Guide on How to Reread Novels
Imagine, you set a goal of reading 100 new novels every year around four years ago. That was a habit you maintained up until lately.
You quit reading two new novels every week since you had forgotten practically everything you had learned over a year ago. And you can't possibly recall even a fraction of a book you read three years ago.
We've been re-reading and studying at least one good book a week since we understood that knowledge fades swiftly from our memory. We must prepare ourselves for life's challenges by practicing what we've learned until it becomes second nature.
If you want to master a particular skill, don’t assume that reading a few books on the topic will help you do that—it requires endless repetition. In The Daily Stoic, Ryan Holiday expressed it best:
"When we do something again and over again, it becomes unconscious behaviour, and we may fall back on it without thinking." Recently, we uploaded a blog named “Reasons Why Bibliophiles Like Rereading Books” and now in this article, we guide you on how to reread novels.
Rereading for the Purpose of Rereading
Before starting your project to revisit some of your favourite novels, you first have to make the decision that you want to be intentional about it. When you reread a novel, there are a few goals you wish to achieve:
Keep in mind the literature.
You want to recall every element of a novel if it is to remain a favourite. In a way, you want to be a part of your favourite literature. You want to be able to talk about them in depth with someone, even if it's years from now. (Rather of lamely trailing off, "Yeah, I enjoyed that...") You don't recall anything about it, though.")
Reclaim the magic
Any novel you choose to read again, we hope, will live up to your first enthusiasm. Obviously, this does not always occur–people evolve, books lose their appeal, and events and characters take on new meanings as a result of personal experiences.
Rather than rushing through a novel to find out what happens, we'd like to take my time with it and focus on the aspects that make it great. Maybe not as good as the first time you read it, but maybe better?
Keep an eye on the technique.
As an aspiring novelist, you’re interested in learning how my heroes accomplish it. When you first read a novel, you often don't recognize moments of genius or great technique–and if you’re involved, you don't want to. You’d like to continue reading for pleasure. However, upon rereading, you’re curious as to what the author accomplished to make you appreciate that novel so much.
How to Reread Books
Let's look at the how now that you've seen the why. Here are some pointers on how to revisit books:
Choose the appropriate books.
Not every novel is worth reading, and not every novel is worth rereading. Don't just go back and reread any book. Only read those that will give you the greatest bang for your buck. Finding the ones you wish to use is a fantastic method to filter them. The more you want to put a book to use, the more you should reread it.
Keep a tight eye on your all-time favourite books.
The books you want to master should be displayed in a prominent location where you can view them every day. Keep them on your desk, nightstand, and dinner table.
Allow the literature to remind you of your goals in life. On The Shortness Of Life, for example, serves as a constant reminder that life must be lived.
So, look at your life. What behaviours, characteristics, or skills do you want to make your own? What books are about those things? Keep those books close. But don’t keep a stack of 30 books on your desk. Pick only 1-2 books per topic. And stick to the best.
Take pleasure in the words.
Not every book is worth reading for its language, but if any book's prose could be described as "lyrical," it's this one–which is appropriate given the story's focus on music and opera.
While a story about a hostage takeover may sound exciting and action-packed, the events in this novel unfold slowly. There are no abrupt beginnings or ends, and there are no cliffhangers in the prose.
Even if your favourite’s prose isn't particularly poetic, paying more attention to the author's language, structure, and turns of phrase will only add to your enjoyment of the book.
Check to see whether you've highlighted any of your books.
When you read a book for the first time, you always highlight it. You don't have to reread everything now when you want to go back and study a book. You should read the entire paragraph as well as my highlights.
We often mistrust someone's willingness to study when they say they're frightened to highlight books or don't want to buy books. What do you think is more important? Are you a neat freak when it comes to your books? Or do you want to improve your life?
Your books should be highlighted. Make a list of what you want to remember on the pages. Transform the book into something uniquely yours.
Only read the crucial portions - concentrate
It is not necessary to read the entire novel again. That will take far too long. Furthermore, you may become lost in the details. Apply the 80-20 rule instead, and read only the important parts of the book. This is one of the reasons why, when reading a book for the first time, you should highlight the good parts. When you reread it, you'll be able to focus on only those sections.
Because there are so many potential actionable ideas, you should concentrate your efforts on the ones that will have the greatest impact. After you've successfully implemented them, you can move on to the next concepts.
Make personal notes in your journal about the book.
You'll forget the majority of the information no matter how many times you read a fantastic book. No matter how good or useful a book is, we forget a lot of what we've learned over time.
When you create notes on what you've learned from a book, though, you begin to internalize knowledge. It becomes a part of your muscle memory once you write about a topic in your own words.
That is why we propose keeping a diary where you can write notes to yourself. In the same way that Marcus Aurelius did in his journal (which later was published as Meditations). "Do this" and "don't do that," tell yourself.
There are reasons why you choose this book to read again over all the others. Take some notes on the plot, characters, and themes if you're like me and don't recall the story. If you can, write them down by hand–it will help you recall.
Also, try to recall and write down the aspects of the book that stood out to you. Was it because of the prose? What about the pacing? What about the characters? What aspects of this book did you enjoy the most?
Some authors have a way of making us care about their characters despite sharing very little about their lives outside of the house, which is one of our favourite things about them. Taking down notes on the characters revealed how little you knew about them.
Look for pragmatic clues
Because the application of knowledge is the fundamental benefit of reading, you should look for actionable ideas when you revisit a novel. When you initially read it, you might not have recognized some of them. Or maybe you've already forgotten about some of them. In either scenario, search for ways to better your life with new ideas.
If you recall enough about a book to know what will happen, you may notice clues that you missed the first time you read it.
This is especially likely to happen in a mystery, and it will allow you to observe how an author builds tension and drops hints and red herrings along the way.
Find out more about the background
Conduct your own "story of the story" investigation. You already know the story–even if you don't think you do–so brush up on it.
What sparked the author's creativity? What has happened since the book was published–sequels, films, and backlash? In interviews, what did the author say? What have critics and regular readers had to say about it in the years since it was published? Have any film or television adaptations been made, or are any in the works?
Rep with a new book every week for a year's worth of reading.
Rereading a good book multiple times a year is preferable to reading a good book only once or twice. As you continue to reread novels, you'll be able to narrow down your list.
This learning principle isn't anything new. It's the same strategy that helped Bruce Lee become one of the most famous martial artists and actors in history. "I am afraid of the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I am afraid of the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times," he remarked.
Similarly, we admire someone who has read 1,000 books 1,000 times rather than someone who has read 1,000 books once.