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Location: Dublin, Republic of, Ireland

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Why I Seldom Re-Read A Book

For a book to stay close to the memory or have changed perceptions, meant that it had surpassed its 'entertainment' value and delivered a monumental gift. It probably offered its reader more refuge at that time than the closest companion and its story may stay a keepsake, a mental heirloom or a legacy to the individual heart.

I suppose for some of us - I have the impression this doesn't happen to everyone - it's not just the quality of the book that shines, but the environment that once surrounded that given time of the said read; one that may have been layered with romantic idealism, appeared ethereal and fleeting, once shaped in the mind and now no longer found. After all, the imagination is a strange thing.

This is where apprehension comes in. The read is attached to that moment of a reader's life considered beautiful but fragile.

For example, the friendships of the time, the lifestyle, the simplicity of an everyday routine etc that stayed once to form an intimate episode or encounter.

Years later, the reader picks up an old favourite but views the unexpected affection of a remembrance. The book is vivid for its memory of a larger experience than what fills the pages, and according to the reader's temperament, may be best left untouched.

So it isn't just about the quality of the book but also the preservation of a memory.

Having said this, there are other books like Dicken's A Christmas Carol and his Christmas tales that I re-read every time December draws near. It's almost like a tradition. I've re-read A Christmas Carol for years and still find it offers refreshing lessons.

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