Can I Read the Same Book Twice and Maintain My Humanity?

In the home of every bookworm is an identical edifice. I don’t care where you go, how far you travel, or to what strange ends of the earth you journey, if you enter the home of a bookworm, you will always find a stack of books that the bookworm intends to read ‘sometime later’.

As is well documented, this stack of unread books does not keep the reader from buying more books.

Heck no.

I am not excluded from this phenomenon. I have such a stack behind my reading chair. It weighs more than I do.

I have murder mysteries, a book on neuroscience, several copies of the classics, the complete works of Shakespeare, and Magic School Bus paperbacks.

I’m going to read them all someday. I really am.

But something keeps getting in my way.

It’s an old friend that has turned into a fearsome foe.

What is it?

Old books that I read and loved, and here I am, wasting valuable reading time by reading them all over again.

This week I reread an Agatha Christie mystery that I have read at least twice before. And yes, I already knew how it ended. Did this stop me from enjoying the book? No, it did not.

If you have a favorite book (and I know you do), go ahead and read it again. I won’t mind.

These books that I love are getting in my way.

I have other books to read. I want to read the books, but what am I going to do? I can’t just walk past these old friends without taking a peek through their first pages.

Just a quick peek.

This disappoints me because I want to be efficient. I have a limited amount of free time available to me. I realize this is typical for millenials. I want to use my time wisely to read well, learn things, and be a good person.

Or do I?

Is reading intended to serve a useful purpose, or is it just for fun?

Decisions, decisions.

Is a person’s worth as a reader determined by how many books he can read?

In case you’re wondering, the answer is no.

It’s no good judging readers by how many books they read, just as it’s no good to judge those same books by their covers.

Reading can convey imagination, but by some happy accident, it’s also fun.

Although I suppose there may be a niche interest in it, you probably don’t read car manuals in your free time, and that is specifically what we are talking about right here.

I’ll abandon all authorly pretense and just say it straight:

You don’t have to be productive when you’re reading. You read for fun, don’t you? Then just read what you like.

If it’s comic books, read.

If it’s scholarly interpretations of classic literature, read.

If it does happen by some strange twist of fate and coincidence to be car manuals, read.

Read the same books twice or thrice.

Read some books never.

Read some books halfway through and change your mind.

Find what reading makes you happy and just do it.

The healthiest thing you can do is just read.

Even if it’s the same book again. -BW


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