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Symbeline's avatar

When you read a book for the second time, do you imagine it the same as when you first read it?

Asked by Symbeline (30528 points ) December 2nd, 2012

Well, that’s pretty much all the explanation that I really need to give out…some slight elaboration, either way.

Book readers, you all know how, when reading a story, it all happens in your mind as you read. You can imagine what everything is like, and sounds like, based on what is described and all that. But when you read a book for the second time, do you imagine it the same as when you first read it? Or is it different? What causes it to either be different, or the same? I read a lot of books more than once, so I thought this would be easy to answer, but frankly, I’ve never really thought about this before. While in many books, certain parts stand out and I remember them quite well, I’m not entirely sure if it’s the same the next time around. I think it is, more or less…I don’t mean how one approaches the book again, and understanding stuff you may have missed the first time. Just how you imagine everything in your head. I’m thinking that as time goes on, probably a lot of factors make it so that the book does change in your head, even if only a little? Anything to share?

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16 Answers

AshLeigh's avatar

A lot of the scenes stay the same. Sometimes there will be a slight change, because I know what’s coming, or because I didn’t catch something the first time around.
Though its very common that some scenes are completely different.

prasad's avatar

I generally read books once. For example, I have read “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien. I loved the story, but I am afraid to read it again and ruin what I have taken in. But then, I could have have missed some details, and if I want to know the details, I would consider to give it second read.

Considering academic books, re-reading helps me remember and strengthen the learnings. Also, I have experienced I understand some of things better now than before. Probably something to do with increased maturity with age?!

I find re-reading especially helpful, for example, to gather information chronically (e.g. events occurred during Industrial Revolution, history of Industrial Engineering, etc.). It helps me engrave the timeline more firmly into my memory.

filmfann's avatar

The first read is special, but the second can bring out how marvelously well thought out it was.
The Harry Potter books are a good example of this. I have read them all probably a dozen times.

psyonicpanda's avatar

I usually need to read books a second time, because the first time I get excited and might miss little details in the story that bring it all together. Or sometimes when I read good books like ”The Jackel of Nar” by John Marco the book is so dang long Its almost mandatory that it has a second read.

ucme's avatar

I just look at the pikchers me…....mostly.

flutherother's avatar

It is the same for me except with a second reading I imagine the scenes in greater detail.

fremen_warrior's avatar

The only book I tend to re-read is Dune, and each time I do I will have read another book from the series for the first time, so it is always a new experience, seeing what happens in a different context of things that surround the events in time and space. I definitely view differently the motivations of certain characters. The way I imagine the main story to play out as I read it remains mostly the same (the mental representations of what is going on don’t seem to change).

PeppermintBiscuit's avatar

It depends on the book. Some books are so straight-forward that it’s hard to consider them any differently on a second reading.
A great book for re-reading is Pride and Prejudice. The first time I read it, I agreed with the father’s point of view. The second time, I gave more consideration to the mother’s. This book is so amazingly written that every time it’s read, you can read it from somebody else’s viewpoint.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Mostly the same, but the second time around seems more detailed, does that make sense?!

wundayatta's avatar

I never read a book again. I haven’t done so since I was a teen. No. Not quite true. I think I read a book again a decade or so ago. I can’t remember what I thought of it. Not sure what it was, either. I don’t read books any more. I don’t have the patience any more. My brain has changed since I got sick and found Q&A sites. I wish I knew what that meant.

Joker94's avatar

Certain aspects of it change, I would say. I think immediately of the Harry Potter series, which I had read pretty much all of by the time the fifth movie came out. Upon rereading them, I found a lot of my mental images of the characters had been altered in some way to reflect their movie counterparts, which kind of saddened me, somehow…I still imagined Dumbledore way differently, however.

tranquilsea's avatar

They are always the same. The only exception are books I read as a young teenager that I didn’t have the life experience to fully understand.

Symbeline's avatar

@Joker94 Yeah, I get that…I love Dracula, but I saw the Francis Ford movie before I ever read the book. So unless it’s stated otherwise in the book, I always imagine Mina wearing a green dress.

Which is also why I’m glad I read all the Potter books and have never seen any of the movies…

AshLeigh's avatar

I have read the book “I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER” by Dan Wells 18 times.
It’s my favorite book, and the scenes have only changed slightly over time.

Pandaroux's avatar

I sometimes miss little details the first time around, so when I read things again, some things might change. Usually, though, once my mind has decided what something looks like, I find it difficult to change the image, even if it turns out to be wrong. For example, in the Harry Potter series, I picture the Great Hall being on the wrong side of the castle because that is the way I first imagined it. I still imagine it that way, even knowing that it should be on the other side.

AshLeigh's avatar

PS: I hate when I’m reading a book, I have a picture in my head about how the character looks, then it says they look different halfway through the book… >:|

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