I've never understood the need to watch a film more than once. People who own movies confound me. There's only so much time we are given in life, shouldn't we use it to learn/experience something new? I've also felt the same way about books. Or at least I used to. In fact, before this summer, I think the only book I had ever read twice was Anna Karenina.
I've had a hard time starting and finishing books over the past year or so. My mind wanders. Or I'm not interested in the characters and their mundane problems. Or there's not enough sex. Or there's too much plot. Or I'm half way through and can already see the end, and it's either happily ever after or a train wreck so there's no sense in going on.
This summer, in order to stave off the fear that I will never finish another book, I decided to abandon any possibility of a new novel, and revisit some of my favorites. Ones I know I actually finished once upon a time, and enjoyed. Ones I know fundamentally changed the way I saw the world and/or my place in it. I wanted to read the books I read when I was 11 or 23.
The first book I picked up was The Hobbit. It was fun. And funny. I had forgotten, in all of the Lord of the Rings-movie-big-battle-hype, how funny and sweet Tolkien was in that first little adventure. I fell in love with Bilbo Baggins all over again.
The next book I picked up (and just finished this morning) was Jitterbug Perfume. If you are a Tom Robbins fan, you'll know why. What I remember, from being in my early 20's, was that Jitterbug Perfume fundamentally awakened in me something I already knew. It was like Tom Robbins took what was already in my heart and soul, and put it on paper. Jitterbug Perfume values mythology over reality, the magical over the mundane, and manages to bring together history, metaphor, religion, politics, philosophy, sex, immortality, and, yes, dancing and perfume into one big gigantic soup of individual liberty and otherworldly/othertimely possibilities. Anyone who doesn't like this book is really not eligible to be my friend.
Next up on the list: The Dark is Rising Series by Susan Cooper. I read them when I was in 6th grade. I can't wait to read them again and find out why I loved them so much.
What books did you love when you were 11?
What books did you love when you were 23?
Tell me this, and I will know who you are.