March 23, 2016

On Rereading (feat. Rachel of Hello Chelly)

Everyone has a different way of reading, and the point was driven home during a recent conversation I had with Rachel. We realized that we both approached rereading in very different ways. I thought it would be interesting to share a few of our conversational highlights today, and I would love to hear how you approach rereads in the comments after you read what we've got to say.

photo credit: Alexa's Instagram
How often do you reread books?

Rachel: It depends on how you define re-reading. If you count skimming the book so I can skip to all my favorite parts, then I re-read pretty often. When I don’t feel like starting something new but I do feel like reading, I’m very quick to open up my Kindle app (on my iPad or phone) during my commute or while in bed to revisit my favorite characters and romances (yes, my favorite parts to re-read are swoony scenes). But as far as fully re-reading a book from start to finish, that doesn’t happen too often. If I do, it’s usually because I want to see if I still feel the same way about it. 

Alexa: As a child, I reread books a TON. I didn’t get access to new books all the time, especially when I moved to the Philippines (the lack of public libraries makes me sad), so I would just read and reread the books I got when I was given the opportunity to buy them. And this stayed true all the way until I got to college. In college, and in my earliest years of blogging too, I stopped being a big re-reader. I think part of it was getting a bigger allowance, living a bigger city with more access to bookstores and libraries and it was also because I started learning about all these upcoming books that I could be really excited about. However, I realized that I missed rereading my old favorites (and not just skimming to my favorite parts of them), so in 2014, I started trying to reread stuff. This is especially applicable for my romance reads (such a great comfort) and for series (because I like being swept up into a world for more than one book). These days, I try to reread a book once a month - though that doesn't always happen.

photo credit: Rachel's Instagram
How do you choose when and what to reread?
  • Childhood reads
Rachel: It doesn’t happen often but there are some childhood favorites that I’ve gone back to. The most recent ones I’ve re-read are: Anne of Green Gables and The Harper Hall Trilogy. But prior to that I also re-read A Wrinkle in Time, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, A Time for Dancing and Tuck Everlasting. Again with re-reading childhood favorites, it’s mostly to see if I still feel the same way as an adult. In the future, I’d definitely want to re-read Little Women, Matilda, and Misty of Chincoteague. 

Alexa: I’ve been doing a lot more of this since 2015. I don’t know, it’s probably just the nostalgia that makes me want to do it! I reread the entire Little House series and the entire Anne of Green Gables series last year, and those were the most recent. I’m definitely hoping to reread The Chronicles of Narnia and Roald Dahl’s books this year! However, they’re not usually my first choice when I choose rereads.

photo credit: Alexa's Instagram
  • Genres
Rachel: If I’m fully re-reading a book, it’s usually YA Contemporary. If I’m skipping to my favorite parts, then it’s usually New Adult, Romance or a select few YA (because these are the main genres on my Kindle app). 

Alexa: Like Rachel, I tend to skip around to my favorite parts when it’s a new adult or romance novel. (I always have the swoony bits highlighted, especially if they’re Kindle reads.) But I actually like rereading fantasy novels the best! The worlds are so rich, so immersive and the stories so epic, and sometimes, it’s just fun to revisit them. 

  • Series vs. stand-alones
Rachel: It depends. Most of the books I’ve fully re-read have been standalones like Harmonic Feedback, Breathe Annie Breathe and Where The Stars Still Shine for example. But the books I go back to the most to re-read my favorite parts are usually a part of a series (to name a few: Lux, Black Dagger Brotherhood, Rule which is technically a part of series, anything Sarah J. Maas). The only exception is probably How to Love which I’ve fully re-read multiple times and skimmed to my favorite parts randomly. 

Alexa: I always try to reread series, but never stand-alones. As I mentioned earlier, I prefer reading series books back to back (to back and so on, depending on how many there are). It’s just nice to be so fully immersed into a world and a story, and to really get to spend quality time with these characters. It helps me remember things, or notice little details, and it makes my entire series reading experience lovely. I’m not so sure why I don’t reread stand-alone books very often. Maybe it’s because I feel like they have a finality in how they end?

photo credit: Rachel's Instagram
When you reread, does your rating change?

Rachel: One of my main reasons for re-reading a favorite is to see if my rating will change and it does sometimes happen. It’s rarely drastic though but usually if my rating does change, it’s just a tiny bit lower than what I gave it originally. There are few books that have really stood the test of time for me. 

Alexa: For the most part, my ratings stay pretty steady whenever I reread with a few notable exceptions (The Winner’s Curse, The Kiss of Deception, some of the Little House books). If it does change, it’s very miniscule. I think it’s generally because I’ll always have some impression or nostalgia affecting my perspective when I reread these stories, and I'll end up looking at them from that particular angle.

Do you reread books? How do you choose what or when to reread?


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