I suppose I was about ten when I started dipping into my mother’s book shelves and finding friends inside her books (not to mention adult subjects!). Daphne du Maurier comes to mind as one of her authors and there were many more but my brain has edged them out.
I’ve made a practice of reading as many books as I can in a year and almost all have been new. Every now and again, though, I remember my mother’s reasons for moving all her old books when she downsized to an apartment. She loved rereading those old favorites, as she had forgotten the stories anyhow, and it was like rediscovering old friends.
And she was right. In preparation for the Algonkian Niagara Writers Conference, I reread Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and The Great Gatsby. They were new and fresh, as though I’d never read them before.
When I moved four years ago, hundreds of books didn’t make the cut. Those that did were by Colleen McCullough, Edward Rutherfurd, Pauline Gedge, Margaret George, Alison Weir, Margaret Laurence, Herman Wouk and many others. And I brought my journals wherein my notations after reading my books have helped keep the joy alive for years. I started this when teaching senior high school English and my students would ask me about possible books for their projects. My journals allowed me to remember a host of wonderful works that they might use.
And those journals now let me relive some of my best reading. They have another effect on me. They show me amazing writers’ work, and I think, if they can do it so can I.
Rereading great books, then, is crucial for authors.
Who are your favorites that you’ve read again and again? Do you worry that your own writing will borrow from those favorites, plagiarise even? Consider leaving a comment.