Whenever I'm studying for an exam, unless it's a book I've been dying to read that gets published during that time frame (like it happened with Lover Mine, when it was published a week before my finals), I generally stay away from new books. The reason is quite easy to understand, actually: I want to take my time reading it without feeling guilty about procrastinating. Plus, I generally don't have much free time on my hands and because I'm weird about my studying (I generally do my best studying at night) I'd rather sleep a few precious hours.
Now on to the weird part of this confession, shall we?
Re-reading a book that I loved, to me, is liberating in a way. For one, I know for a fact that I'll love the book. There hasn't been a book that I loved the first time I read it that I didn't love at a second or third read. So when you think about it, I don't have to worry about not liking a book. Or felling bad that a book has disappointed me (especially if a book was written by one of my favorite authors).
Secondly, while I still focus on the main characters, I can now pay attention to all the little details in the background, the subplots, the hints for future books (if it's in a series), the secondary characters. I can't begin to tell you the amount of stuff I missed when I first read Harry Potter or any other book for that matter. But because I already know what happens, I can sort of stand back and really focus on other details and I'll usually have an "AH-HA!" moment every two, three pages.
There's a third reason for why I love re-reads. While I love discovering new books, new adventures and characters, new worlds and the authors that created them, re-reading a book is really like visiting an old, very dear friend. I know, it sounds strange, but I get this sense of peace that I've never felt while reading a book for the first time. Of course, some of the excitement of finally reading a book that I've been waiting for isn't there at a second read. And there isn't that sense of dread when something somewhat worrisome happens to a character. Unless I'm reading one of Sherrilyn Kenyon's books. Then I always cry like a baby. But I get this "Oh hey, I've been here before" feeling that is amazing for me. Don't get me wrong, this feeling can turn out to be very bad when it's with a book I'm reading for the very first time and I'm anticipating EVERYTHING (don't you just hate that? The fact that a book doesn't surprise you?)
Also, the nerd inside me is adult enough to admit that re-reading is like a time machine. I can't do it in real life, but I can damn well do it with my books.
So this is why I re-read and why I love it. One last thing. Re-reading helps me get out of a reading funk or if I'm having book hangovers. Gets me out of those blue moods every time :D
Oh, and in case you where wondering, I did pass my exam this week *bouncing*