Hello, Old Friend! The Joys of Rereading

There's something about fall that makes me feel like cozying up and rereading all my old favorites. Even though my to-be-read shelf is terminally massive (seriously, there are more books on there than I could ever read in a lifetime!) and I could be making a dent in my stacks of new books, you can often find me over here doing the exact opposite. 

So why do I reread? There are so many reasons, but below are four of the big ones, plus a few of the books that have inspired some of my most recent excursions.

I'm interested to know what inspires you to reread? What books do you always come back to and why? Please share in the comments!

The Comfort Reread

Ah, comfort reads. They're safe. You already know you love them. They're like metaphorically wrapping yourself up in a big ol' blanket on a cold winter's night.

I have a bunch of major standbys, from Harry Potter to Pride and Prejudice, but my biggest comfort read is pretty much anything by Mercedes Lackey. These books exist in the same space in my heart as the shows The Great British Baking Show and Queer Eye, and this tweet last month made me realize why:

Lackey's books totally fit this description— they always feature good people with painful pasts who finally find their place, their people, and their purpose in the world. There are fantasy trappings and adventure, of course, but just as important are the moments of peace and friendship, good meals and warm baths.

Arrows of the Queen

The Immediate Reread

Sometimes you just get so wowed by a book that you feel the need to dive right back in and experience it all over again.

My most recent experience with this was Madeline Miller's Circe. This book absolutely floored me with its compassionate portrayal of the much-maligned Circe, as well as with its beautiful, deceptively simple prose, engrossing world-building, and complex explorations of humanity, immortality, and the awful power of divinity. 


The Different-Stages-of-Life Reread

There are those special books that give you something new to take away every time you read them, where age and experience unlock new doors to new perspectives.

For me, one of those books is Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. As a kid, I read it mostly for the plot, but as an adult, I saw an unexpected melancholy I hadn't sensed before, a recognition of aging, and the loss of the joys and certainties of childhood. I can't wait to pick it up again someday and see what new things I'll find!

Something Wicked This Way Comes

The More-To-Explore Reread

Lastly, there are the books you go back to because you know there's so much more to absorb than what you soaked up with just one read. 

My more-to-explore pick has to be Wendell Berry. He writes about so many universal themes (community, life and death, the specificity of place, one's moral responsibility to the land and the people) in ways that demand a closer reading. While I love his essays, his poetry, in particular, is wise, touching, grounding, and thoroughly thought-provoking.

New Collected Poems