This BBC article caught my attention because I am, I so am, a re-reader that is. In fact, right now I’m re-reading several of Linda Howard’s suspense novels. I’ve got a huge stack of new books just crying out to be read, instead I’m nose deep in old favourites.
So why do it? After all, I know how they end.
Maybe there’s a kind of comfort in knowing how they end… a bit like comfort eating? Maybe in a world that’s always changing around us, there is something about the world between the pages that provides security/ stability/ something to rely on. Maybe it’s finding something new each time, enriching the experience? Maybe it’s something I never grew out of; after all kids love hearing the same stories over and over again? Maybe different people are driven by different motivators?
Not all re-readers are the same. Some re-readers make a ritual of it. People who read ‘Lord of the Rings’ or ‘Pride and Prejudice’ religiously every year at a certain time. This isn’t me; I’m more of a haphazard re-reader. I re-read whatever I feel like, whenever I feel like, no real rhyme or reason. Although I have noticed at times of stress my re-read to new ratio goes up.
The BBC article comments that “Scientists have weighed in, too, citing the mental health benefits of re-reading. Research conducted with readers in the US and New Zealand found that on our first reading, we are preoccupied by the ‘what?’ and the ‘why?’. Second time round, we’re able to better savour the emotions that the plot continues to ignite.”
What ever the reason, books are willing to give up their stories when ever we open their pages :)