January 02, 2007

Rereading


Right, having posted an absurdly over intellectual post, I just wanted to say that I completely agree with this post from the Katie at the Inky Circle. She says and I think she's right that the most satisfying intellectual experience is rereading old favourites. I have some history books I have always loved (and will no doubt at some point bang on for reams about) which I always turn to, fiction as well- my copy of M R James's Ghost Stories is amazingly well thumbed, I once went round Russia for three weeks reading only it and the Gulag Archipelago- so basically my only comfort reading was James. Part of the fun of such books is you find that every time you go back its a bit like looking at an Esher drawing, you suddenly see different sides of it. The other thing is that my memory often functions like tracing paper, it takes an outline or an impression of something, but rediscovering the texture and taste and feel of a book is a wonder because what remained in my mind from my last reading was a dry pencil outline, whereas the picture I see when I read is filled with garish yellows and fading browns, bright blues and effervescent reds. Maybe I'm just weird, but now that the inky circus has confessed to rereading books under the label of geek chic, I'm going to join them, rereading old stuff is cool. And just as a new year begins, its worth remembering how many of the things that the previous year left behind were really good.

(By the way the books in the photo above aren't the kind I own, I've got tatty paperbacks mostly- those are the kinds of books I fantasize about owning but will only ever see in libraries- it is amazing when you open say an original text from the seventeenth century though and think to yourself, this has been in existance for four hundred years- one of the best things about being a History PhD.)

8 comments:

CityUnslicker said...

and re-reading the match programmes of Leeds United from 5 years ago always cheers me up too!

Gracchi said...

I know the problem is rereading the ones from three years ago in the midst of the Ridsdale melt down- goldfish I ask you.

San Soucri said...

Thanks for your nice comments on my blog...I will send a retort soon regarding Saddam.

But, I want to say you blog as extremely interesting.

As far as re-read books I love doing that so much I feel as though I must put those I love the most away and focus on works I have yet to read.

My favorite reads are as followed.

1. JFK: Reckless Youth
2. Catcher in the Rye
3. Longitudes and Attitudes
4. C-Span Booknotes: Biography
5. Band of Brothers - S. Ambrose

Keep up the great posts and I have put you in my blogroll.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I love posts about books. You are right -rereading is great. Here in Sicily I have reread many books I last read maybe 30 years ago, and the books change because you have changed and also because you are reading them in a different setting. You laugh and cry at the same parts that you did before, but maybe sometimes you are laughing and crying at remembered laughter and tears, or maybe at yourself. That's a great picture, even if they're not your books. [I am incapable of throwing a book out or otherwise disposing of one, by the way - my hands just will not let me!]

Ellee said...

I love re-reading my favourits too, which tend to be the French classics. I would like to re-read my Russian favourites too.

But today, two new books arrived via Amazon, Suite Francise, by Irene Nemirovsky, and The Pursuit of Victory, the Life and Achievement of Horatio Nelson, by Roger Knight, both recommended by bloggers. I have your recommendation to catch up too - if only I had time to read them all!

Happy New Year.

ThunderDragon said...

The only problem I have with re-reading old books is that I keep getting new ones!

And then my books are spread over two places and the book I want always seems to be at the opposite one to me!

james higham said...

You might imagine, Tiberius, that my English language books are quite precious over here. Not so much the classics, which can be bought at any good book store but the Agatha Christies and Conan Doyles and so on. Does that make me a philistine?

Gracchi said...

Oh no James I love Conan Doyle in particular, I have a very well thumbed edition of Sherlock Holmes, with pages falling out, the spine broken by constant rereading.

Sans Soucri- great list, great comments, great blog and you'll be on my blogroll too.

Welshcakes limoncello, I one hundred per cent agree with every word you wrote there- I find that as I've got older all sorts of things have emerged from books I thought I knew really well- a good book is like a good friend you learn and live with it.

Ellee and Thunder Dragon I agree with you entirely- its so hard to keep up with the ammount of good stuff out there- you see books are a bit like blogs- incidentally I see six fantastic bloggers commenting here which rather makes my point!