An idea for you to consider.
First, a bit of context.
As some readers of MillersTime may have noticed, I’ve been thinking about what I read, how I read it, and also about rereading.
Recently I spent a wonderful two hours at a Politics & Prose Bookstore discussion with the Washington Post‘s long time book reviewer Michael Dirda about “How to Read a Book”. Perhaps I will write more about that session and insights gained at a later date, but when I asked Dirda about rereading, he said, “Rereading is the best kind of reading.” He mentioned Nabokov’s view that “one cannot read a book: one can only reread it. A good reader, a major reader, an active and creative reader is a rereader.” (See my earlier post, Do You Reread?)
Dirda said, “The second time reading a book, it’s no longer the narrative, you know what’s coming, and it (the book) becomes more like poetry.”
That led me to Patricia Meyer Spacks’ book, On Rereading, and thus an idea this morning that I ask you to consider.
Sometime in the coming Fall (2013), I’d like to have an evening at the Millers with folks who are willing to participate in the following experiment:
Choose two books to reread from your past – one from the broad time between when you first began to read and when you were about 21, finished college, etc. and one from after that time until now.
No restrictions on what kind of books you choose, fiction, nonfiction, children’s books, fantasy, science fiction, etc. The only ‘requirement’ is that both books should be ones that were important to you, ones that brought you pleasure, ones that for whatever reason delighted you and you remember being entranced. Your choices do not have to be books ‘of substance’, ones that are considered classic, major works, etc. They simply need to be books that fascinated and delighted you at the time. If you have already reread them, then consider rereading them once again.
If there is interest in this idea and folks willing to join in, I’ll set a date, far enough in the future to give us time to choose and to reread (tho not so far that those of us with ‘compromised memories’ will be too challenged). Then we can gather and exchange our rereading experiences.
If you do not live in DC, I’d like to find a way for you to join in also. Perhaps one of the ‘younger’ readers of MillersTime can help me figure a way to include readers from outside the Beltway. Whether we do that through written exchanges or something more innovative, we’ll decide once I know if there is interest from people in other parts of the country.
Perhaps I’ll also list a few questions for all of us to consider as we reread or ones to consider prior to gathering together.
Let me know if any of this has interest for you, and if you have any suggestions on how we might proceed, send along those thoughts too.
Hugh Riddleberger said:
Love the idea, Richard. As a challenged reader, whose definition is learning disabled and slow-reader, my experiences reading when I was young were not pleasant. Drudgery best defines my school years, trying to keep up with the reading assignments from school made me dislike the task. Thus, I know there are plenty of good books or great books that I read but did not really read.
As I am an out of town participant and because I am slow, I appreciate the time to browse the library shelves to remember books from the past and then reread some. Consider a conference call-in, you just need a good speaker system, and perhaps someone can bring the device to your table as good conference phones make all the difference for us out of town folks. And, I am happy to provide the conference call service. It is one I pay for as I find the free ones are inferior. And happy to have anyone use it for that call-in
Jackie Reed said:
Land Wayland said:
Absolutely count both of us in. If we can be of any help in putting this together, include us in the planning. If you receive the response I expect, you are going have to schedule the gathering for 6th and I.
Judy White said:
I’d do it on a conference call. I’m already scanning my memory for those first special books. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn came to mind already.
Fruzsina Harsanyi said:
I never, ever re-read. I barely have time to keep up with new books. BUT, I just finished re-reading The Great Gatsby. I wanted to read it again before seeing the movie. OMG. It was wasted on my high school sensibilities although I had a phenomenal English teacher. Now I could go beyond plot and dwell on sentences and phrases that take my breath away.
Yes, count me in. The Forsythe Saga was my favorite in high school.