"Nothing demonstrates how personal reading is more clearly than rereading does."
--Wendy Lesser, NOTHING REMAINS THE SAME: REREADING AND REMEMBERING.
Lesser, editor of a long-running literary journal, revisits books that have been important to her over the years.
I was so happy to find this book. I'd heard about it back when it was first published but never actually grabbed a copy. It has come to mind on several occasions since. For some reason, I never followed through on the urge to read it. Thank goodness for Amazon's 1-click feature (so good, it's bad!) and the human weakness for instant gratification.
Lesser offers great insight into how, through the books we reread, we rediscover ourselves. Or, rather, get a glimpse at our multiple selves. She points out how aspects of a book that we skimmed over at twenty might hit us right between the eyes at forty. And how memory and life experience can exert opposing pressures, so stories that comforted us at ten might unnerve our adult selves, dark connotations and troubling symbolism emerging out of the friendly scenes of our old favorites.
But wait... The opposite is also true. Rereading can also act as a time machine that grants access to younger selves, to the very moment (along with a full "sense" track of sounds, smells, emotions) we first read LITTLE WOMEN or THE SECRET GARDEN.
I think what I love most about this book is the license it gives readers to step back from our towering to-be-read piles and revisit books we've already known and loved. It underscores that, whatever the marketing world would like us to believe, a book is not just another product, to be consumed and forgotten.