Rereading

Last week I saw The Untouchables. All comments on the movie aside (apart from the fact that Andy Garcia is the kick-assest of them all), I'm bringing this up because I was asked, after the movie, how many times I'd seen it.

I honestly could not answer. The best I could do was "Umm... Less than ten? Probably around five." At which point I was met with an incredulous look. Apparently the immediate response was -- with so many movies in the world, why would I ever take time to watch a single one even twice, much less five times?

Shrug. The reason I rewatch movies is the same reason I reread books. Because I take something away from the experience, every time. Maybe I'm an extreme -- I've never counted, but I'm fairly certain that among the books I've reread the most, the movies I've rewatched the most, the number approaches twenty. That's almost once a year for every year I've been alive, and since clearly I wasn't watching R-rated movies or young adult books in my early years, that means I've been doing my re-experiencing an average of two or three times a year, for some books.

People read books in the first place (and watch movies, but let's drop that intro for the moment) for so many reasons. To learn, to experience new worlds, new places, new situations. A book can be an escape, a romance, an adventure, or even just a sugary snack. And rereading, to me, is a chance to gain even more. Why read a book once you already know the ending? Because the experience of reading a book, sinking into the world, spending time with fabulous (made-up) people, is so much more than just the ending. It's comfort food, and it's a chance to discover even more, to see a world through different eyes and different perspectives. (And sometimes, I admit, it's because I've forgotten the ending.)

This year I've decided to spend time rereading several books from my childhood, including Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia, Little House on the Prairie, and Anne of Green Gables, among others. I started with Anne of Green Gables, and right from the beginning it's hard to come up with a reason why I wouldn't want to go back and spend time with incorrigible Anne, prickly Marilla, shy Matthew, and domineering Mrs. Rachel Lynde, and cheeky Gilbert, among others. It's like spending time with some dear old friends -- the experience has that same cold night-warm blanket-hot cocoa feeling.

Anyway, do you reread books? Why? And which of your books has the highest number?