Wednesday, January 20, 2010

[by way of apology]

A big thank you to Maddie and Leilani for sharing their top five rereadable books last week.

Also, a big apology to you both for not responding sooner. All manner of things have conspired this week to wrench me away from the bosom of this blog, but such wrenchful things are almost at an end and I envisage a speedy return.

But also, and I say this in the most friendly, well-meaning way, damn you for undoing the very fabric of my being! Such a delightful, innocuous little question, like a spaniel with its head in your lap, looking up at you with its big doggy eyes, gently wagging its tail for a pat: what are your top five rereads, and can you scratch me under the chin?

After many days staring at my book shelves I can't say! The spaniel is a wolf and is hunting me down! What makes a good reread? How many rereads makes a book eligible for a top five reread list? What about books you've loved, reread and loved again, then reread and no longer love? What about books you were luke-warm about at first then reread numerous times (for study, say) and came to love immensely? What of books you haven't read yet but you're pretty sure will be friends for life? What of them!

And what makes a good book anyway? Why do people even write? Why are we here? Why oh why are we here?

Anyhoo, this is all by way of saying thank you, Maddie and Leils, for your lists and sorry it's taking me so long to do mine and damn you for posing this question!


squib said...

I never feel like rereading something. The only books I remember reading twice are the Chronicles of Narnia

I sometimes wonder whether I would still feel the same about old favourites if I reread them now. In particular, I wonder about Maxim Gorky

And what makes a good book anyway?

I don't know but I always find that the very best books and stories are always flawed. They are never quite 100% perfect but they wouldn't be as good if they were flawless (this makes no sense whatsoever, I know)

Why do people even write?

Good question. Let me know when you have the answer

Why are we here? Why oh why are we here?


Mad Cat Lady said...

is it the first chapter of "me talk pretty" where the speech therapist is trying to get him to say words properly and he is searching through dictionaries for words that mean the same thing but without the troublesome letters - it is AWESOME - it had never occurred to me before then. I was sent tolasin speech therapy for my 's's but at the time i thought it was just because my sisters had gone before me and just to make me sound better, not that there was any problems with what i already spoke - i cane myself for a missed opportunity since that chapter :)

Kettle said...

The more I think about this, Squib, the more I realise I rarely reread books either; it sounds like you came to this realisation some time ago. Given this, do you hold onto your books? And if so, why is that?

And of course, now you must give us some examples of perfectly flawed books and stories (if you need to restart your blog to expand on this, that's fine).

I'm beginning to think great reading experiences are like crushes: lovely at the time but best left all rosy in our imaginations. There's nothing worse than meeting up years later with a former favourite book and realising it's got nose hair and bunions.

Perhaps Gorky would have been happier if he knew the answer was 42?

And what a brilliant idea, MCL! Just avoid the words you can't say and save on the speech therapy bills. Come to think of it, I never say "chameleon" outloud for this very reason.

squib said...

I hold on to my books because they are like very dear old friends. In fact, they are infinitely better than very dear old friends

Hah! Nice try

Leilani said...

Yes, it is too difficult. But over the last 12 months I have been rereading a few favourites and those listed are the ones that hold up.
I only reread them because I relaised that although they were scroched in my memory as favourites - that I didn't actually own a copy. So with the slew of book vouchers I had been given for my birthday/Christmas - I went out and bought them. Then read them again. Very satisfying.

Good on you for trying anyway.

words, wine, coffee, art said...

Hi Kettle, as I have been internet-less lately, here is my belated list of five re-readable books:
As it is in Heaven by Niall Williams (an author who deserves to be better known!)
Thornyhold by Mary Stewart (I love the sense of place and touch of magic)
Facing the Music by Andrea Goldsmith (and her latest too, The Reunion)
The Other Side of You by Sally Vickers
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion (a beautiful memoir of bereavement)