Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Revisiting Old Friends

Lately I've been fantasizing about re-reading some of my favorite books. That probably sounds strange to you. You might just say, "Heck, Sally. Just re-read the darned things. What's the problem?" Well, the problem is I get this weird guilt thing whenever I find myself reading something that's NOT a new or forthcoming book. Bad enough that I might read an old book (and when I say old I mean more than a year), but heaven forbid I take my precious reading time to read something that I've already read!

And for those of you who fantasize about owning a bookstore some day so that you can sit around and read all day, especially on the dark rainy days, I hate to rain on your parade but that just doesn't happen. In fact, I can't remember the last time I read a book at the store. I read plenty o' books, and I buy even more, but reading for me happens when I'm not at the store. It seems there's always receiving, and shelving, and ordering, and newsletters, and blogs, and Facebooking, and videos, and events, and -- the most fun and most important of them all -- interacting with the people who coming into the store or call, helping them to find just the right books for themselves or as gifts. But reading? Nada.

Maybe I should designate an hour each day -- sort of like mandatory nap time in kindergarten -- that I commit to reading, and the only thing I allow to interrupt my reading are the customers (and pray for lots of interruptions!). Hmmmm. That's a thought.

So as long as I'm fantasizing, what books would I re-read??? Off the top of my head, I'd start with two of my favorite memoirs, The Tender Bar (JR Moehringer) and Catfish and Mandela (Andrew X Pham). Then I'd hit a kid's classic, The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster and illustrated by Jules Feiffer (who just came out with their second book together, The Odious Ogre, after almost 50 years!). Let's see, then a couple of novels....I think I'd start with The Highest Tide, by Jim Lynch, then To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. I think that might hold me over for a little while. I know I'm overlooking a bunch, but these are what my brain came up with off the cuff. (Do brains have cuffs?)

What about you? What books from your past are you dying to re-read? Do you re-read books on a regular basis? Never? Occasionally? One of the industry publications I read, Shelf Awareness, regularly publishes interviews with authors in which they ask the question, "What book would you most want to read again for the first time?" I love that question! I'm so envious when I sell people a copy of The Highest Tide, because I know how great that experience is likely to be for them, and I can never capture that exact experience again.


  1. I reread Lord of the Rings last year. That was delightful. Now I'm rereading Pema Chodron's book The Places that Scare You--always an inspiration. But gosh, like you, I have a stack of books by my bed that I haven't read yet for the first time. And now, based on your post, I'm going to have to buy The Highest Tide to add to the pile!

  2. The Highest Tide - one of my favorites - but I really enjoyed this recent book too!


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