Books for life


In their down time, a lot of people turn to music or movies or seemingly endless Netflix marathons to relax. To others, reading can fill this place of enjoyment and stress relief. I would like to make a case for not just reading, but also rereading favorite books. (It’s not just for English teachers).

Reading a book repeatedly can bring you back to the time when you first read it. Certain passages might correspond with certain moments in your life, so the book can act almost like a surrogate journal.

Senior Lila Sahar likened it to how people listen to specific songs when they feel a specific emotion. When she’s happy or sad or mad, she rereads a certain section of a book if it explains or complements the situation. Two of the books that she usually goes to are “A Little Life” by Hanya Yanagihara and “The Life of Pi” by Yann Martel.

Through rereading a book, you can see how you’ve changed since you first read it. What passages jump out at you, how you view certain characters, and how you interpret things like themes and messages can all change from reading to reading. The book hasn’t changed. But, you’ve changed, and it can be interesting and thought-provoking to realize this through rereading a favorite book.

Also, if you liked a book the first time, there’s a good chance you’ll like it the second time. Reading it again can simply be fun. Senior Claire Song likes to reread Dave Berry, EB White, and Ayn Rand because they are funny, touching, and thought-provoking in that order. Also, she said that it’s just fun.

Personally, I just reread “Looking for Alaska” recently. The first time I was in middle school, and how I viewed the main characters and their motives has changed dramatically. I liked the book then, and I still like it now, but the why has changed. I would have never realized that without opening that cover again.

Though most people don’t have reading in their job description, English teachers are objectively experts on the subject of rereading. People might say that, well, they have to reread books because they teach them. But most of the English teachers I talked to don’t reread the books they teach just because they teach them.

“I always get something new from re-reading it that I hadn’t noticed before or that speaks to my current situation,” Kirsten Strand-Young said of “The Great Gatsby.” English teacher Mary Strampe also rereads a book she teaches each year, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” because it’s full of life lessons that are always timely.

It isn’t about finding one book that everyone should read and reread for all of time, but about finding books and writers that you enjoy. English teacher Josh Axtman rereads his favorite book, “Cat’s Cradle,” every summer. “I think the idea of finding that one book that you truly love and reconnecting with it each year, in general, is a good thing,” he said. He also compared rereading it to meeting with an old friend with each revisit.

If you’re dead set against rereading books as something you would absolutely never consider, I would still recommend at least revisiting books. Discussing books and thinking about them can also have similar effects to rereading them.

Associate Principal Molly Hollenbeck, an avid reader, said that while she doesn’t usually reread books, she does enjoy talking about books she has read with others who have read it as well. “This discussion brings the book back to life for me and feels as if I’m rereading it,” Hollenbeck said. She said she also keeps a book journal with quotes and does read that every so often.

Whatever form it takes, or however long it takes you to come around to the (admittedly biased) right side of this topic, the books will still be there. You can always take a chance at rereading them.