Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The Pleasure of Re-reading


Recently, I had the urge to re-read an old favorite book – The Unknown Ajax by Georgette Heyer. And not for the first time. In fact, I don’t even know how many times I’ve read it over the years.

And why is that, I wondered. What do I go back to some novels again and again? Why is it so comforting to re-visit these stories? Obviously, I know what’s going to happen from one page to the next. There are no surprises lurking to amaze me.
I decided that there are two main reasons, for me, to go back to a book. First, I want to spend time with the characters. It’s like getting together with old friends, moving into their world for a while. I feel the same way about Sherlock Holmes and Frodo and Sam as about the Darracotts. And many others.
And equally important, it’s the language. The two are inseparable. A writer doesn’t create memorable characters without a striking style. The way Georgette Heyer puts words together fills me with joy. For example,
In her view, Vincent was a dangerous blade, with a viperous tongue, and a deplorable influence over her impressionable young son; but after spending three hours in an atmosphere of deepening gloom, she would have been much inclined to have welcomed the arrival of Beelzebub himself.
Who could resist such a sentence? And Heyer keeps them coming throughout the book, right up to the hilarious tour de force ending. I never tire of her mastery.
            What are your favorite re-reads?

1 comment:

  1. I have a few comfort reads, myself. Included amongst them are:

    Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters
    Escapade by Joan Smith
    Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
    Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
    To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

    Phrasing, humor and well drawn characters are the general appeal. I love discovering new books and authors but there is something about being able to grab from my keeper shelf and settle in for a guaranteed fabulous read. Add a pot of tea or good coffee, a comfortable setting, and there is little that can top the situation.

    ReplyDelete