To Read, or Re-Read?


Last year I spent 6 months at my school in the position of Teacher Librarian. I am an avid reader, I teach English, I love books, and having students say to me: “Miss, I want to read a book but I don’t know what I want. Do you think you could help me find something?” was my idea of heaven. It was utterly fascinating watching the habits of readers close up. I’ve always known that readers fall into 2 categories, but this was reinforced during my time in the library.

Reader 1: reads book, thoroughly enjoys it, never reads it again.

Reader 2: reads book, thoroughly enjoys it, reads it again and again.

I happily admit I fall into the second category. If I love a book, I’ll read it repeatedly, but leave months, sometimes years between readings. I thought everyone was programmed like this, but after some lengthy discussions I have found that plenty of people are happy with enjoying a book and don’t feel the need to re-visit it ever again.

I recently commented to a friend that there was a book I was desperate to buy. “But why?” she said. “Just get it on your Kindle. It’s not like you’ll read it again.”

When I explained that I would indeed read it again, my friend was surprised. She prefers to buy an E-book and then delete it after reading it. I prefer to buy the real deal and keep it in a bookcase. I understand that in a word full of ‘stuff’ filled with junk, that downloading a book onto a tablet is a neat and streamlined way of doing things. I don’t have a lot of room, but I MAKE room for my books. I find re-reading certain books to be comforting. They are like old friends and I can rely on them to stay the same.

In a world full of social media and video games, where kids are attached to their phones constantly checking their newsfeed, it was awesome to see students borrowing books from a broad range of genres, or spending time at lunch actually IN the library relaxing with a book as opposed to staring blankly at a phone. Reading allows for escapism, something we all can use a bit of.

Owning hard copy books versus downloading E-books isn’t really what grabbed my attention during my time in the library; it was the amount of students who will borrow a book they’ve borrowed before. When I’d tell them they’d previously borrowed it, they’d usually reply “yeah Miss I know. It’s SO good I have to read it again!”

What are your reading habits like? Are you a ‘read once and put away’ or a ‘re-reader’? What books do you go back to time and time again?



  • Tamsin Howse

    What I want to know is: Do these people only watch their favourite movie once?

    • Maree Talidu

      I sure as hell do! I thought everyone did as well. Hence, of course you’d read your favourite books more than once? Too confusing!

  • Tamsin Howse

    Honestly I never realised there were people who never read a book again. As I’ve gotten older I have less time to dedicate to reading the same book again, not now I know how many books are out there, but I do still do it. I’ve recently been considering reading the whole harry Potter series again to try to break my book hangover.

    As a kid I read the same books over and over! I assumed everyone did.

  • Monique Fischle

    I read books I love over and over again. The main culprits are the Harry Potter series, The Hunger Games series, The Twilight series (yes, I know, but it’s easy reading), The Fault In Our Stars by John Green and The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks.

    There have been some books which I love and are brilliant but are a bit ‘heavy’ for me to want to reread regularly or ever again (such as We Need To Talk About Kevin). I find rereading books comforting, in the same way I find comfort in re-watching my favourite movies and TV shoes.

    I don’t have as much free time for reading as I used to so I reread less because there are so many books I want to read.

  • Maryann

    I read books over & over. Books by Jane Austin, Dorothy Sayers and others. I think it is the equivalent of comfort food. It depends on my mood.

  • Jessica Chapman

    There are so many books that I just love reading and rereading and rereading again. Some books I read again because I pick up on different things (like the Count of Monte Cristo, I’ve read it twice and I plan to read it again) but other books I read again because reading them feels like coming home (like the works of Jane Austen for me). But then there are some books that I read and have no inclination to read again, usually they are either ones I haven’t really enjoyed or ones that are just a diverting read. Same with me and movies really.

    • Maree Talidu

      When I was younger I had to read The Hobbit twice to pick up on stuff I’d missed the first time and I’m glad I did because it became a favourite. Totally with you on the ‘coming home’ part.

  • ShaezyB

    I’m most definitely a re-re-re-reader! To the point that I almost have a schedule each month for which books I am re-reading. I’m currently on my January reading of To Kill A Mockingbird (which will come out again around August), and you can add to that Pride and Prejudice, The Secret Garden, The Downside Ghosts series, The Silence of the Lambs to name but a few. I still read a multitude of new titles every year (and add some to the re-read list) and spend a small fortune on books every month. Each of my favourite titles has something special for me and I never think “oh no, not again”.

    The ones I don’t re-read tend to be my filler books – often chick-lit or women’s-lit type novels that are fun and light. Although I do read every Stephanie Plum novel that comes out (and that’s practically the same one each year!) and Bridget Jones is firmly on the annual list. I’ll always finish a book even if I don’t like it (want to give it a proper chance) but have never managed to get through Dune.

    I also download many books to my Kindle but prefer to buy actual books. And I neither delete nor throw/give/sell ANY books away. Ever. Happy to loan them out; happy to shelve them again. (This post should be sponsored by Ikea Billy Bookcases…I think I keep them in business!) My kids have a beautiful respect for their books as both my husband and I are avid readers. And that’s exactly what I always hoped for!