Let’s Talk: Why I Love Re-Reading

If you’re anything like me, there’s always piles and piles of books that you plan on someday getting around to reading. No matter how many you finish, there’s more to take their place, and it often feels like there’s never enough time to read everything you want to. With this mentality, I can easily understand why some people choose to only ever read books once. It doesn’t matter whether it was the best thing since sliced bread or a burning dumpster fire, for them, once is enough. In my case though, I love re-reading books I’ve really enjoyed in years past. Sure, they’re nothing new and not exactly contributing to cutting down the growing unread pile sitting loosely stacked on my book cart, but I believe there are plenty of reasons to embrace the art of re-reading.

5 Reasons why I love to reread books | Writing and Communication Centre |  University of Waterloo

An *Almost* Guaranteed Great Read

One of the best things about re-reading is going into a book with the almost guaranteed knowledge that you’re going to enjoy yourself. I’ll admit, there are a couple of exceptions to this rule – for example, when we outgrow books we used to love – but for the most part it holds true. If you’re facing down a stretch of not so great reads or have been stuck in a bit of a reading slump, having something to reread that you already know and love is a great pick me up and will help kick you back into gear. It can also be really comforting for those who’ve been having a tough time or are particularly sensitive to certain triggers to know they can read something that’s going to give them exactly what they need at that particular moment in time without any nasty surprises. It’s like ordering your favourite dish off the menu because it’s exactly what you’re in the mood for.

New Things to Discover

Another aspect to re-reading I enjoy is that I pick up new things about a novel every time I read it. With books I really love, on my first read through I often get so caught up in the drama of the story that in my excitement to reach the climax I miss or gloss over little details and subtleties present in the writing, plotting and characterisation. Upon re-read I already know the path the story is going to take and, as a result, I’m able to view the journey to the big reveals in a brand new light, as well as the characters. This can sometimes drastically affect my opinions. My favourite thing, however, has to be coming across an author’s clever use of foreshadowing that I wasn’t able to appreciate the first time around. It’s also important to note that with particularly complex stories, rereading might sometimes be essential to my understanding of the full picture and what the author intended to get across in their work.

Prepping for Sequels

I tend to read a combination of both standalone books and series. With series, these books are usually released over a period of several years, or longer if the author is a popular one with multiple novels on the go at once (or you’re George RR Martin and Patrick Rothfuss). My memory isn’t always the best at keeping track of all the nitty-gritty plot and world building details of every book I read and this can make going into a newly released sequel challenging and confusing without first getting help from a re-read. Plus, having events fresh in my memory really helps me to emotionally connect with the sequel. Okay, yes, I could always try and track down a recap somewhere online but which is the more fun option?

Learning Experience

If you’re an aspiring author, the best way to improve your skills and encourage creative thinking is to re-read books that you’ve loved in the genre you want to write in. You’ve already read that book for the purpose of enjoyment and thought it passed the test, which means you can now reread it with a different mindset and think critically about what exactly it is that makes it work so well for you. You loved the writing? Great, what makes that author’s style and technique so appealing? Or if it’s the characters, how were they presented and developed to help them burrow their way into your heart? These are things we usually don’t pay attention to on our first read, I know I don’t, but they’re the perfect things to look out for on re-read.

A Chance for Revised Perspective

As I touched on in my 2020 post questioning the reliability of my past book ratings, it’s inevitable that as we get older our tastes, interests and reading experience develop and change. When this is applied to re-reading books it can potentially be a bad thing in that we realise we no longer enjoy a particular book as much as we used to, but it can also take a turn for the best! Sometimes growing older and going through certain life experiences allows you to connect with and understand certain characters and stories in ways you were never able to previously. Further education since your original read might allow you to grasp more complicated themes and ideas that previously went right over your head. Or perhaps, nowadays, you’re a more patient and introspective reader, one who enjoys slower, character-oriented novels to a greater extent than when you first read a particular book? Who knows, maybe your next favourite book is an old ‘meh’ book.


It’s easy to feel like re-reading is a waste of time or a stagnation of our reading progress. Yet, in reality, it can have a lot of value when it comes to personal enjoyment, comfort, learning and reflection. It’s definitely something I need to be less wary of doing on a regular basis and not something I should experience guilt over. Because when it comes down to it, if you’re enjoying what your reading, what else matters?

Are you someone who likes to reread books or are you a one-take type of reader? Why/why not?

If you do enjoy re-reading, what are some of the books you like to reread and why?

The Netflix Book Tag

I love books. I love Netflix. This tag is thus a match made in heaven. Or is it (considering one usually distracts me from the other…)? I stumbled across this tag via Kristin at Kristin Kraves Books but it was originally created by A Darker Shade of Whitney over on booktube.

Recently Watched: The Last Book You Finished

Golden Son (Red Rising 2#) – Pierce Brown

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A Golden Son re-read wasn’t even listed on my TBR for March. And yet, here we are. I should have known this would happen. You can’t just read Red Rising and not keep going. Even now I’m so damn tempted to just pick up Morningstar and let the good times roll. I love this series. I really, really do. I gave this book five stars the first time around and I feel completely confident in my rating after the second time through. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ll re-read these books again in the future. If that isn’t a glowing endorsement, I don’t know what is.


Top Picks: A Book That Has Been Recommended To You Based On What You’ve Previously Read

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – Benjamin Alire Sáenz 

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I’ve had Ari & Dante mentioned to me quite a few times as something I’d probably enjoy and the consensus on it in general seems to be very, very good. I actually think this is something I’ll read eventually because I quite like the looks of the blurb. It feels like a really great character focused, coming of age story. It also happens to be a LGBTI book with two Mexican-American leads so yay for diversity. I’ve heard that the audiobook read by Lin Manuel Miranda is solid so maybe I’ll end up checking that out.


Recently Added: The Last Book You Purchased

Wolf by Wolf – Ryan Graudin

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I bought 3 books as my last purchase (blame book depository) and Wolf by Wolf is one of them. I stumbled across it watching one of Hayley in Bookland’s videos and thought it sounded really interesting, so why not give it a go? It’s an alternate history story in which the Nazis won WWII. Each year they hold a multi-continent motorcycle race to commemorate their victory, the winner of which gets to meet Hitler. Impersonating a previous winner, a former concentration camp prisoner, Yael, decides to enter the race to win and kill Hitler. The problem is that both the brother and former lover interest of the racer she’s pretending to be are also competing. The book has great reviews so I’m really excited to read it.


Popular On Netflix: Books That Everyone Knows (2 You’ve Read & 2 You Have No Interest In Reading)

Weird assortment of books, I know but this question was pretty broad.

  • Daisy Jones & the Six – Taylor Jenkins Reid: Read it, liked it but didn’t love it like I did The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. Kind of wish I’d listened to the audiobook but ah well.
  • All the Bright Places – Jennifer Niven: Read. An okay YA contemporary but I wasn’t too keen on the ending and couldn’t help feeling like the story was a little emotionally manipulative.
  • The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins: The things I’ve heard about this one, particularly from my grandma, definitely make me not want to bother with it.
  • The Testaments – Margaret Atwood: I pretty much have zero interest in reading this one, mostly because it just seems unnecessary.

Comedies: A Funny Book

Red, White & Royal Blue – Casey McQuiston

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I had to pick this one. I haven’t properly laughed reading a book for good while and I did multiple times reading Red, White & Royal Blue. It’s so much fun. The texting and phone calls between Henry and Alex were fantastic. My favourite one, however, has to be in which Alex is stuck in his room with the turkeys set for presidential pardon the next day and calls Henry to complain. If I’m ever having a particularly tough week in the future, I know that re-reading this book would be a sure fire way to make me feel a lot better.


Dramas: A Character That Is A Drama Queen/King

Evie (The Diviners – Libba Bray)

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Having only recently finished this book, the characters are still fresh in my mind. Evie loves a bit of a drama and it certainly seems to follow her around, which makes for some fun situations. She does object readings at parties and reveals scandalising gossip, makes deals with the press on the sly to get her name in the papers, and will happily confront people for past slights in fiery fashion (despite saying she’ll leave it well enough alone). Things are never dull with Evie around. But hey, that’s the way she like it after all.


Animated: A Book With Cartoons On The Cover

Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell

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I am not so secretly a big fan of these cute animated styled covers. I’ve noticed that they’ve become super popular in recent years, especially when it comes to contemporary romance books. They’re just so sweet and fun looking. It automatically puts me in a rom-com mood. As far as the actual book goes, I really enjoyed Fangirl. It’s a great celebration of nerd & fan culture and has a super relatable protagonist for so many introverted people dealing with things like anxiety.


Watch It Again: A Book Or Series You Want To Reread

Arc of a Scythe Series – Neal Shusterman

I love the Arc of a Scythe series. It feels so different from other things I’ve read and the world building is fantastic. The last book in the series, The Toll, was released in 2019 and because it seems like ages since I read books 1 & 2, I really want to do a re-read before I tackle book 3. I’ve definitely become one of those people who needs to do re-reads to refresh themselves on the important details of previous books before tackling a series’ new release. I enjoy them so much more that way.


Documentaries: A Nonfiction Book You’d Recommend To Everyone

Eggshell Skull – Bri Lee

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I’ve started to read the odd non-fiction book now and again, and there are a few on my list to tackle in 2020. Eggshell Skull was one of my top 10 reads of 2019 and it’s one I’d easily recommend. It looks at how sexual assault is handled by the legal system in Queensland, Australia and I was engaged, horrified and saddened. The writing isn’t always perfect but it was very interesting to see the issue from the perspective of someone who has been on both sides – a judge’s associate in sexual assault trials and a complainant. It’s great at showcasing why women avoid reporting assault and the profound effects being a victim of assault can have on a person even years later.


Action & Adventure: An Action-Packed Book Or Series

Percy Jackson & the Olympians Series – Rick Riordan

As far as action and adventure go, Percy is always a suitable choice. Monsters, quests, sword fighting, the potential end of the world, vengeful Greek Gods – “action-packed” is one way to put it. It’s pretty much never a dull moment for Percy and his friends, but it certainly keeps things exciting…and well, dangerous.


New Releases: A Book That Just Came Out Or Will Be Coming Out Soon That You Can’t Wait To Read

House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City 1#) – Sarah J. Maas

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In a choice that will come as a surprise to absolutely no one out there, I recently received my pre-order of Sarah J. Maas’s new book and I’m super keen to read it. My attitudes towards Sarah’s previous books vary a lot but I’m hoping that this one will be on the A Court of Mist and Fury end of my likeability scale. This is an adult book so I’m looking forward to seeing what SJM does with a bit more freedom (then again, her “YA” books have never truly been YA anyway due to their sexual content but eh). Angels, faeries, murder, romance, please let this be worth devoting 800 pages and my time to.


What are some of your favourite Netflix shows?

Top 10 Tuesday: Books I Liked but won’t Re-Read

This week’s TTT topic is, as usual courtesy of Jana @That Artsy Reader Girl, books I liked but won’t re-read. There are quite a few books out there that I can safely say I enjoyed the experience of reading for one reason or another, but even though I appreciated them I know that once was enough for me. There are a number of movies out there that are exactly the same. I’m sure you know what I mean. Anyway, here we go:

1

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The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern

A beautifully written book that I definitely recommend people read at least once but I don’t see myself ever wanting to read it again. For sure will quote til the end of time though.

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2

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Big Little Lies – Liane Moriarty

I enjoyed the book, I love the TV show, but would I read it again? Probably not.

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3

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The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians) – Rick Riordan

I think I missed the prime age for this one to be a re-readable one. I very much enjoyed it, the series is extremely fun, but I don’t think it’ll be one of those things I read over and over like a great number of people do.

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4

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The Lies of Locke Lamora – Scott Lynch

This is one I definitely appreciated for how well it’s written and crafted. It’s objectively a fantastic fantasy entry but I have no urge to re-read it. Divider

5

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Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie is the queen of crime. Forever and always. The end of this one was just so well done that I think I’d like to preserve the shock of my first read through forever. Divider

6

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The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien

While I may not have loved LOTR, I did really enjoy reading this one as a kid. Great fantasy, suitable for even a young audience but once again, no drive to re-read.Divider

7

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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Annie Barrows & Mary Ann Shaffer

This was such a sweet and refreshing read. I’m so glad I finally got around to it. Definitely would recommend to anyone who loves historical books with good characters. Divider

8

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The Martian – Andy Weir

An entertaining read but I’m not so keen on sifting through all the science speak for a second time. Will have to settle for re-watching the film.

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9

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Me Before You – Jojo Moyes

I liked this one a lot more than some other people out there. I enjoyed the slow built relationship and Lou was a ray of sunshine. With chick lit books, generally I do want to read them again at some point but I think I’m cool with once for this one.

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10

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Uprooted – Naomi Novik

Overall I quite liked this book but the third act does drag a bit and there are moments a little on the boring side which I wouldn’t want to go through twice. A good one off experience though!

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Which books have you read and liked but not wanted to re-read? Why? Were they just so good you’re worried they won’t be the same or was once just simply enough?

Love Ashley

Book Review: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon (A Re-Read)

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Bloomsbury | August, 2013 | p. 452

I first read TBS back in 2013 and was super excited to get my hands on The Mime Order when it came out in 2015. Over two years later, here I am, eager to start flipping pages on The Song Rising EXCEPT, I have a problem: amongst all the waiting for the next instalment I’ve gotten a little hazy on the details. Do I remember the major events? Yes. However, I know the minute I pull back that lovely white and orange cover Samantha Shannon’s intricate word building is going to hit me like a truck at top speed. And so it’s clearly time for…

A RE-READ!

Just like last time, I tore through TBS in the space of three days. I stayed up into the early hours of the morning, unable to tear myself away and I’m happy to report that my previous rating holds up the second time through.

For those who haven’t read it, here’s the GR synopsis:

The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.

It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.

The first few pages of this book are not easy to get through, regardless of whether it’s your first time or not. It’s easy to feel discouraged because to put it bluntly, the first 10% or so of the book is DENSE. Shannon has created a wonderfully detailed and complex world for her stories but boy, is it difficult to get a handle on. History, government organisations, geography, characters, clairvoyance, technology, politics –it hits you over the head like a piano in an old Looney Toons cartoon.  No-one’s a fan of massive info dumps but in this case I understand why Shannon’s done it. There’s a lot of information to get through in this new world and in order to understand the plot, you need to have a basic grasp on a lot of it. My advice: sticker the clairvoyance chart at the beginning and the glossary at the end – you’re going to need them, a lot. Shannon also likes to incorporate a lot of world specific slang into her writing. Just when you think you know vaguely what’s going on, she throws another unfamiliar term at you. This didn’t really bother me as much as it did other people because much of it can be determined from context, and the ones that can’t become less of a problem as you go on.

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Plot wise, it’s important to know going in that while the beginning and end are fairly action packed sections, the rest of the novel is a bit slower with a few exceptional chapters. This is because these parts of the novel are centred upon (a) character building – particularly Paige’s, (b) Paige learning about her situation and working out how to get out of it, and (c) developing Paige’s relationships. For me, this was enough to keep me wanting more. Both A and C are dealt with through the help of flashbacks. I know a lot of people hate this technique but here they serve to aid our understanding of who Paige is. More importantly, they give us an idea about the London crime syndicate and characters that become prominent in The Mime Order. A lot of the book is devoted to Paige’s conversations with certain people so if this doesn’t float your boat, maybe stay away. The characters around Sheol I are decent enough, but all of the members of the Seven dials are compelling, even though they’re developed to varying degrees.  Nevertheless, the most important of Paige’s relationships is that formed with her Rephaite keeper, the Warden. Warden is an interesting and complex character, and it takes time to understand him and his intentions. As a key part of the novel, it’s also engaging to watch his and Paige’s relationship gradually develop over the six month period as they come to understand one another and build up trust. *spoiler* I will say though that the romantic jump does feel a little bit too sudden despite the ground gained. *spoiler over*

Paige herself, in my opinion, remains a likeable character. She’s strong, emotionally and physically, but comes with limits and vulnerabilities. She refuses to give up despite the apparent hopelessness of her situation and is constantly on the move, trying new things and searching for any piece of information that’ll help. And yet, she’s also flawed and doesn’t always come out on top. When she does, she needs help. In this way, she feels like an actual person, someone who makes mistakes and has a lot of room to grow throughout the series, which is a great thing.

The novel’s magic system is quite confusing and a little over complicated, and I still find myself a little unsure about it. However, I’ve found that with TBS it’s definitely possible to enjoy the use of magic and references to it without grasping the full picture. People sending images to people’s minds, controlling ghosts, and telling the future with tarot cards is still awesome even if you don’t understand the why.  I liked reading about Paige developing and learning more about her abilities. I’m a bit of a sucker for a good training session in a novel, especially where magic is concerned, and it’s nice to know that Paige is still somewhat at the beginning of understanding what clairvoyants can do, much like us, the reader.

While I recognise quite a few issues with TBS from a writing standpoint, I still can’t help but find that I really enjoy reading it. Even though it’s complicated, the world is compelling, and the characters are fantastic. There’s action, magic, romance, mystery, criminals, monsters, ghosts, alternate dimensions, and I just can’t help but be completely swept up by it all. I think that in this case, TBS is just one of those books where either you’ll be completely put off or, despite the mental haze, you’ll be more than happy to be along for the ride. Lucky for me, I fall into the latter group.

Have you read The Bone Season? What were your thoughts on it?

Happy reading!

Love ash

 

 

 

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