On Re-reading

I’ve been re-reading Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird every year for at least the last 15 years as its been my favourite book since I first read it in grade ten English. I know what happens when but my heart still races at the dangerous parts and even more so today, I’m struck by how similar Lee’s story is to what is happening in the world right now. Despite the fact that it’s my favourite, it’s not the only book I re-read at times. I have some books that pop up frequently and then others I’ve gone back to because I remembered really liking them. One recently gave me the idea for this post.

I lent my mom some books to take with her on a recent vacation and one of those was a book by Sarah Winman called When God Was A Rabbit and I recommended it because I remembered loving it. When she returned, she mentioned that she really liked it but that it was sad. I didn’t recall sad so decided I need to revisit it. Like the first time, I found it to be a lovely story but she was right, it is sad at parts – realized this as a I sat weeping one afternoon. I remembered loving it but didn’t remember all the details – it was almost like reading a new book.

From there one evening, I picked up Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan from my bookshelf, a book I read a few years ago. It’s a fascinating autobiography about Cahalan’s frightening experience with anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis. I remembered what happened to her but not all the details and once again, found myself fascinated.

Just before Christmas, I felt like revisiting John Irving and remembered really enjoying Until I Find You. I enjoyed it again a second time because while I remembered the overall gist of it, I didn’t remember all the details and all of the great and interesting characters. It was worth a second read.

I read a ton so I hope it what explains why I don’t remember all the details of all the books I’ve read, even ones I really like but what that means to me is that great books I encountered once, are always worth re-exploring. I would encourage you to take a look at your bookshelf (or your e-book collection) and pull out a book you can remember reading but might not remember everything about. Curl up with a cozy blanket, some tea or cocoa or wine and enjoy. It’s like re-connecting with an old friend.


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