It’s no secret that I like to re-read my favorite books. Less than a month after I finished it, I just launched a re-read of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell because I couldn’t resist. I’m also a big fan of re-watching – movies, TV series, whatever. It’s hard to find a balance between re-reading and re-watching the beloved and familiar, and discovering new things. But there are some solid reasons to give your favorites another go-around!
1.) Finding new things – This may seem counter-intuitive, since I just talked about discovering new things as totally separate from re-visiting the familiar. But the thing is, in any given book, TV show, or movie, there is so much to take in that it’s almost impossible to get it all. There’s always some detail missed, or some character interpretation that we just don’t seen until we read a book again. Take the Harry Potter series, for instance – I’ve read these books several times (easily double digits for the earlier books.) And every time I read them again, I notice something I didn’t before – like how when Hagrid drops of baby Harry at the beginning of the books, he’s on Sirius Black’s motorcycle, or how Ginny slowly relaxes around Harry and becomes a great character in her own right. Being able to go back to something and get immersed in these details and character changes is a wonderful experience.
2.) Comfortable is fun! – Finding new things in old favorites is fun, sure. But you know what else is? Knowing what’s going to happen and enjoying the ride anyways. Knowing a movie so well you can practically quote every line. The feeling of being with friends when you watch an episode of your favorite sitcom for the fifth time. There is absolutely nothing wrong with finding joy in the familiar! If we couldn’t do that, everybody in the world would be a nomad and be forced to make new friends all the time. Re-reading a favorite book or re-watching a favorite movie or TV show is like coming home, putting on your comfiest pants and sweater, and settling in to the couch with your favorite food. It’s enjoyable, it’s comfortable, it’s peaceful. And if you can combine another reading or viewing favorite with actual comfiest pants and favorite foods, I’d say you’re in for a pretty great day!
3.) It’s a good quality test – It’s happened to me a lot. I finish a book or movie, or watch an episode of TV, and think “That was good! I enjoyed that!” And I did, indeed, enjoy it. But maybe I wasn’t thinking with a critical eye. Maybe I’ll think because I liked that particular book or movie, I’ll like others like it, or a sequel. And sometimes, I’m wrong. But a sure fire way to figure out if I really like something, if it really is top quality, is to return to it. If it’s something good, I’ll enjoy it almost as much the second time around. Even when I’m removed from the initial feelings and looking at it with a critical eye, I’ll find it fantastic again. But if it’s something bad, that critical eye and sense of removal will help me realize really quickly that maybe I was wrong. Maybe that monkey episode of How I Met Your Mother wasn’t really as good as I thought it was. Maybe The DaVinci Code is a one-time read and I don’t need to wait in line for the next Dan Brown novel. This is helpful when I’m trying to find new things – having a better sense of what I REALLY like in my media helps me find better media in the first place. It’s a win-win!
So while it’s important to try new things, it’s also fun and totally okay to go back to old favorites for a re-read or re-watch. What are your favorite books, movies, and TV shows that you return to over and over?