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.)