Kernels of Nonsense: Where Does Rereading Fit into a Blogger’s Life?

Kernels of Nonsense is a discussion feature here on the blog where I like to discuss book and blogging related topics. I know I’ve been terrible at discussion posts this year, but I am attempting to do better. This week I’m discussing rereading and its place in a busy bookworm’s life.

Way back when I first started this discussion post feature, I wrote about how much I loved rereading. I love the idea of visiting old favorites and reliving that magic. If the characters had a strong impact on me, it sometimes feels like I’m visiting old friends and catching up. And there is the added benefit of hindsight when it comes to rereading. Sometimes you find little breadcrumbs the author left behind that you never noticed before or you discover new things about these books that you didn’t see the first time around.

In 2015, I joined the Re-Read Challenge because I really wanted to find time to reread some of my favorite books, and sometimes I find it necessary to reread a novel if I’m picking up the sequel because I literally will forget everything if enough time passes. That year I managed to reread ten books, but since then, I’ve seen a dramatic decrease in the number of rereads I do each year. This year for example, I’ve only reread two books and have no immediate plans to pick up any others.

One of the reasons I’ve picked up very little rereads is the sheer amount of books on my TBR. There is literally always a new book in the wings waiting to be picked up. I sometimes feel so overwhelmed by the number of books I need to get to that I can accidentally send myself into a reading slump. Although I managed to delete 100 books from my TBR as part of my Spring Cleaning goals this year, I still have over 300 books it. And every week I’m adding something because although I’d like to keep this number low, who can really resist a good recommendation from the blogging community?

Rereading feels like a luxury that I don’t always have. There are tons of books on my shelf that I have yet to get to and whose number seems to be increasing every month. My TBR, though not an outrages number, still demands my attention if I have any hope of getting to all these books that have caught my attention. Blogging itself zaps a lot of time and energy out of you, and although I enjoy it immensely, I sometimes feel like I spend more time blogging than I do reading. Then there’s life itself outside of blogging that you need to contend with and at the end of the day, you sometimes need to reach for your laptop for a little Netfix binging instead of the book on your nightstand in order to unwind.

So where does rereading fit in? I’ve considered holding myself accountable with a reread every month, but as a mood reader, I’m not always comfortable making myself pick up a certain kind of book every month. I’m afraid that added pressure will make me enjoy the rereading experience less. And if I’m honest, there is that little voice in the back of my mind telling me that readers are less interested in a review of a book from years ago than a review of a nice, shiny new release.

Where does that leave this blogger? I’m not sure. I still have a special place in my heart for rereads and in some cases, I do find it necessary to pick up a previous book before diving into a sequel. I want to find more time to reread, but I’m just not sure that’s possible as of right now.

Do you reread old favorites? How do you make time to do so? How do you feel about rereading in general? If you had more time to read, would you reread more than you do? When is the last time you reread a book? Let’s discuss in the comments!


The Re-Read Challenge: January Recap

The 2015 Re-Read Challenge
The Re-Read Challenge is hosted by Belle of the Literati and So Obsessed With. Click here to learn about all the details and sign-up. This is my first time participating in this challenge and while I am still trying to figure out when I should post a recap for the month and how to organize it, I’ve elected to summarize my rereading in a single post this month. I will be reviewing some of the rereads I do, so I’ll be sure to include a link if you are interested. This month I reread two books: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

WHEN I First Read:
I read this way back when it was released. I don’t even want to think about how many years—too late. I hadn’t realized I was so old until this very moment.
WHAT I Remember:
I remember probably more about Harry Potter books than any other books I’ve read in the past because of the movies. I still remember vividly how much I was disappointed that a few scenes in the book didn’t make it into the movie (“scarlet woman,” anyone?).
WHY I Wanted to Re-Read:
My love for Harry Potter truly knows no bounds. I actually think my love for the wizarding world has increased as the years have gone by. I love revisiting this magical world!
HOW I Felt After Re-Reading:
Enamored. Charmed. If this was a romantic relationship, I’d be in big trouble (too much?). You can read my thoughts on it here.

WOULD I Re-Read Again:
Yes, I would absolutely read this book again. I’d probably would have read another HP book this month, but I completely forgot how long they are. My best friend and I would binge read the books as soon as they were released and then text each other at odd hours at night (did you get to page__ yet?). Even with school, we’d be done in a couple of days. Ah, the stamina of youth!
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

WHEN I First Read:

It’s been a long time since I read To Kill a Mockingbird. I might have read it while I was in high school, but I’m not sure. It was one of those books I wanted to read, but none of the English classes I took read it.

WHAT I Remember:

Atticus Finch. Boo Radley. Jem and Scout. I actually remember this one pretty well, which is saying something for sure.

WHY I Wanted to Re-Read:

It’s been so long and I absolutely loved it the first time around, the second time was sure to be just as good.

HOW I Felt After Re-Reading: 

Heavy. It’s a good kind of heavy though, I have a lot of thoughts swirling around in my head and I just want to spent the rest of the day (or night as I am writing this) thinking about them. A quick blurb I wrote for Goodreads: “No review for this classic, just a couple of quick notes. I remember when I first read this one, it made me sad. I forgot how angry it could make me, but it’s the kind that burns so deep it feels like tears coming up. There’s a lot of injustice and hypocrisy in the world no matter what era we’re discussing, but there always that hope that the generation after will do better. I really do hope it.”

WOULD I Re-Read Again:

Yes. I thought I remembered the story well enough, but I was surprised by how much this story has affected me this time around.

Are you taking part in the Re-Read Challenge? Have you reread any books this year? Do you plan to?

Kernels of Nonsense, #2: Rereading Books

Kernels of Nonsense (2)Kernel of Nonsense is a weekly feature on my blog in which I ramble about random book-related topics.

I love to read, obviously. I love discovering new worlds and losing myself between the pages of books. There’s something magical about the book experience that you can’t quite get from watching a movie or a theater production. Discovering new favorite books and authors is a real delight, and sharing these new finds is even better. But I think there is something even more special.

Rereading old favorites is a different kind of special.

Rereading a favorite book is like listening to an old song, and all those feelings of nostalgia wash over you and it’s like you’ve traveled back in time. Vanessa Carlton’s Be Not Nobody album has a profound effect on my insides, disarming me completely and making me feel like a kid again. A love-sick, vulnerable, silly kid. And I’m not the same person I was all those years ago, but for a few minutes I remember what it was like and it’s a strange kind of magic.

I get a very similar feeling when I reread favorite books. I’m walking in a world I’ve been to before and I may have already experienced the pain and happiness, but it doesn’t feel old. It feels present and I realize this may not be as articulate as I may have hoped, but it’s the only way I can express how rereading makes me feel.

There’s a degree of intimacy present while rereading that isn’t there when you read a new book. The characters and the story are familiar, but the feelings are the same. In many cases you make new discoveries, seeing something in these books you never noticed before. And usually, these characters become even more important to you, the stories even more your own, and reawakens all those past sensations you first felt when reading for the first time.

I know for many of us Harry Potter is the epitome of bookish nostalgia. Blogging makes it a little difficult to reread all the books I want to and my own personal reading goal on Goodreads limits the amount of books I can reread. But I have a date with Harry Potter. I’m going to spend a month rereading all the books and relive all those wonderful moments when Harry Potter became more than just a book series, it became a part of me.