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Rereading.

I don't reread often. Publishers are a business, and like most, they're out for cash, not the creation of culture. It's a bit of an unnecessary blanket statement rather than an explanation for not rereading, but still... anyhow, authors are like a disease, and there are more every year, or so it seems to me, and in the statistical numbers there are more than enough books printed each year for me to be constantly in the new.* Truth is, I'll never read everything I want before I die. Thus, rereading always feels like it has come at the cost of a new book, a new author. But despite this, there is a joy in rereading, an ability to linger over words and phrases and find hidden moments and meaning that you missed the first time. Rereading isn't something to be ignored totally, and I guess I ought to remember that at times.

"Nobody came in, nobody called, nothing happened, nobody cared whether I died or went to El Paso."

--Raymond Chandler, the High Window.




* By this, I also mean books published ten or fifteen years ago that I never read. Reprinting is still publishing.

Comments

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ashamel
Feb. 17th, 2005 03:05 am (UTC)
I agree with your reasoning about rereading (if somewhat bemused at the relevance of the note about publishers). But I found the realisation you're never going to finish all the good books is quite liberating. Even if you scramble like mad, it won't satisfy you, so I'm thinking of going back to some old favourites, and see how they stack up.

(Meanwhile, Leviathan IV hasn't shown up yet, which is starting to get a bit odd.)
benpeek
Feb. 17th, 2005 03:20 am (UTC)
i think they're taking time with LEVIATHAN FOUR. friend of mine ordered a copy and it hasn't arrived for him yet, either.

anyhow, yes, the realisation that i won't read all i want before the big D is a bit liberating. and indeed, you know, if i spend time rereading chandler, what's wrong with that? he was a fine writer. it's time well spent.
ashamel
Feb. 17th, 2005 03:39 am (UTC)
Galaxy has had it for a bit, which is what brought it to mind again. But it's not like there's any lack of things to do in the meantime.
girliejones
Feb. 17th, 2005 04:22 am (UTC)
See I don't find that liberating - I actually start to panic. My cousin worked out that she could only read something like 50000 books in her lifetime so she has the same philosophy about not rereading. But some books are like old friends and rereading them is like spending time with someone you've missed. I reread. I'm shameful. Especially since i read slowly and will probably read nowhere near her 50 000.
benpeek
Feb. 17th, 2005 04:35 am (UTC)
i don't reckon there's anything wrong with rereading. i really don't. you should read for pleasure--and pleasure, y'know, is a good thing. who isn't into pleasure?

dunno about counting the numbers of books i could read. that seems a bit futile.
girliejones
Feb. 17th, 2005 06:13 am (UTC)
and depressing
benpeek
Feb. 17th, 2005 06:31 am (UTC)
that too.

i was surprised at the notion that i might only be able to read so many books would be kind of depressing. but there you go.
girliejones
Feb. 17th, 2005 07:12 am (UTC)
Well, yeah, because then it comes down to choice - by choosing A, you might be not choosing Z due to time limits.
ashamel
Feb. 17th, 2005 08:49 pm (UTC)
Not to be pedantic, but if you read one book a day, 50,000 would take you over 136 years.

(Okay, so I am being pedantic :-)
benpeek
Feb. 17th, 2005 10:40 pm (UTC)
what, you don't plan to live that long?
girliejones
Feb. 18th, 2005 01:48 am (UTC)
Well I thought she said 50 000 - I could be misremembering, maybe it was 25 000 - which is worse! Plus she reads faster than me so it always seemed depressing, whatever the number was.
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