13 March 2011

Coming Back for More

I have not been in the habit of re-reading books -- outside of books assigned for college courses, the only books I have re-read have been written by Kurt Vonnegut. I read Breakfast of Champions twice in high school, and I just recently finished A Man Without a Country for the second time. Much to my surprise, I found that I enjoyed it even more this time around than I did on the first read-through. This has convinced me that I need to give more than a few of my books a second reading.

If you are a bibliophile enraged at my ignorance, I must ask you to kindly put down that revolver before you do something you will regret later. Hindsight has made it quite clear to me that my erstwhile reading habits sprang from precisely the wrong attitude. Literature is art, and a work of art is not a merit badge to be earned and promptly forgotten. This is a long-standing  objection I have had to the "1001 Maguffins you must Kerfuffle before you Die" series of books -- to experience something merely for the sake of experiencing it cheapens its value, and dimishes whatever reward you might hope to get out of it. It was only recently that I realized that I was falling prey to the same attitude.

You may be wondering why I haven't read the majority of my  books more than once, especially considering that I have watched the same movies multiple times, have listened to the same albums over and over again and have played through many games more times than I care to remember. To be perfectly honest, I have no real answer -- it just never felt necessary to read a book over again. That reading a book -- especially a sizeable novel -- necessitates a considerable investment in time might have been part of the problem, but that really isn't an excuse. The time it takes to experience a work of art really hasn't much bearing on what I get out of it. This is especially true given that I have kept the majority of the books I have enjoyed.

Perhaps it's time to revisit the old favorites after all.


  1. Reading books or text all over again again has its own advantages and its quite like re mincing old memories.

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