This year I am nostalgic.
Okay, most years I am a bit nostalgic. But this is the year I turned 30. My boyfriend moved in. We are fully settled in our careers and the future looks a lot more like house work and zero free time then carefree vacations and summer’s reading by the lake.
That’s fine. I’m really happy. I just find myself thinking back to books of times past. The books I read in the heat of summer when I was savoring in the break between spring and fall semester, the books I read in fall that inspired me. The winter tomes I somehow spent hours reading with nothing but homework to break my concentration.
More than anything I find myself nostalgic for the books I read when I was very young. Middle school and high school me was both a pretentious reader and a ravenous reader. However, younger me was also not afraid of a reread. When I found a book I loved I ate it up. I did it again. I read it over until the spine was cracked and pages were falling out. Then I would read it again.
My first favorite author was Tracy Chevalier. A waitress at my family’s favorite restaurant gave me a copy of Girl with a Pearl Earring and I devoured it. My parents took me to WaldenBooks (watch me date myself) and buy EVERYTHING else she had written. To that point it was just 2 books. I read them with the same all consuming passion. I learned about different times. It was my first experience with historical fiction, with fiction set in a truly different place
Throughout the rest of middle school and high school I continued to return to these stories. Of course I bought new books as well. I found a new temporary favorites and read everything required for my English classes. I just occasionally needed the reassuring settings of these books I first learned to love.
I did a similar thing with Harry Potter. Last year was the first time I didn’t read the complete series in well over a decade. My summers used to consist of reading through, at first all of the books that had been published, and then reading the entire series and discussing with friends.
I always counted these books to my yearly reading goal. I still do. I know there is a debate on this front. I’m not truly reading something new. However I get something different out of a book each time I read it.
This is why I find it so difficult to participate in a book community that seems to care exclusively about the new, the fresh, the unknown. Sometime in college, the first time I started blogging about books I did the same. But now I want to count my rereads. I want to enjoy what I am reading. I want to acknowledge the stories I loved as a teen. I want to spend my precious reading time in a way that is best for me.
This year I reread Pride and Prejudice and loved every second of it. I revisited the Raven Cycle so I could spend more time in Cabeswater with the Latin speaking trees. I have no regrets about these reads. I could them towards my yearly goal because I did in fact read them. They did actually mean something. I was still learning.
What are your thoughts on rereads? Do you have a few novels you like to revisit every few years?