The fantastic Meka is back to tell us about why she re-reads and describing all the different kinds of re-reading she does. She also invited the #RomBkLove team to share their experiences with re-reading at the end of the post:
What do you get when you put a mood reader, a glommer, and a rereader together? Why, you get me, of course. The ability to sink in to a book series, read books based on my mood, and get stuck in a never-ending rereads session is a talent, in and of itself. I can get stuck in that cycle, but Agent Reread is on the case and ready for duty, provided I can find my way out of this 57-book small town series labyrinth. I know the risks!
Happy Reread Sunday. I hope that you have had the opportunity to visit yesterday’s prompt on new-to-me authors and have loaded up your shopping carts appropriately. Now that you have done so, let me tell you about the wonders of rereading.
Why reread a book when there are so many other books to choose from?
Rereading can be one of the most frustrating yet rewarding parts of being a voracious reader. Often, I reread books because I am a mood reader and I want a specific set of circumstances, such as a person having to navigate life due to trauma, a damsel in distress, novellas about shifters who only want a mate and a baby, some super dark (but not hero being the reason for dark) romantic suspense, a book full of humor, some epic fantasy with romantic elements, or just something to read that hits all of the buttons I want but may not be able to quantify until I’ve started the reread. Typically, I will be sitting on the bus during the commute, scrolling through the myriad of books that I have and get frustrated because I have “Nothing to read!’. I have learned over the years that it isn’t that I am out of books to read, but that I have to find something that gels with my mood brain, and sometimes the mood brain is a cruel and fickle mistress. She wants what she wants, and very often doesn’t communicate that to me until I’ve flailed and given up and decided to read something I’ve read before.
The other, and perhaps most important reason why I reread is because when the world gets a little too hard, when depression hits, or when I just need to check out for a while, my favorites are always there, ready and waiting for me to read them once again and perhaps pick up on something that I hadn’t noticed the other fifteen times I read them. You don’t know! Books are like onions and there is always another layer to uncover.
I don’t know that I can adequately convey the pure emotion that is involved in rereading. I spend all this time trying to find the next great read, particularly after a book hangover where I have read something absolutely amazing, and what do I do? I go to something familiar with towns and characters and plots that I know and have fallen in love with and I will read. Since I am a glommer, that means that I could likely spend up to two months reading a series that I’ve already devoured and you won’t see me until I’ve made it to the other side only to be swept back under again should the mood brain decide that I’m not ready to take on something new yet. It is like being hugged and tucked in beneath a treasured quilt as the smells of hot chocolate and chicken noodle soup waft through the kitchen. All is well and life is good.
Types of Rereads
There are several types of rereads and each and every one of them is valid. There is absolutely no wrong way to reread a book. Say it with me! There is absolutely *no* wrong way to reread a book.
The Stand-alone Reread
You know it as soon as you see the title. It’s the book that you read because it got you through a difficult time. It’s the audiobook that made you fall in love with other audio books and got you interested in a specific narrator. It’s the paperback with frayed pages because you turned it so much. It’s the braille book whose dots might be a little run down because it’s been read many, many times. It’s the digital book that you keep gifting to all of your friends because it has meant so much to you. It hits every part of your brain with the feelings that you need, even if that book has high angst.
Speaking of high angst, my favorites for stand-alone rereads are Baby Love by Catherine Anderson and The Witness by Nora Roberts. Both books still have the power to make me feel as though I’ve been sucker punched with the pain of the characters, even though I know that things are going to be alright in the end.
The Series Reread
We find ourselves becoming immersed in a world of small towns, paranormals, FBI teams, westerns, Dystopian hellscapes, and the back streets of London where people are just trying to make a living and find love. We know these worlds. Reading them for the first time opens our eyes to new possibilities in world building. Reading them for the second, fifth, twentieth, and fifty-seventh time allows us to savor the build-up of new relationships and find hidden clues and setups that we never would have caught in the beginning. We know these characters. We rejoice in their happily-ever-after, we cry just as we did the first time one of our favorite side characters is killed off. We know the bad is coming and yet we’re still on pins and needles because if you are anything like me, the hurt will be followed up by exquisite comfort. These are still book hugs and it is very easy to get stuck in the rabbit hole of rereads until you’re finished. What happens when the series reread is complete? Hopefully they have anthologies and slice of life short stories in their newsletters and on their website!
Naturally, I have several series that I gravitate toward when it comes to rereading. It should come as no surprise that one of them is the Psy/Changeling books by Nalini Singh. When I reread, I get to see the world unfurling beautifully right before my eyes all over again. It is lovely and perfect and just what my mood reading brain desires.
Another series that I can reread quite easily is Karen Rose’s Long-running book series all about detectives, lawyers, and people in peril. It is very dark and I need to be in a pretty unhappy mood to read them, but they definitely are what I need during times of great stress.
The Author Reread
I know it’s time to reread an author when I’ve been reading a book by them and am not ready to quit. The author reread is very important because that author has established trust all across the board. You know what to expect, you know if they go off script, you will love them. You want to read their voice and maybe enjoy a little nostalgia at the same time. Sometimes when I reread an author’s massive back list, I find myself thinking that this is exactly what I want and need during this time. This is likely the most dangerous form of rereading, because you may start in on an author’s book series or stand-alone and are unable to find your way out until next year!
Nora Roberts is the ultimate author reread for me. No matter my mood, Nora’s got something for me. I know that whatever I pick up by her, I’m going to enjoy it the tenth time just as much as I did the first time. I know her voice, I know where her paranormal books are going, I know the familiarity of her romantic suspense, and I am here for all of it.
The scene rereaders are the ones who will skim through their favorite parts of the book just to get to a specific scene that resonated. I am a scene rereader.
Sometimes, my mood brain is impatient and wants to read quickly to get to the book hug moment. There is no rhyme or reason for this, but I want what I want when I want it. I want to read the breaking point for a character in an angst-filled book and then read the gentle scenes afterward. I want to experience those happy emotions that I get when there is a beautiful scene of strong female friendships written on the page. Sometimes, I just want to read some really, really good make up grovel. This is harder for me to do now that I am not reading books on the laptop as much, but I can scene read like nobody’s business.
In Seanan Mcguire’s An Artificial Night, there is a powerful scene where friends come together to do something amazing. I know that is very vague, but I would be spoiling the book if I said more than that. This scene, for me, was full of hope that was desperately needed. When I reread it, my breath catches, my eyes fill, and I am stunned all over again by the depth of caring that is portrayed.
So what about you?
What are the books that you find yourself rereading? What rereading rabbit hole have you found yourself sliding down? Why do you enjoy rereading, and which type of rereader are you?
I want to thank Ana for allowing me to delve in to this topic and for providing all of us a space to talk about romance all over Twitter via the #RomBkLove hashtag. I can’t wait until someone says that one of the books recommended either via the blog posts for this year’s #RomBkLove or recommendations from the hashtag has given them a huge wealth of books to reread. And remember, there is *no* wrong way to reread a book!
Here are some of the RomBkLove team’s favorite rereads:
One from my reread-books mountain by Mary Lynne
Every once in a while, I have to reread Carolina on my Mind by Anne Marie Winston. It’s an old Desire title and an alien-abduction romance. And not today’s “hot alien sees someone and takes them” variant that’s a staple of KU. Nope, this book was published in 1994, so it’s the aliens of Whitley Strieber’s Communion, stealing humans to experiment on them. The hero and heroine meet each other on Earth, and only slowly do they put together that they were both the subjects of past alien experimentation. There’s a romance element (of course, the aliens put them together to observe breeding practices--this was a Desire title), but there’s a strong undercurrent that addresses PTSD--just in your typical alien-abduction romance storyline. :-) One thing I love about this book is that it points out the risk-taking that occurred in the series romance business. Publishing so many books back in the day, Harlequin was perfectly willing to release the occasional oddity in a traditional line. Carolina on my Mind is a classic example of that.
Why and what I reread by Kini
I hardly ever reread, I like new stories, I like the surprise of them and finding new authors. However, sometimes I need something that I know is going to work for me. A re-read is like going home. Or like when my mom makes my favorite chicken & dumplings for me. I know that even after all these years, it is going to be exactly the same. There is a great comfort in that. There are two books that I alternate for my comfort re-reads. Lady Luck by Kristen Ashley or Heaven and Hell by Kristen Ashley. Problematic as KA books may be, I love re-reading these two. I love seeing Lexi and Ty fall in love, experience the heart-wrenching beach scene and then see them coming together again. Same with Kia and Sam in Heaven & Hell. I find both to be highly emotional stories. There is also a sense of recalibration of my reading when I re-read one of them. They help remind me what I like in my stories. They also help me remember that I can read a string of meh books and know that Lexi and Ty will be there to give me a love story that I will just adore.
Why and what I reread by Joy
I am a re-reader because I love reliving great love stories and memorable characters. With a reread I know what I am getting ahead of time and that makes me happy. Nothing to worry about re: is the book going to be good, will I like the characters, will the book disappoint, there are no unknowns with a good reread. Here are some of my favorite rereads: Just Joe by Marley Morgan, At Last by Melissa Schroeder, Go Fetch by Shelly Laurenston, Branded Sanctuary by Joey W. Hill, Waiting For It by Rhyannon Byrd, The Flame and The Flower by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, Night Fever by Susan Kyle and Knight of A Trillion Stars by Dara Joy
What I reread & why by Jen
I read really fast. In fact, I read too fast, skipping details and skimming if I have that feeling that I MUST KNOW WHAT WILL HAPPEN. So for me, rereading allows me to settle in and enjoy the details I blew past that first time around. Recently, I did that with the Hidden Legacy series by Ilona Andrews. I just was on the edge of my seat! I had to know what was going to happen, so rereading it allowed me to be more leisurely and take in those details I missed the first time around. But I also the comfort food equivalent of rereading: skimming back through favorite scenes and sections. It’s like visiting with an old friend. (I also rewatch the same movies over and over again for the same reason.) I have a collection on my kindle called A+ favorites, and I put books there that I keep going back to, over and over again. For some reason, I do tend to reread super-high drama books! I just love to read about the angsty drama, I guess. I’ve reread Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas about a hundred times. That part where he steals her glasses. /sigh
What I reread & why by E_Bookpushers
I, reread, I have my entire life. If I didn’t reread I would run out of things to read I discovered as a child when I would finish the max number of library books I was allowed to check out two days into the week. As a result if I finish reading something and I think I will never read it again, I don’t keep it. So I am going to try to scope this just a bit. During the times when my mood is driving me, Shelly Laurenston, G.A. Aiken, Betty Neels, and Louis L’Amour (homesick) tend to be my frequent picks. For some of my favorite ongoing series, I will either reread right before a new installment is released or I will read the new installment and immediately back and reread the series looking for the hints or clues I missed or correctly pieced together. And then there are the ones I just love so when nothing else catches my eye or holds my attention, I know I can sink into Immortal Danger by Cynthia Eden, the Hidden Legacy series by Ilona Andrews, Never Love a Lawman by Jo Goodman, the Goddess With a Blade series by Lauren Dane, Laura Florand, Here There be Monsters by Meljean Brook, The Bride by Julie Garwood (and the rest of her historicals), What a Bear Wants and Beastly Desires by Nikki Winter, along with Zoe Archer’s and Nico Rosso’s SFRs to name a few.
Comfort and Familiarity but sometimes for clarity by Ana Coqui
Last year I wrote a little about re-reading for #Rombklove: Most Read or Re-read post I mostly re-read for comfort but I occasionally re-read to re-examine. I re-read a lot last year and the year before in the run-up to the election for comfort. Everything in the news sapped my energy. As emotionally exhausted I was needed, to read, or listen to books in series that I knew I love and would deliver. I was able to zone in and out and not lose track of the story or miss key details. I tend to re-read or re-listen to Kristen Ashley when I'm too emotionally stuck to try something new. Sometimes I do go back and re-read for greater depth and clarity, especially when a series has a slowly unfolding series plotline. I've re-listened to Anne Bishop's The Others Series several times over the last few years, as I awaited the final books to come out. And I re-read all of Nalini Singh's Psy-Changeling books in order once the initial story wrapped up because I had read them all out of order and I wanted to experience them in the proper sequence. Re-reading is powerful self-care tool for me, however I tend to binge read (read about my blanket-forting via G.A. Aiken or TS Joyce ) more than re-read.