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Open Question: Do You Re-Read Books?

Proponents on both sides of the ebook debate point to the archival/re-read nature of their chosen format, but I’m curious to see if re-reading is a common activity or one of those things we’d all like to do but can’t find the time. Here’s a few questions toward that end:

  • Do you re-read books?
  • If yes, how often? (i.e. You re-read 1-2 titles per year.)
  • Which titles or genres do you re-read?
  • Does a book’s format — print or digital — make you more or less inclined to re-read a title?

Please share your thoughts in the comments area.

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Comments: 8

  1. Yes.

    6-12 titles per year.

    Literary fiction, poetry, lit crit, biography.

    If I’m planning to re-read a book I’ll find a print copy.

  2. Yes, I re-read books but it simply depends on the content. Thinking about this, I realize that books I’m most likely to re-read these days are classic children’s books that I read to my kids: Charlotte’s Web, The Secret Garden, Alice in Wonderland, Alice’s Adventures Through the Looking Glass.
    My husband cycles through books more regularly. He’ll intersperse something new with a re-reading of The Alexandria Quartet or Tolkien.
    A book’s format, print or digital, has no impact on me. But then again, I’ve never read a digital book…laptops are banned in our bedroom!

  3. Yes, I re-read books. I have several favorites across all genres (SFF, romance, literary, childrens.) What I re-read depends on stress levels, time, what’s going on in the world or with me and general random thinking about favorite books.

    I don’t know if I re-read in digital format because I’ve only had my iPhone for a month. My previous digital downloads were read and sometimes re-read on paper.

  4. I re-read about 3 novels a year and about 20-30 short stories. I like to re-read classic fiction (Rand, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Twain, Hardy, etc.)

    I’m least inclined to re-read any sort of business book or other non-fiction title.

    I think I’d be more likely to re-read at least portions of books if I had them more accessible (i.e. digital formats). Sometimes I’m in the mood to re-read the particular third of a book but may not own it.

  5. Yes, I do, although since the advent of the internet, I largely reread only novels. I still keep non-fiction books I think I may need to refer to in the future, but far less of them than I used to.

    So I reread novels, I suppose because I want to revisit those people or that particular place or wrestle with those ideas a little longer (Frank Herbert, Neal Stephenson and Connie Willis are my most reread authors). The six Dune books every year, plus another 2-4 on average.

    Do I care about format? The older I get, the less it matters. Perhaps I’m losing the object-collector bug I had when I was young. I recently decided to reread Pride and Prejudice, and I’m doing it through Daily Lit’s RSS feed. rather than go digging through my storage boxes for a paperback copy.

  6. I LOVE re-reading books. I tend to re-read novels (but also pick up books of essays over/over again) on a seasonal basis. E.G. – I always re-read something of Larry McMurtry each summer; Middlemarch and Martin Chuzzelwit while I travel on business; I love being transported back to how I felt reading it or re-reading the book the last time. I recently re-read Straight Man which confirmed it is one of my all-time favorite books describing a college academic department and that Moo really wasn’t doing it for me anymore.

    I’ve tried so hard to like/enjoy digital reading but just can’t do it. For academic and work-related reading, I’m down with any method to get me there and back again (especially if I can annotate along the way); however, nothing but my beat up old copy of To Kill a Mockingbird (I even have a newer edition) will do when I want to remember reading it for the first time in school.

  7. Looks like I’m the first dissenter here… but I have never re-read a novel. Sounds like I may be missing out on something? There’s just too much else out there and my tbr pile looms too high. I think I’d feel rushed to finish a re-read and skim too much.

  8. I do re-read, but (aside from poetry), not that often. In order of re-reading frequency, the types of books I re-read are: poetry, kids’ books, and fiction/literature that I really really like (e.g. Mrs Dalloway). Reading poetry I tend to read a book straight through fairly quickly, and then re-read it a second time more slowly, lingering more on what I either liked or didn’t understand the first time through. So most poetry books (say, 10-12 per year), I read twice. Kids’ books I re-read occasionally, either when there’s a sequel that I want to read but I want to refresh my memory of the previous book(s) first, or just for fun — this happens a few times a year. I re-read adult fiction/literature less frequently, but it does happen once in a while.

    I only read books in print, so I also only re-read books in print. I think if I read books digitally at all I would probably re-read digitally as well, but thus far I haven’t, so who knows.