Prufrock's Page

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Packing, Moving, Rereading

Back to blogging after a brief break necessitated by the actions of a whimsical landlord. The weekend was spent in packing, moving and then attempting to settle into a new home which, though it has its share of issues, also has an uninterrupted view of sand, surf and sea.

During the shift, other unexpected pleasures also came to light, such as the recovery of books which one hadn't seen in ages: a varied lot, ranging from John Osborne's Look Back In Anger to Isabel Fonseca's Bury Me Standing. Which was quite a coincidence, considering one had recently received in the mail a book entitled Rereadings: 17 Writers Revisit Books They Love.

It's edited by Anne Fadiman, author of the charming Ex Libris, and comprises a selection of essays that earlier appeared in The American Scholar, flagship journal of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. It's a book one has been sampling between periods of waiting for carpenters, plumbers and electricians -- indeed, dipping into it is the best way of going through it.

There's Pico Iyer on D.H. Lawrence's The Virgin And The Gypsy; Vijay Seshadri on Whitman's Song of Myself; Allegra Goodman on Austen's Pride And Prejudice; and more. (Including, unusually and delightfully, David Michaelis on the lyrics of Sergeant Pepper.) Each one a personal reminiscence on how time and age affect the experience of reading a favourite text.

In short: a book that one would unhesitatingly recommend to those (like oneself) who're so caught up in keeping up with new releases that rereading seems like an ill-afforded luxury.

Now, if only the electrician would arrive to fix the reading light.


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