Blog: To Re-Read or Not To Re-Read

The world is full of a plethora of books, ones we will unfortunately never have the opportunity to read, nonetheless re-read. And this is one of the intrusive thoughts that cause a fair amount of stress for me every once in a while. In the grand scheme of things, it’s really very unimportant compared to the true discomforts, pains and problems of the world. But I’m not conquering Rome in these thoughts as I sit on my couch at 11:30 PM, choosing to stay awake a bit later than usual for some reason.

I’ve added ~500 books to my “read” bookshelf on Goodreads, but I’m confident there’s at least 20% more I will discover in the coming weeks as I complete my quest to have a fully up-to-date Goodreads profile, quaintly full of charming book reviews and tempting to-be-read (tbr) priority lists. And as I scroll through trying to decide where to focus my attention each day, I often come across an author I adore, a book series that brings me joy, or a book I feel the need to dive into once more.

But that’s a big quandary for me… to re-read or not to re-read? With my tbr list now close to 3 times the size of my read list, what’s a guy to do? Do I forsake the previously determined priority list for an old favorite? Do I risk never getting to a book I once I thought I wanted in favor of a guaranteed smile? Do I stop time for a few hours simply to re-connect with a friend from the past?

I’ve avoided the re-read for many years. Except for a few that I re-read in college as part of my English major, or a couple that I absolutely needed to re-read, I’ve not been one to choose the re-read over a new book. And it makes me question the purpose not only of a re-read, but the read in general. “Why do we read?” is a question so many of us can easily answer, but at the same time, the answer is sometimes not what we think it is…

I try to tell myself to limit additions to the tbr shelf, just so I can get through as much as possible, and then I can maybe re-read a few favorites. Yet it doesn’t happen. I add between 3 and 5 books every day, but I only read a new book every 2 to 3 days. The math will never work out! So I opt to avoid the re-read. But then I worry… what if I am giving up a wonderful memory, re-imagined and enjoyed, simply for what could be a possible false lark in something new?

I offer no answers or scientific opinions here… more just a random moment of concern. Why do you choose the re-read? And how often do you embark on that path? Would love to hear everyone’s thoughts and opinions…


About Me

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. Each week, I will post a summary of a trip I’ve taken somewhere in the world. I’ll cover the transportation, hotel, restaurants, activities, who, what, when, where and why… and let you decide for yourself if it’s a trip worth taking.

Once you hit my site “ThisIsMyTruthNow” at, you can join the fun and see my blog and various site content. You’ll find book reviews, published and in-progress fiction, TV/Film reviews, favorite vacation spots and my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge.” Since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life… see how you compare!

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  1. I think the solution here is really quite simple- if you feel like reading a book (whether a first time or a re read) then just read it and don’t feel bad for every other book on the list. Fact is… if a book is really tempting but youre holding yourself back from it, then you’ll only make yourself restless and perhaps even not enjoy the current read as much because ‘grass is greener on the other side’ 🙂

    personally, I very rarely re-read, but if I had the urge to just drop everything now to re read a book I really liked, I would do so without hesitation.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I used to hardly ever re read any books but this year I am participating in a re read challenge where I re read one book each month. I am really enjoying going back and revisiting these stories.


  3. I reread as often as I can manage. If I’m looking for something that I know I’ll find in a book I’ve read before then it’s a definite that I’m going to reread it. My Goodreads challenge this year is to read 100 books and usually rereads count but I’ve challenged myself to read 100 books I’ve never read before in the hopes that it will expand my author base and reading genres.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is something I’ve struggled with for some time now. If I choose to reread then I’m taking time away from the books I still need to get to. But I recently reread two of my favourites and it was such a great experience! Getting back to the characters and world I loved so much. And having previous knowledge of the book opened up a whole new experience. I saw the books in a totally different way and picked up on details I didn’t the first time. So I plan to maybe reread at least one book a month because it really was a great experience!!


    • That’s a really great point I often forget. You can get even more the second time around… and you’re reading less with anticipation of “what could happen” and more with “oh, that part is coming up and I should have seen it already by this point. “Good call!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I might have only re-read one book…not completely sure though. I’m not a big fan on re-reading but I’m not vehemently against it either. I just choose not to cuz my mind values unread books over read ones 😄

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m in much the same position.
    I have a large number of books on my shelves I’ve never read, as well as a huge number on my Kindle. I have so many books that I can probably spend the next couple of years just reading them, and that’s without the extra books I’m bound to buy in the interim.
    So, what do I do about re-reading?
    Re-reading is surely a distraction, an unnecessary detour from all the (hopefully) interesting, fascinating, brilliant books I haven’t yet read.
    But then there are books I know will give me huge pleasure if I read them again.
    And there are other books I originally read so long ago that to pick them up again will be seeing them with fresh eyes.
    So I try not to be too prescriptive.
    I try not to tie myself up in self-created rules.
    As I’m reading in the end to give myself pleasure, so if I feel like reading X book next – regardless of whether I’ve read it before or not – if I think I might enjoy it, then of course I’ll read it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Excellent point… especially the “self-created rules” notion. Plus, our moods swing in different directions, so sometimes you need an ole’ favorite… and you shouldn’t let a prescriptive rule stop you.


  7. I seldom re-read only because my TBR is SO very long. I’m getting older and fear I will not be able to read them all. The exceptions would be my absolute favorite novels and/or classic fiction.
    Another exception is coming up soon. I requested a novel from NetGalley that I read close to forty years ago. I loved it then – and was curious if I would STILL like it, or if the intervening years had changed my taste.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I re-read all the time. When life is extra stressful and there are things going on that are making me even more anxious than normal, I re-read. It’s just what I do. It’s a way of providing at least one small area of my life in which there are no surprises and no extra anxiety. I will sometimes re-read previous books in a series just before the new one is supposed to come out as well.

    I read plenty of new-to-me books. Will I ever completely get through my TBR pile? No. Am I okay with that? Mostly. But it’s definitely better for me to re-read when there’s extra stress in life. I need to know there’s SOME part of my life that will be predictable and go as its supposed to.

    Liked by 1 person

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