Tuesday, June 25, 2013

On Rereading

Maybe I do sing to and about my books. Shut up. I'm awesome.
Apologies again for my sporadic posting habits. What is this "life" thing, and why does it always interfere with my reading?

I've been thinking a lot lately about the merits of rereading a book. I haven't been doing too much rereading lately, mostly because I'm trying to cram as much new stuff into my brain so I have books to recommend when folks come into the library asking for newer YA titles. Many of the teens I know have already out-read me in regard to new titles, so I'm consistently running this imaginary book race that I'm always losing. But sometimes, I feel nostalgic for books I've already read. Books, to me, are like memories. We know how our memories will play out but sometimes we just like to bask in the experience.

This is me, running the book race and losing.
 In the last couple of weeks, I've reread two titles - the first, Conspiracies by F. Paul Wilson, and the second, The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood. Both rereads were like revisiting old friends and I enjoyed each book more with a second reading.

I read Conspiracies last year when I went on a Repairman Jack binge. For five straight months, I read nothing but Repairman Jack and the Adversary Cycle. Conspiracies is one of my favorite books in the series and my sci-fi and fantasy book club is reading it for our July pick. This is the third book in the Repairman Jack series, but this is where the story really starts. Jack is hired to find a missing woman who claims he's the only one who can find her. He ends up attending a convention of conspiracy theorists and tangling with dark supernatural forces. I enjoyed reading this book while knowing how the series ends. There's a certain joy in going back and analyzing a characters actions and reactions after knowing the outcome, and spending some time with them before the ravages of fate or fortune. Even though I knew everything that was going to happen, I couldn't put the book down.

Rereading The Year of the Flood was extra awesome. Oryx and Crake, set in the same universe, is one of my favorite books of all time. I love highly plausible end of the world scenarios. I had tried to get my husband to read Oryx and Crake, but he couldn't get into it because of how weird Jimmy/Snowman was. But I really thought that if he could just get past the initial weirdness (and frankly, the creep-tastic weirdness is what I love about the book), he'd love the book as much as I did. On a whim, I picked up The Year of the Flood on CD, so we could listen to it on our road-trip to upstate New York last week. The Year of the Flood and Oryx and Crake are companion books as opposed to first and second in a series, so order doesn't matter when choosing which one to read first. My husband loved it and is now ready for Oryx and Crake. I don't usually like listening to books but this was so much fun, first because I was revisiting a world I loved, and second because I was seeing it with new eyes through my husband. I had so much fun listening to The Year of the Flood that I'm now rereading Oryx and Crake for the fourth time. I'm also having internal fits waiting for MaddAddam to come out this September.

While I'm continuing to read new books like The Last Policeman by Ben Winters and The Man in the Empty Suit by Sean Ferrell, I am very much enjoying this little vacation into already familiar worlds.


  1. The only books I really reread a lot are graphic novels. But then there are the Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy books which I reread all the time. Matter of fact I always have a old beat up copy of the first book in my mailbag. It's my binky blanky.

    I started this year reading a number of prose books but have really slowed down because I can read graphic novels during writing breaks but if I get into a prose but nothing will get done.

    1. Watership Down is my binky. I have two copies - the first edition that never leaves my shelf and the paperback that I read every few years.