One of the things you've got to admire about the English language is the way tightly related terms can have nuances that are fundamentally opposed.
For example, take "childlike" and "childish." (Okay, after a solid ten seconds of thought those were the only two that occurred to me; but, since they are what I thought of before I started this post, they'll do just fine.)
"Childlike" seems to have connotations of wonderment, innocence, and originality.
"Childish" reads as fussy, unable to cope with simple realities, and an unwillingness to adapt.
Both of them probably apply to writers.
Most small children I've known love to hear the same story over and over. Many of them can detect even the slightest deviation from the sacred text. And some of them seem to get more out of it each time, as if knowing what comes next enhances the intensity of the peak emotional moments, be they funny or tragic.
That's me. There are books I read again and again, and movies or stage productions that I'll immerse myself in until any sane person would wonder if I didn't have a serious problem. It's as well that I don't live in London or New York, as some long-running stage production would push me into destitution far quicker than an addiction to crack. Books at least have the advantage of being cheap and taking up huge spans of time, in which you are prevented from pursuing other addictive behaviors. I've read Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin novels, all 20 of them, three times through, and some of them more often. Let's not even discuss how many times I've read Tolkein's trilogy. Or Gatsby. Or The Sun Also Rises. Or Zelazny's Lord of Light. Or the usual suspects, like Pride and Prejudice. And the number of standalones I've read three and four times is embarrasing, if only because it indicates how many new books I'm not reading.
I like to think of it as "childlike" rather than "childish," but sometimes I wonder. I always assumed most writers had this habit, but lately I've met some who seldom re-read. I even know one who is a voracious reader but has almost no books in her house; she reads them and then sells them or gives them away, as she doesn't read books twice. (I don't think she's ever seen a movie twice, either.)
Tim Stretton refers to the books we revisit as "comfort books," and I see what he means. True, each time I revisit them, I come away with something new--either a deeper understanding of their genius, or a greater awareness of their failings (and many of the my favorite books have their failings, which should give hope to those of us who are flawed). But when I stop and consider rereading objectively, it strikes me as odd. With all those other books waiting to be read for the first time, why do I do it?