Wednesday, October 15, 2014

rereading... it might just be a good thing

No, I don't have a fixation on Sarah Waters right now, but an online group I belong to is reading her The Little Stranger this month as a Halloween read sort of thing so I'm rereading it.  Coming at it again after years away and with a little more reading experience under my belt is a huge plus -- I'm seeing more this time around than I did earlier.  This whole rereading thing started me thinking about which books I'd really want to pick up again -- so I had to ask myself which ones I'd be most likely to be the most serious about and here's what I came up with:

  • Nabokov - Lolita --  I seriously didn't understand the concept of unreliable narrators when I read this, so I was stupid enough to believe what I was told
  • Camus - The Plague --  I know a little more about the history of Occupied France & the Holocaust now than I did when I first read this book so I probably won't be shaking my head this time around wondering WTF did I just read
  • Mervyn Peake - the complete Gormenghast trilogy --  yeah. Like I fully understood it at the age of 17-- you know, when I was so sure that I was so sophisticated and so intellectually gifted as do all 17 year old girls in their fourth year of  French club
  • E.M. Forster - A Passage to India -- I read this after seeing the movie on television when I was younger and then became upset that the book was so complicated and not like the film
  • Truman Capote - In Cold Blood -- Just to see why people hate it so much. I liked it, so I'm sure I  must have missed something.  
 I'm sure there are more, but those came straight from the top of my head.


  1. I can't wait to read The Paying Guests.

    I, too, ponder what I read when I was a teenager and if I should reread any of those classics. I read a lot of muckraking books, such as Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, and then socially conscious books by John Steinbeck and Theodore Dreiser. (What, no women there? I didn't know of any then, just British women mystery writers.) I
    wonder if I should reread any of them, and I know I would get more out of them now --although the writing and issues brought out raised my consciousness of many issues, as the Depression, the meat industry (I became a vegetarian for awhile after reading The Jungle), immigrant labor, etc. I didn't read any books about WWII or that were lofty philosophical works.
    I'd like to read Passage to India, reminded by your list.

  2. A few years back, my book group read Catcher in the Rye. It's a book I periodically reread and get something different from each time (much like The Crying of Lot 49). Anyway, it's book group day, and we start discussing the book, and one of the women said "what book are you all discussing?" She hadn't read it in many years and assumed that since she'd read it in her teenhood, she didn't have to read it again for the meeting. It was a huge eye opener for me.

  3. Kathy, I keep forgetting to put The Paying Guests in the mail for you. This week I promise!!

  4. Thank you, Nancy. I've passed on your rave reviews to a few reader friends, one of whom adores Sarah Waters' books and was just about to dig into this one.

    I have a feeling I'll have to turn off the phone and unplug the computer, stock up on tea and snacks and just read. I can't wait.

    Rereading Catcher in the Rye, now that's a puzzler to me. I read it as a teen, as many of us of a certain age did, but it didn't leave an impression on me. After all, I was reading Steinbeck, Maugham and even Zola (my mother liked Nana) and I wasn't too fond of books about people my age. Also, I discovered mysteries, and I was smitten. Is it worth rereading? There is so much else to read. And I'm worrying because I haven't read any books by Tolstoy or Dostoeyevski!

    1. When I got my copy of Paying Guests in the mail, I started it right away and nothing except coffee brewing got done.

      Catcher in the Rye - it was always a favorite but it doesn't appeal to everyone.


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