I’m a re-reader. I think those who say the best reading is re-reading are on to something, and I don’t feel like I really know a book until I’ve been through it more than once.
I’ve noticed that I re-read books for two reasons: because I love them, and because I need them.
The books that I love–Brideshead, Emma, Gatsby–I re-read for the pleasure factor. Book-lovers easily relate to this one; it hardly needs explanation.
But let’s talk about needing to re-read certain books. Specifically, nonfiction.
I have a lot going on–in my life, in my house, in my brain–but limited bandwidth, and I know I’m easily distracted. Some people use inspiration boards to keep their minds focused on what’s most important; I use books: I re-read to keep myself focused on the things that are important to me.
I didn’t start doing it on purpose: I’ve only recently noticed the pattern:
I’ve noticed that while I’m reading The 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work, I’m paying attention to how my marriage is (or isn’t) working.
While I’m reading Queen Bees and Wannabees, I’m highly attuned to the dynamics of my daughters’ personal relationships.
While I’m reading The War of Art, I’m inspired to put my butt in the chair and do my work, every day, even when I don’t feel like it.
I’ve yet to find a better way to kindle my enthusiasm for a subject than reading.
I don’t re-read It Starts With Food to figure out how to do a Whole 30; I already know how it’s done. I re-read it because my interest wanes over time, and I’m healthier if I stay interested.
I don’t re-read The Well-Trained Mind every year to remember the how of homeschooling, I (more or less) know how. I re-read it to remember the why.
And I’m not re-reading Clutterfree with Kids because I’ve forgotten the methods, but because I want to be inspired to put them to work.
Looking back through the years, my personal pattern is clear. I read to keep my focus where I want it.
In my experience, it works.
What books do you read over and over again, and why?