It has been a weird summer for me. I’ve been busy almost every weekend, there have been wedding and baby showers galore, and I’m currently transitioning out of one job and into another. The whole season has left me feeling exhausted. As with most times when my life gets crazy, I’ve taken up rereading as a form of self care. My brain cannot seem to contain new stories. So, I’ve been visiting some of my favorite heroes and heroines and reacquainting myself with their HEAs.
I may not be able to fathom getting new stories in my eyeballs during the times I turn to rereading for self-care purposes but I’m not one to reread an entire series straight through as I did the first time, either. I’ve been there and done that. So, I usually employ the following strategies for ensuring that I take something new away from my favorite comfort reads.
Rereading the Series Out of Order
When rereading I often don’t go into the situation meaning to reread the bulk of a series. I simply start a comfort read and then pick up the thread of a character or scene that grabs my attention. I give myself permission to read a series out of order and follow the journey where it takes me. Being a rule follower, I would never do this on the first go round of reading a new-to-me-series. Self-care for me demands time to break from the rules society and I place on myself, though. Thus, I follow the thread of whatever sparks my interest.
This summer when I turned to Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series and Wild Embrace as my self-care book of choice, I was intrigued by Drew’s portrayal in Felix and Dezi’s story, Partners in Persuasion. When I read the story before, I hadn’t really picked up on the fact that Felix and Drew were close friends. So, I went back and read Drew and Indigo’s book, Play of Passion, to explore more. From there I dove into books closely connected with Drew.
Each time that I chose to follow the thread and read the series out of order I learned something new about my favorite characters. My understanding of the characters and their motivations deepened.
Don’t Be Afraid To Skip A Book
In a series that has more than five or six books, there is bound to be one book that doesn’t work for me. Even my very favorite series, there are books that don’t resonate at all or very strongly with me. When rereading, I skip those books guilt-free. No need to force the issue and try to glean new meaning for a book that will just cause more strife. I just simply don’t pick up the thread to that book and I leave it on the proverbial shelf.
Try an Audiobook
I adored reading Silver Silence on audiobook last year and I thought it may work to reread a different book of the series via audiobook as well. Did it work? Completely! Rereading by audiobook may be my favorite way to do a deep dive into a character’s journey. I listened to one of Singh’s Psy-Changeling books, Mine to Possess, on audiobook during my latest rereading sprint and I came away from the experience with a deeper appreciation of Clay, Talin, and their bond. Since Clay and Talin don’t appear in many of the other Psy-Changeling books, I listened to Mine to Possess during my commutes while reading other ebooks in the series at other points during the day. More self care equals a happier me: win-win.
Broken Record (aka Rereading Multiple Times)
When in doubt, I tend the read the same story over and over and over again to recapture the good vibes a book throws my way. This strategy works particularly well with short stories or novellas. I may have read Garnet and Kenji’s story four times in a row just because it made me happy. While rereading for self care, I give myself permission to bask in the wonderfulness of a particular couple and take full advantage of the joy a story can give.
Rereading for self care will be different for everyone. I have strategies that work for me, but you may find yourself twitching at the thought of rereading out of order. Or perhaps you know that audiobooks just don’t work for you. If you have any strategies for self-care rereading, share them with me in the comments.