The Comfort of Rereading

In Vladimir Nabokov’s opinion, rereading is essential to being a good reader. In order to read a story to the best of your ability, you have to reread it, or at least reread the important parts. I somewhat disagree. To me, rereading is indeed an essential component of fully understanding and appreciating a story to its fullest extent, however, the most valuable benefit of rereading is the comfort that comes with rereading a good story.

There is nothing I love more than reading my favorite books. I can’t count the amount of times I have set down a newly-finished book only to think, “I can’t wait until I can read this again!” It’s like entering a world, only to leave bittersweetly, melancholy to go, but hopeful of your eventual reentry. After falling completely in love with the characters contained between the front and back cover, after yearning to be their best friends, you have to leave them. Rereading is like paying them a visit, seeing how they’re doing these days, relishing in your old friendship.

I have a terrible memory. I’ll forget conversation topics in the middle of the conversation, and what I was just doing in the middle of doing it. It’s a joke between me and my friends, but honestly I find that it has its uses. I can read a book or series as many times as I want. If I wait long enough, I’ll forget what happened, the characters’ names, the climax. I reread books, rewatch movies, re-listen to podcasts, and re-experience everything I can. Whether it’s a picture book from my childhood, each page bursting with nostalgia, or a novel I remember with well-written characters, there’s nothing more comforting. To me, it’s like getting under a blanket, soft and worn from use, and already warm. It’s like exploring a beautiful landscape for the first time, but knowing which corners the most gorgeous sights wait beyond. There’s no shame in rereading. There’s only comfort and the knowledge that you’ve made Nabokov proud.

6 thoughts on “The Comfort of Rereading

  1. Kianna G.

    Wow, I never really thought about the fact that rereading brings some people comfort. I don’t typically reread books, but I definitely get what you mean. It get a similar comfort when I re-listen to a song or re-watch a movie. I do find that when I reread, re-listen, or re-watch something, I understand more things and discover more details.

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  2. Isabel K

    I tend not to re-read books, although I did re-read a few last year. I have found there is a great difference between reading books in an academic or a more relaxed setting. And I have discovered that many books that I disliked analyzing in that academic context, I actually found comfort in re-reading on my own.

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  3. Najda HSJ

    I really love this post. I don’t tend to reread books that often, but the ones that I do reread prompt a sense of nostalgia for me. Usually, I reread books that I read as a child, or watch my favorite movies that I loved growing up. Even now, I will reread shows that give me a sense of nostalgia from watching it a couple of years ago. I think I like to reread especially if I read the book during my happiest years. Rereading can make you remember those past happy moments when you were reading the book for the first time.

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  4. Abby S.

    I resonated with this post because I reread books I loved all the time! There is definitely a level of comfort there and it brings me back to when I first read the book. I find things that I didn’t remember from the first time I read it and its nice to go back into that world.

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  5. Elijah J

    I love your imagery describing what rereading is like for you. Especially the warm blanket one, I could almost feel it. I find it pretty amazing that you can make me jealous of your forgetfulness, it’s a completely different perspective and approach to rereading or re-watching things. When I see or read something again, it’s like looking through an old photo album, so your ability to almost experience it for the first time more than once, with just the right dash of familiarity, is very cool.

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  6. cassie m

    I totally agree, your memory sucks <3. Good point though. I've never thought of rereading as completely re-experiencing, for me it's the comfort in knowing the story, as well as the discovery of smaller details I didn't notice the first time. But I think it's fascinating that different people have different meanings behind rereading, rewatching, relistening, etc.

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