Sunday, 3 July 2011

Tony's Month of Rereading

The other day, as I was idly flicking scrolling through my reading list (yes, it exists - it's on Excel, and it's growing longer by the day...), I happened to notice that my reading had slipped into a worrying pattern of late, with the last few months showing an alarming lack of books read for the second time (or more).  I decided to investigate this phenomenon further and instigated a thorough audit of my list for rereads - with a disturbing outcome.  Where in 2009 (from 93 books read) 34 books were rereads, and in 2010 (from 91 books) 22 were old friends, the result for the first half of 2011, from an impressive 67 books, was just... 6 :(

While some of you may be starting to wonder what the point of this post is - and others may be applauding my turn towards unfamiliar fiction -, there is a method in my madness.  You see, as I took up my usual, nay habitual, stance in front of my bookcases to muse upon this issue, noticing the many hundred paperbacks arrayed in front of me, a novel, and quite unpleasant, thought occurred to me...

If I'm only going to read new books, and have no intention of giving them a second go, then what is the point of my buying any books at all?!
A scary thought, and one I dismissed rather rapidly; however, it did make me think that I had been neglecting my old friends in favour of new and shinier ones - all of which brings me to the point of this post (and yes, there is one)...

Welcome to Tony's Reading List's Rereading July :)

That's right - I have decided that for the following month, it's in with the old and out with the new, a hello to familiar friends while new books are ignored, shunned and left to gather dust in the corner.  There are only three rules to Fight Club Rereading July (and you may talk about it to your heart's content):

1) The book must be somewhere on my shelves
2) I must have read it at least once (and possibly several times) before
3) The last reading must have occurred before I began my blog (1/1/09)

After a leisurely perusal of my collection, the following books clamoured to be read:

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami
Goodbye Tsugumi by Banana Yoshimoto
Die Verwandlung by Franz Kafka
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens
Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
Adam Bede by George Eliot
One Man's Bible by Gao Xingjian
The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
Cloudstreet by Tim Winton
Seven Shades of Ambiguity by Elliot Perlman
The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai

The above list comprises a nice collection of old friends, representing a fair cross-section of my reading tastes: some V-Lit, J-Lit, a German-language classic, a smattering of translated fiction and a few good old Aussie novels.  I've already kicked off the fun with Far From The Madding Crowd and am very happy with my choice - in the long, cold Melbourne winter, it's nice to have a bit of comfort reading :)

You are welcome, dear reader, to join me (or not) - here's hoping for a wonderful month of things I've read before...