Rewind, Re-read

July 8, 2008


I don’t read many books. It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s just that I don’t have a ton of time and, sadly, reading for any length of time actually makes me fall asleep. Instead, for years now, I’ve developed this habit of re-reading books. Or at least the ones that “spoke” to me in some way.

Eventhough I buy books, I may not keep them. I tend to loan them out – or give them away. Very few end up on my bookshelves for any sort of permanent home. If you were to look at my bookshelves you’d find the most random assortment of books that range anywhere from the self-help variety to great fiction to AP styleguides to interesting business-oriented biographies and a few jewish references sprinkled in here and there.

There is one book that has sat on my bath tub shelf for months now. The pages are torn, wrinkled from getting wet then getting dry, dog-eared from trying to mark where I was or where I wanted to return to and some are even written on. I’ve read this book probably 37 times.

At first I read it because it was popular. Then I read it because I just really liked her writing style. Then I read it again because every now and then there was a phrase that stuck with me and made me think a little harder. And that’s why I’ve come back to it time and time again. Sometimes I need something to push me thinking past the limits of thinking.

Here was the phrase (para-phrased): You cannot see your reflection in running water. The water must be still.

Simple, yes? The ancients usually are.

Still. I love the idea of that. Silence. Quiet. This was brought up in a discussion about meditation – or more appropriately, how difficult it is to really quiet the mind in meditation which, really? I could never do right now. I have great respect for those that can – but I’m fairly certain my mind will never allow itself to be quiet or still. And I’d bet good, scarce money right now my kids wouldn’t allow that in these four walls even if I threatened them with destroying the last popsicle on the planet.

When I’m alone in the house, or when all kids are asleep and Husband is working late, I never turn on the TV. There is no radio. I even type quietly if I choose to write (like now). This silence is so precious. I never understood how people could go to Starbucks to write – or even study. Why would you introduce all that noise into your head when it’s so hard to get it out in the first place?

This is a most pointless post, but I’ve had something of a writer’s block lately and thought this might do the trick. Hair of the dog, right?

So tell me – what books do you re-read? And why?

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3 Responses to “Rewind, Re-read”

  1. bill Says:

    I reread The Wanting of Levine a lot. Its a novel, but I really liked its insights into politics. They did, and still do, make sense. I also reread the Aubrey/Maturin novels, the Vorkosigan novels, and several Star Trek novels, just because I liked them.

  2. mp Says:

    That is one thing I’ve never really done. I don’t re-read books. If I do I tend to skip over things and the re-read is a waste of time for me.

  3. Laurie Says:

    I read – a lot! I will have the t.v. on and still sit and read (I have no idea why), but because I read a lot, I read fast – so I too re-read because I can’t remember what happened in some books and also, I like to go and visit with “old friends” – books I’ve read before. I know, lame.