Without ever really meaning to, I started an Easter reading tradition. Each year I am drawn to re-read a beloved book from my past. (Confession: it’s usually Donna Tartt’s The Secret History). Sometimes my look backwards is prompted by a newly published work, like the year I re-read Pride and Prejudice for the umpteenth time in anticipation of P.D. James’ Death Comes to Pemberley (which I never did get around to reading), other times it’s not. Sometimes I’m disappointed to discover that a work that touched me deeply contains a magic I can’t access any longer. Other times I’m charmed anew.
Each time I catch myself picking up an old favourite, I’m reminded of a quote of Proust‘s (a novelist I’ve never read nevermind re-read), “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes but in having new eyes.”
This Easter weekend I re-visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City in the 1960s, the way it was the first time I can ever remember hearing of it. I spent time running away from home with Claudia (the brains) and Jamie (the coin) and hiding out in the museum’s bathrooms waiting for security to leave for the night. It had been decades since I first encountered the Angel and wondered if two plucky kids could verify a Michelangelo using common sense and the limited resources at their disposal. I re-read From The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konisburg, and it was just as good as I remember it.
Are you a re-reader? Does the urge to re-read strike you more at a particular time of year? Share your thoughts in the comments below.