Reflections on Rereading: October
Now that my meds have kicked in, I’m jumping back into blogging by sharing some general thoughts on my first fortnight of rereading. I have to admit that I was in a serious reading slump almost the whole time. :( I don’t think this had anything to do with my decision to only reread. I tend to cycle through reading highs and lows, and my September was very full as far as books go (I read forty-five), so a bit of burnout was to be expected. Not to mention life and health got a bit crazy there. That didn’t make it less frustrating! All in all, I only reread five books: Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, At Bertram’s Hotel by Agatha Christie (a Miss Marple), The Game by Laurie King, and J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Two Towers and The Return of the King. I am theoretically rereading Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh on audio, but I haven’t actually progressed past the second CD (distracted by podcasts at home and haven’t been able to go on my usual walks in the park with Thistle due to silly health issues), so I’m not counting it.
It’s immediately obvious that the Brits dominated, with four of the five, and even American Laurie King’s characters are primarily British. Also, all of the authors are white; this doesn’t surprise me, since my past reading (and thus what I’m drawing on for my rereading pool) was not nearly as diverse as it has been since last year. The genres were slightly more varied: two mysteries, two fantasy, and one classic. But none of these characteristics really result from rereading: they’re instead reflective of my comfort reading. After all, I was going through a slump, so I barely felt like reading at all. There was no way I could convince myself to pick up a book that would challenge me, or possibly have anything unhappy about it. I wanted the familiar and safe and cosy: the book equivalent of sweatpants. And I got it by turning to several of my very favourite authors, most of whom I’ve been reading for over a decade now (Laurie King is the newest; I didn’t start her Mary Russell series until 2006). As always, I noticed new things about each novel as I revisited it, but already having the general lay of the land made for a relaxing time.
I have to admit, this wasn’t how I had planned to spend this first part of my rereading project. And come November, I fully expect to be more adventurous (and diverse) with my choices. But you can’t really force reading, and were it not for having familiar, dependable choices, I probably wouldn’t have read anything at all. I read for many reasons, and part of the magic of books is that there is one for every need. And the magic of rereading is that you already know, from the very first page, that the book is the right one. :)