Sunday, July 4, 2021

Rereading and weeding

In my last post, I talked about whittling the to-be-read pile of books. This weekend I've been dealing with the already-read books.

Because I reread books, I keep them for a long time. This has resulted in a collection of a few hundred. And over time, I've noticed that some old favorites have dropped out of my rereading habit. Maybe I've read them enough. Maybe my view of them has changed. Maybe I'm in a phase of life where I need something different from books than I used to.

So I've been letting go of some books that I once cherished. They have been succeeded by newer favorites. I once thought a favorite book would be a favorite for life--and for some books that's been true, at least as far as midlife. But for others, not so much.

A book doesn't have to be a favorite for me to want to reread it. I also own some books that I've read once and want to read again, but I think one or two more reads will do it for me. Then I'll want to let them go. 

For most books, my favorite reading pass is the second one. The book is still fresh enough to delight--and even to surprise with the things I've forgotten--but familiar enough that I have less anxiety over how the plot will go, and I can notice all sorts of details I might've missed before. These include foreshadowing, symbolism, and the fates and concerns of secondary characters. 

Happy reading. Or rereading, as the case may be.

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