amen! I agree with you whole heartedly about Mockingjay. But I must admit that I was disappointed the first time I finished it and have never had a desire to reread it. Do you think the author was just burnt out, or what?

  15. I remember when I finished reading Mockinjay I was stunned at how different it was from the previous two and how it seemed to abandon all the build up and relationships - yet - I wrote a fairly positive review. I was just so caught up and emotional about it. Then the more I thought about it the more I disliked the book. lol

    I haven't re-read a book in years. I'm always too busy trying to get through my other books but I should make time for my old favorites.


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