Impatient readers with busy lives don't always give serious consideration to the benefits of rereading. After all, there are so many books still undiscovered and unread. Why should we bother at all with rereading? A good book is worth rereading, as I hope you will see.
1. We find comfort in the familiar.
This is quite possibly the simplest reason most people reread books. Think of a toddler who demands to hear, “Go Dog, Go!” every night at bedtime. Animated laughter shows the delight found in a book where the child could recite. Even when we're older, there’s something comforting about the familiar. We get to relive our favorite stories and reacquaint ourselves with the characters we love.
2. Spoilers make it better.
Knowing what happens in a story equates with boring and frustrating to some people. I have a friend who is still mad at his brother for telling him that Dumbledore died in the sixth Harry Potter book. "Half-Blood Prince" came out in 2005, so that's a long time to keep a grudge. To him, it seems almost pointless to read something if you already know what happens. Is that right? Maybe not. Knowing what happens grants a sense of smug satisfaction. Even the characters don't yet know, after all.
3. You’ll appreciate it more.
Occasionally, I get impatient and restless during the first reading of a book. It's a common reader's problem: You don't want the story to be over, but you desperately need to know how it will end. This impatience means reading a little faster and missing some snippets of foreshadowing and character that can only be fully appreciated during the second or third time around.
4. The book changed.
Actually, you did. Read a childhood favorite you haven't look at in a while, or read something from your 10th grade English class. Does the book make you think the same things or make you feel the same way it did when you first read it? When rereading, we notice a few new details; sometimes a character or event will be unrecognizable with a different perspective gleaned from a few years (or even months). A character who once was an irredeemable monster in your eyes now is somewhat sympathetic. You can understand why an event that once seemed trivial is really devastating to the protagonist. As our hindsight and experience grow, our attitudes and perspectives change. Bringing these changes to a book read long ago can make a world of difference in how you read it.
5. You hated it.
At 12 years old with a fever of 102, I read a book that I hated so much; I made a solemn and heated vow never to read it again. The book dealt with themes of abuse, rape, religion and death. Still a bit naive and impressionable at that age, I think I read the book with blind cruelty. I didn't want to hear the story the protagonist had to tell, much less deal with her attitude about the matter. Now that I've grown and changed a bit, I'd like to offer the book a second chance. It turns out though, sadly enough, that a high fever made me deliberately forget the author and title very effective. Take my regret as an encouragement to read something you once hated, found terribly dull or vehemently disagreed with.
6. Plain forgetfulness.
This one is simple. Humans forget things. Sometimes rereading a book renews my love for it. More than once, I've discovered I almost forgot the story completely. That which I thought was the story turns out to be only a small part or detail tucked somewhere in the larger world of the whole book.
7. You were wrong.
That's okay. I spend about 90 percent of my life being wrong. Being wrong about a book will often look a bit like the problems detailed in the last few points. We can't help, to a certain extent, letting our own limited experience dictate our interpretations. This means we frequently will miss or misinterpret a significant point in a story. Rereading permits us to let the book speak for itself, despite the chaos and clamor in our own minds.
8. The book deserves it.
Writing takes time and effort, but we don't necessarily think that reading should be the same. That thought might be unfair. I've said before that a good book is worth rereading. A book offers up so much in terms of words, wishes, hopes, people, lessons and adventures, and the list could only go on. We might just owe a good book a fair chance to tell its story.
9. You deserve it too.
Rereading is a unique form of entertainment that requires doing something you've already done. Repetition (better known as practice) is considered a good way to learn. Good readers will learn about life from stories and how to find stories from life. In rereading, we can feel the heartbreak and healing of an adventure we already know.