The second time around
Unlike Robin and Molly, I'm not much of a rereader. Too many books, too little time. It's an occupational hazard. I don't want to spend precious reading time on stuff I've already read.
So I'm not sure why I picked up Rereadings, a volume of essays edited by Anne Fadiman, that explores what happens when we revisit books we loved in our younger days. The essayists discuss works and authors as varied as Rimbaud, the Sue Barton nurse series books, and the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover. As you might imagine, some found their old favorites a bit thin while others discovered ideas that sailed right over their heads the first time around--for better or for worse.
Not every essay resonates. Some I just skimmed for lack of any personal reference points, not having been enamored of D.H. Lawrence in my youth. But you don't have to have read Pride and Prejudice to nod along with Allegra Goodman when she writes:
"I think unfolding is what rereading is all about. Like pleated fabric, the text reveals different parts of its pattern at different times. And yet every time the text unfolds, in the library, or in bed, or upon the grass, the reader adds new wrinkles. Memory and experience press themselves into each reading so that each encounter informs the next."
Obvious, maybe, but well said. Guess I should dust off my copy of Little Women and see what wrinkles I can add to it now.