Do Re-Reads Count?

I like to keep tabs of the books I read throughout the year, and many of the books I read are books that I have read in the past. But I wonder if they “count” towards an overall goal for the year?

First, I don’t set book goals for the year, so counting the number of books is just a numerical way to keep track of my reading. I dislike setting book goals because it means that I “have” to read a certain amount of books per month or per week, and that adds pressure to a hobby.

For me, I definitely count re-reads toward my overall reading list.

Books find you in different times and places in your life, and in many cases, I read books in my teens that have become more salient and potent as I have grown into my twenties. Take, for example, To Kill A Mockingbird. I was required to read this book when I was 14 and a freshman in high school. In class, we discussed the dynamics of race and class as part of the book, but there are so many aspects of the book we didn’t explore, such as gender dynamics, and the role of government and law in the book. Nine years later, I can look at the book with a fresh pair of eyes and see the things I couldn’t quite understand as a teenager.

Or take Catcher in the Rye, a book I read when I was 16 and identified with so much it hurt. I end up rereading this book every year, and I always have a different perspective on Holden with each re-read. I can see how I have grown by how I relate to the main character, which is a really fascinating thing to experience, because I first read the book when I was the same age as Holden.

Finally, I want to talk about Fun Home. This is hands down my “jump start” book, which, if I am in a slump, gets me to read other things. Fun Home is a reading experience that centers and calms me to a point that allows me to reflect on myself and the world around me. And that is an experience that I absolutely think deserves to be counted.

I count re-reads if I gain something from the re-read. And I almost always gain something or another.

What about you? Do you count your re-reads as part of the books you read that year?

Let me know in a comment below!


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