Currently, I am reading Pride and Prejudice for my English Literature class this semester. I read this last semester when I took a Jane Austen class, where we read all six major novels of Austen. I am enjoying the experience of re-reading, especially having a different context for the novel (before, I read it in the context of her other novels; now, I am reading it in the context of other British literature from 1700-1900). I am catching things that I didn’t before, and my opinions of characters are different this time through.
Thinking about re-reading, I have thought back on some books that, when I read them, didn’t seem to impact me, but as I have reflected, they have begun to grip my mind. Two books have been resurfacing in my thoughts:
Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
Dubliners by James Joyce
Every time I think about these books, or look through passages I underlined, or talk to someone who has read these, I am further convinced of their greatness; and I further realize how much these books have affected me; and I remember images painted by the words that have stuck in my mind.
This is only shows that I need to re-read these books.
Here are some words from my favorite C.S. Lewis book, An Experiment in Criticism, a work that has affected me more so than almost any other book:
Certainly, as soon as they can read for themselves, the two groups are already divided. There are those who read only when there is nothing better to do, gobble up each story to ‘find out what happened’, and seldom go back to it; and others who reread and are profoundly moved. (p. 13; emphasis mine)