Saturday, June 21, 2014

Everything Old is New Again

I first read the epistolary The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society in 2009.  It centers around a writer who is searching for the perfect subject for her next book.  She receives a letter from a gentleman living on the island of Guernsey who finds her name and address in a used book by Charles Lamb.  He asks her if she knows where he might locate more books about Mr. Lamb, and so begins a correspondence primarily about the German occupation of Guernsey during World War II.  My general reaction to the book was that it was a nice story, but I didn't feel particularly strongly about it in any way.

Recently, I picked this book up again.  Even as I read through it, I had absolutely no recollection of the fact that I'd read it before.  I must point out that this is a reflection of my current memory issues, not a reflection of the quality or memorability of the book itself, I am sure.  I only realized I'd read it before when I sat down to write a review of the book for GoodReads and found that I had reviewed five years ago.  This time, however, my review was significantly more positive.  I loved the story and found myself identifying more readily with the characters.  This is the first time (that I can recall) that I have re-read a book and had a more positive reaction the second time around.  Often, I find that I re-read books that I absolutely LOVED as a teenagers or in my early 20s and find that in my older age the characters are simply insufferable.  Examples of this include, The FountainheadThe Catcher in the Rye, and On the Road.  So, while my general practice is not to re-read books, in the (hopefully) rare, instance where I forget that I've actual read it before, it's nice to know that it may become more meaningful with time and perhaps a little more wisdom.

On a separate note, I am in general a big fan of books written through letters.  Maybe because it satisfies a secret desire for gossip, and makes me feel as if I have stumbled upon something I'm not supposed to be reading.  The books also often make for fast reads, which can be nice if one doesn't have a lot of time to read.  Some of my other favorite books written in letter form include:

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