Your favorite book can be so much more than a great memory. Between the pages lie a myriad of insights, perspectives, and layers that change each time you pick it up. In this blog, I’m going to introduce you to the multiple benefits of rereading your favorite books and having a great time while you do it!
Okay, let’s admit it. You have that one dusty companion on your bookshelf, that you just can’t bring yourself to give away. The yellowing pages, soft crinkles, and little dog ears – all proud mementos of the many times it was you and your favorite book against the world.
A reader myself, I know all too well the simple joys of reading and rereading my favorite book over the years. Here are the top 11 benefits of rereading I’ve experienced from spending time with my favorite books.
11 Benefits of Rereading Your Favorite Books
Rereading has made me fall in love with my favorite books, again and again. From leading me to new perspectives to helping me discover unique parts of myself, I have enjoyed revisiting my favorite novels and biographies. Here are some of the top benefits I’ve experienced, that you could too!
1. Rereading is important for enhancing your reading abilities
Remember, back in school, when you were subjected to the pure boredom of writing out the same word, again and again, in handwriting class? That’s because practice ensures that your brain assigns a specific combination of loops, lines, and curves to a certain letter or word, for life.
Reading works in a similar, but much more enjoyable, manner. According to an article published by Harvard Medical School, several brain regions like the temporal lobe, Broca’s area, and angular gyrus interact for reading and comprehension.
Therefore, when you read, a dozen different parts and functions of your brain are stepping up to the plate.
Matching letters to sounds, identifying familiar words, accessing meanings, and processing grammar are just some of the complex processes that your brain is working on at the same time.
Each time you reread something; it solidifies the connections between all the different parts of your brain. The next time you read a similar text, your brain is now a little more experienced at connecting the dots.
2. Hello, fresh perspective!
Your favorite book might not change but you do. As you grow, travel, and interact with different social groups, your perceptions of the same thing will evolve and change.
When you reread the same book at a different stage of life, the meaning of the same characters, dialogues, and historical settings may change significantly.
In my teens, Pride and Prejudice seemed like an irresistible ‘butterflies-in-your-tummy’ love story. In my early twenties, however, Elizabeth Bennett transcended from being a subject of romantic pursuit to a practical, level-minded feminist who knew what she wanted and wasn’t afraid to ask for it.
Just like you discover something new about your best friend or partner, as you spend more time with them, your favorite book has so many layers that peel back each time you read it.
3. Rediscovering your favorite childhood book again might help you discover yourself too
Ever gone back to a simple childhood pastime like crafts or video games and felt a familiar joy wash over you? That’s because as you ‘adult’, you often tend to push away the seemingly childish parts of yourself, including activities that are ‘non-productive’ or without tangible outcomes.
However, an increasing number of studies are pointing out the importance of adults pursuing playful hobbies that, in simple terms, are just for fun.
Dusting off that favorite comic or children’s book that you loved as a kid might help you reconnect with your carefree, playful, and creative side. Rereading a beloved childhood favorite could also spark a dormant thought or idea you had as a kid, that you’d love to explore as an adult.
4. Rereading is a valuable tool for discovering literary depth and value
Oscar Wilde, once said, “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” A book gains greater depth and meaning each time you read it.
Rereading or even reanalyzing your favorite book can help you tap into a whole new world of layers and meanings. If you’re a fan of the literary arts, rereading that epic book with a book club or a couple of friends might help you turn up the volume on new perspectives and critical analyses.
Discussing themes, plotlines, and outcomes with an equally intrigued set of partners could help you appreciate the book like never before.
5. Rereading can help you identify the books you love the most
From the scores of books you’ve read over the years, there are probably a few that made a greater impact than the others. However, it is all too natural to forget the parts that truly touched you.
Spending time rereading your favorite books, highlighting quotes, and sections and even making little notes for yourself, can help you identify the books that mean the most to you.
Keeping these in your workspace so you can thumb through them quickly for a little snack of joy, is another great way to get the most out of your favorite books.
6. Rereading can lead you to new, undiscovered details
Love looking up the bloopers and trivia of your favorite show? Now, imagine doing that with your favorite book and the plethora of details you could uncover.
Understanding the author’s background, motivations, and character inspirations could help throw a new light on the book, altogether. In addition, looking up veiled references, edited sections, and first editions are all wonderfully juicy nuggets to add to your mental showcase.
Because who doesn’t love a good conspiracy theory?
7. Rereading can enable you to appreciate sequels more deeply
More often than not, there’s a painfully long gap between the books of the same series (I see you, sci-fi trilogy lovers) or even till you find the time to read them.
Picking up the previous book before you jump into a sequel helps refresh the plot, characters, and any crucial details, in your mind. For those of you who love predicting sequel plotlines, rereading is a great way for you to cement your predictions.
Not to mention the additional excitement of jumping from the cliff-hanging ending of one to the juicy beginning of the next is unmatched.
8. Rereading can empower you to share your perspective with the world
The more familiar you are with a book, the more capable you are of sharing your perspective on it with others.
Spending time with your favorite book, journaling about it, and exploring alternative scenarios are all strong paths to your own blog or book club. If you dream of being a writer or critic, exploring a favorite book deeply is a great way to get started on your journey.
9. Rereading can help you view the book in a context different from its time or geography
A book’s relevance can change every couple of years. Applying a book’s theme to your unique situation or a larger social commentary can reveal brilliant new insights.
From being considered solely a religious text, today the Mahabharata is being perceived as a treasure trove of advice on life, business, and strategy. Several historical books on World War I and II are being reanalyzed to understand current global situations and geopolitics.
Hence, rereading can help you identify biases that weren’t too clear the first time around. Several formerly popular books and authors have been discredited over later years for work that was prejudicial and poorly researched.
10. Rereading can help you learn more about yourself
A book can often be a unique mirror to your personality.
Rereading a book can help you identify your unique reactions to the plot, the characters you identify with the most, or even if your opinion of the book has changed. Together, this offers a meaningful way to reflect on your personal growth and the impact of people and situations you’ve encountered along the way.
Swapping perspectives with a friend can help you identify how people’s unique experiences affect the way you perceive a book’s theme.
11. Comfort between pages
Imagine coming home to a friend who is always waiting to welcome you each time you’ve had a bad day. That’s exactly what a good ol’ book can offer you.
In a study on repeated hedonic experiences published in the Journal of Consumer Research, it was found that consumers who chose to repeat certain experiences or revisit the same media, want to relive their individual experience and the special meanings they attach to it.
Rereading a book takes you back to a special memory or pleasurable emotion that you experienced the first time you read it. These ‘feel-good’ moments are often the perfect way to de-stress and relax. The familiarity with the characters, the plotline, and most importantly, the outcome, can be a soothing antidote to an anxious day.
Experiencing these benefits of rereading has changed the way I read and reread every book I purchase. A book is clearly so much more than a one-time read. It’s a literary journey, bound between covers, one you can travel on each time you pick it up.
The next time you think of giving away the book you just finished, maybe hold on for a bit.
Take it on a coffee date or your next holiday and spend a little extra time getting to know it again.
Who knows what new stories you might discover between the pages?