Why Re-Reading Books is Never a Waste of Time

I grew up in a reading family. After dinner, it wasn’t unusual for all three of us to gather in the living room, each with our own book. Mom and I read for pleasure; Dad read for information.

Mom and I both kept book lists, and when one of us discovered a new author, we let the other one know pronto.  Then we had the pleasure of discussing it afterwards. My book list was just the book title and the author; Mom’s was that plus her commentaries on each and her own rating system, 1 to 10. Any book below a 7 wasn’t worth the time to read it.

We were in lockstep about books, authors and commentaries about books and authors. But what Mom could never understand was my passion for re-reading books.

“What a complete waste of time!” she would say. “There are so many wonderful books in the world we haven’t read; why would you waste your time on re-reading a book that you already read?!”

Well, here’s why: first of all, there is no dishonor or ‘points off’ for re-reading a book you love. It’s wonderful to open that well-worn book, saying to yourself, ‘oh, I remember this part; this was one of my favorites!’ And then snuggle down, sighing in pure pleasure of remembrance.

The real find in re-reading books was to discover a sentence (sometimes a whole paragraph) that you could swear you had never read before. This happened often to me; when I really get into a book, I will gobble it down so quickly that I will often miss bits of it.

When I discovered the fabulous *Harry Potter series (I think by then book two, “The Chamber of Secrets” was already out), I couldn’t wait for the next one to come out. And if you too are a fan, then you will remember the enormous hoopla that happened whenever a new book in the series hit the stores.

My wonderful patient Crankee Yankee would drive me to the nearest WalMart and wait for me while I stood in line to get my copy of the latest Harry Potter book. When we got home, I would stay up all night to finish it.

By the way, this also happened with the Harry Potter movies; the Crankee Yankee would buy me a ticket, tell me to have a good time, and off I’d go. The entire theater would be filled with all of us Harry Potter nerds—and we couldn’t have been happier!

I own every book in the series, and I can’t count how many times I have re-read them. I also have CDs of each book to listen to in the car when I am feeling Harry Potter-ish. Also, when I am having a bad night and can’t get to sleep, all it takes is a chapter or two of one of these books.

So if you too love to re-read some of your favorite books, please know that you are not alone. I am right there with you, excitedly turning pages and saying to myself, ‘oh, yeah—this part is the BEST!’

Just for the heck of it, here’s a joke about books that Mom and I loved:

Every week, a chicken would come into the local library, hop up on the librarian’s desk, and say, “book-book?”

Each time he did that, the librarian would pick out a book and tuck it under the chicken’s wing.

This happened every week, and one day the librarian was so curious that she followed the chicken. It took off along a path to a large pond, and in the pond sat a fat frog on a large lily pad.

The chicken looked at the frog and said, “book-book?”

The frog squinted at the title and said, “read it-read-it.”

*If you have never read this series of seven books, please do give them a try. The premise of the series is this: what would it be like to find out that you were famous in a world that you never knew existed? 

One thought on “Why Re-Reading Books is Never a Waste of Time

  1. Jodi says:

    Wow we both wrote about Harry Potter today!!

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