"Books help to constitute our identity."This quote is from her book The Female Imagination. Of course, after noting that quote I backed up and read the actual review. The review is for another of her books, published in 2011, titled On Rereading; which, of course, I must read.
I don't do a lot of rereading because I always have so many "new to me" books on my reading list. This is a shame, really, and I've been contemplating this idea of rereading. I want to revisit those books that I loved when I read them the first time; dangerous, I know! After all, what if I no longer love those books? But I'm willing to take that chance. I'm getting old enough that I want to reread books that I read as a young woman. I want to see what my middle aged self thinks about those books. For instance, I read To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf nearly 25 years ago. I loved it. It had special meaning for me at that stage of my life. Now I want to see if I still love it ... see if and how it speaks to me now. I'm guessing it will speak to me, but in a different way. I'm hoping that a reread of this book will be an even richer experience than the first time through.
Ms. Spacks argues the case for rereading in her book On Rereading. This brings me back to the quote from The Female Imagination. "Books help to constitute our identity." Rereading helps us see who we were and who we are. It helps us see how we have both changed and remained the same. I suppose I'm at a more reflective stage of life; there is more to reflect upon. I'm curious to understand how I've changed and remained the same. Reflecting on this will involve a certain amount of embarrassment (oh, youthful arrogance), but hopefully it will also prove to be reassuring. I have grown. I have matured. I have a greater capacity to think before I speak. I've learned that in the face of an adamant youthful response it is often wiser to simply smile when I disagree; after all, in another 20 years I might find I think differently after all.
Patricia Meyer Spacks, ON REREADING from Harvard University Press on Vimeo.