Thursday, April 24, 2014

Books to reread

I have this running list in my head of books I'd like to reread and figured it was about time I set the list down somewhere before it becomes too bulky.

In the last couple of years, I've reread several books that I wanted to experience as an adult, namely "War and Peace," "Our Mutual Friend," "The Screwtape Letters" and "Brideshead Revisited." But there are others I haven't gotten around to yet. Most are books I read as a teenager, and the impetus to reread is essentially me wondering if I'll feel the same way about them now (and hoping to undoubtedly catch more nuance) than when I read them initially. Some I just want to see if I still dislike as strongly.

Watership Down, by Richard Adams
I practically never say I hate a book. I've disliked many, but this book is one I truly despised after forcing myself to finish reading it (and it wasn't often I balked at any kind of assigned reading) in either seventh or eighth grade. Vicious, war-like bunny rabbits tearing each other to bits? Really? I've gotten into debates with friends who adore this book, which mystifies me, as I recall nothing adorable about it (we watched the animated film in class after reading the book, and that, too, turned me off). This is definitely one I want to read again just to see if my attitude toward it remains the same. By the same token, I should probably also tackle "Animal Farm" again as well, as I was not a fan.

The six Anne of Green Gables books, by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Yes, there are actually six of them, with the trio beyond the original three novels (Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea and Anne of the Island), continuing Anne's story as a wife and mother. There are also two additional books (which I haven't read), sometimes counted, that tell the story of one of Anne's daughters.
Anyway, I haven't read them since I was a girl, and have always been fond of them. Yes, the heroine is an imaginative girl with whom I share a name (and the correct spelling with the E on the end), but they're also just fun and well-written. At the time, I (of course) developed a crush on the fictional Gilbert Blythe, although I don't know many girls who read these books who didn't on some level (though I was probably one of the only 12-year-olds you'd have found in 1990 who thought Gilbert was a cool name. I still do, come to think of it. Given the opportunity, I'd totally name a son Gilbert. You know, unless my married last name ends up being something like Gilbertson. But I digress...).

Both Aldous Huxley's Brave New World & 1984, by George Orwell
I has also been quite a while since I read either of these dystopian novels, although I recall liking both of them. And watching "Man of Steel" last night, the Genesis chamber on Krypton reminded me in a way of the factory-like hatchery where babies gestate in "Brave New World." The fact that that particular image from the book has stayed with me this long, almost 20 years later, is striking, perhaps because the concept was so shocking to me initially. And unlike "Animal Farm," "1984" didn't leave me with a bitter taste in my mouth upon first reading, so, you see, I don't abjectly dislike Orwell.

Something by Sir Walter Scott
One of these, perhaps?
While we're in Scotland in June, Mom and I plan to visit Sir Walter Scott's home, Abbotsford, near Melrose (fun fact: there's a Catholic chapel attached to the house. Scott's granddaughter and her husband were both converts, and the grandson-in-law was also friends with the now-Blessed John Henry Newman. Some of Newman's possessions are on display in the chapel), and the Scott monument in Edinburgh. It only seems fitting that I reread (or if I don't get to it beforehand, take one with me. Or would that be too cliche?) at least one of his Scottish novels. 

There are other books, I know, that aren't immediately coming to mind. Not that I don't have plenty else to read in my to-be-read-piles. And, lest people think all I read are classics, I'm actually at the end of a reread of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, in anticipation of book 8 coming out June 10. I might have to buy it while I'm in Scotland, although they're generally tome-like novels, and it would probably add weight to my suitcase on the way home.

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