Monday, November 28, 2011

Books read in Chincoteague (5 of 7): Rereadings

nother weakness: anything with Anne Fadiman's name attached to it. Rereadings is a collection of book reviews that Fadiman ran whilst at The American Scholar literary quarterly. Each review is a rereading of a book the reviewer (usually a writer themselves) had read long in their past. As Fadiman points out, each is more of a mini-memoir than a review of the book itself. Since I seem to currently be into memoirs and essays, this suited me just fine, plus the entire book is making recommendations for further reading! As if I needed more to read!

The eventual conclusion that each review comes to is: Everything Changes but the Past remains the same. The reviewers largely find themselves rereading with more perspective and experience, but remember their old selves, motivations and weaknesses (their ignorance and their bliss) vividly through association with the text. It makes me incredibly happy to hear others talking about their love of books, and how a life of reading has bolstered a life of writing. These aren't great literary accomplishments, these reviews, but they are familiar, as if hearing a friend tell you a long story after dinner in order to make the point: you might like the book, too.
stack, books, bought, sundial, to-read
"It never occured to me that the need to catalog the stuff of everyday life might be a sign that the authors I loved were loners and misfits. Normal people, after all, don't stand around at garden parties or lie in bed with their loved ones trying to figure out what even the smallest ordinary gesture means."

-David Samuels, Marginal Notes on the Inner Lives of People with Cluttered Apartments in the East Seventies, a rereading of J.D. Salinger's Franny and Zooey.


Evidence of the superfluity of books in my life: this wee pile was acquired whilst in Sundial Books, currently the best little bookshop in Chincoteague.

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