Re-Reading…So I’m Not Alone!

But at heart, I’m a re-reader. The point of reading outward, widely, has always been to find the books I want to re-read and then to re-read them. In part, that’s an admission of defeat, an acknowledgement that no matter how long and how widely I read, I will only ever make my way through a tiny portion of the world’s literature. (The British Museum was a great place to learn that lesson.) And in part, it’s a concession to the limits of my memory. I forget a lot, which makes the pleasure of re-reading all the greater.

So after all of these years of having my wife question my sanity because I can re-read and re-enjoy a book multiple times, I now find another inflicted with the same disease.

I was particularly taken with this statement…

But the real re-reading I mean is the savory re-reading, the books I have to be careful not to re-read too often so I can read them again with pleasure.

“Savory re-reading”, that resonates within me. There are books within my library that are my guilty pleasures, put back in boxes until the need to revisit the worlds between the covers is so intense I have to go treasure hunting in my stash. Some books stay out, on a shelf, on a table, always ready for that instant where their story calls…their voice is needed to reawaken a memory, a dream unrealized…maybe just a feeling left unfelt for a nonce to long.

Part of the fun of re-reading is that you are no longer bothered by the business of finding out what happens.

Knowing the story is not a problem, though often, even the story is half forgotten in the love of the narrative. But the real gem in Verlyn’s musing is this…

The real secret of re-reading is simply this: It is impossible. The characters remain the same, and the words never change, but the reader always does. Pip is always there to be revisited, but you, the reader, are a little like the convict who surprises him in the graveyard — always a stranger.

The change is in me…Ahhh. The simplicity of the thought. The joy of re-reading is not all between the books covers…The real joy is in the discovery of the changes within yourself…

Pull a book off of the your shelf and discover yourself by re-reading the words you read before you were who you are today…

via Editorial Observer – Some Thoughts on the Pleasures of Being a Re-Reader – NYTimes.com.

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