Read to reread

2021-12-27 @Literature

If you’re even half as much into literature as I, it behooves you to emphasize those books which inspire multiple reads. I refer to those by which you gain something upon each iteration, the kinds sufficiently challenging and far-reaching that you fail to grasp much upon the first encounter, yet feel all the more consumed. I refer to the best bang for the buck.

If some way into the book you sense that not to be the case, that you would not reread it under any conceivable circumstances (that is ‘would not’, not ‘will not’) - something you can likely gauge by intuition - I say, abandon ship. Only so many great books can you read in the remaining lifetime to squander on subpar literature.

Most of those really fantastic books you’ll probably not have the time to pursue the second round, but the idea is to apply the heuristic and consider the mere possibility.

I haven’t come to reread that much throughout my lifetime (compared to, say, the scary amounts of rereading I hear my dad to have done), but the practice has grown on me as my tastes and reading level have matured.

Presently I’m rereading Cortázar’s Rayuela (Hopscotch) - the author’s reading order of the chapters, compared the initial sequential ordering I’ve recently completed. I’ll later cover this phenomenal book in a separate writing.

Some time ago I’ve reread most of Dante’s Divine Comedy - at least the majority, up to several chapters into Paradiso, beyond which the remainder goes way over my head. The Divine Comedy is the kind of work easily facilitating endless amounts of potential reading cycles. Jorge Luis Borges has much to say on the topic.

Beyond a handful of longer books I recall having reread - 100 años de soledad, Master and Margarita, Catch 22, Frank Herbert’s Dune, some of Strugatski’s work (this kind of sci-fi deserves accolade for inciting reread value, for a genre which has otherwise stopped challenging me), I guess it’s a practice I’ve far more employed with shorter works: Shakespeare’s plays, Victorian/Romantic/Baroque/Renaissance poetry, as well as Poe’s, Borges' and Cortázar’s short stories, as these kinds of writers you can reread as much as you can rewatch Blade Runner.

And concerning poetry, it’s the kind of encoded format designed to be reread and redigested.

For the record, my book recommendations depository emphasizes specifically the type of literature (prose, drama, longer poetry) worth rereading.

I love literature: to read, to talk about, to write about, and ultimately to reread.

Questions, comments? Connect.