28th February, 2019
bOOKISH STUFF: REREADING FAVOURITE BOOKS
So recently I was feeling a reading slump coming up. You know this weird annoying, slightly tingly feeling when all of a sudden your reading spree begins to falter and every book you pick up simply cannot satisfy you? A while ago I posted a blog entry on ways to overcome such a slump (here is the link if you are interested) and one of my strategies is going back to one of my favourite reads.
Which is how I picked up Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane again and finished it in two days. This novel is one of my favourite Gaiman stories and I can't even exactly pinpoint why. Maybe it reminds me of childhood and those days when you could just roam free during the holidays and only had to be home when it became dark (something that is somewhat unheard of nowadays but I grew up in the 80s/early 90s ;-)). Maybe it is because it's a simultaneously simple and multi-layered story with a fairy tale twist. Maybe it's for different nostalgic reasons as I remember the giddy excitement of getting my copy signed by Neil at the Edinburgh Book Festival in 2013 when I was pregnant with my son. I was starstruck and happy and anxious - all at the same time.
And in fact it doesn't really matter because for everyone the choice will be different for equally different reasons, be they simply because you liked the story, or you love the author, or you have certain memories attached to previous readings of the book.
When I reread Ocean I was amazed by how much of the story I had forgotten. Not the general plot or some of the more dramatic scenes but the little details. I really enjoyed experiencing these small facets of the story again or - as it felt at times - like for the first time. And I believe it's exactly this experience that makes rereading your favourite books so worthwhile and frequently manages to clear your head for other stories again. It really is a bit like a cleansing. You don't need to have any anticipations because you already know that you like the story, you can focus on the minute details that make the story work and look at "why" something happens and not at "what" happens. Trust me, Shakespeare did have a point when he basically gave away the ending of Romeo and Juliet in the prologue in order for his audience to be able to look at the intricacies of the plot.
I haven't fully shaken the reading slump feeling yet but with the right stories on my TBR stack, I hope to get back in the swing soon. There are so many great books coming out this year and I still have a few review copies that look promising waiting for my attention. So begone, reading slump, begone. :-)
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