We got the Newsweek in today at work and as usual, I flipped through it. I was very excited about this week's issue because it's all about books. I turned right to the article about what books to be reading now and got four new titles off the list. Yes, I'm adding to my summer reading list. Sigh. I've got so much to read. Good thing I like reading. :)
Looking through the rest of the magazine I came across an interesting article about rereading books. I'm a huge rereader, but I've never given it any thought as to why. I have to admit that I didn't read the whole article, mostly because the way it was written was a bit much for a Tuesday morning at-work read. But I relished in the fact that there are other people out there who are just as passionate about rereading as I am. Granted, what this author rereads and what I reread are very different, but the concept is the same.
My absolute favorite books to reread are the Harry Potter series. I read all seven at least once a year, sometimes reading them quickly as if they are going to disappear, other times stretching them out in order to enjoy them more. Series seem to be my favorite to reread; I've read Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series several times over the past year (when I discovered it wasn't just for obsessed 14 year old girls), along with Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle. I also really enjoy rereading romance novels, anything by Nora Robers being a particular favorite, but Julia Quinn and Stephanie Laurens are good for a quick reread.
Why, you might ask, do I love to reread? I think its like David Gates (the author of the Newsweek article) said, the love of the characters; "I always come back for the people, and often simply for their voices". I feel a connection to the characters the authors have created; sometimes I feel like I know them and they know me. They are where I turn when I'm feeling misunderstood or sad. Their stories, their battles, take me out of my own world and into someplace else where my small worries no longer exist. It's for the escape, really, that I continue to return to these beloved books again and again.
When reading a book for the first time, the reader must be aware and alert because you don't know what is going to happen. You have to read carefully for fear of missing something. With a book that's been read before, you can relax, just like you can with an old friend. You know where the story is going, how it's going to end. But you can sit back and enjoy the ride. Escape for a little while into a comforting world of familiarity and, maybe, if you are lucky, you will find something new. Discover a little gem of information that you missed before. That, to me, is the true joy of rereading.