Part of my suspicion of rereading may come from a false sense of reading as conquest. As we polish off some classic text, we may pause a moment to think of ourselves, spear aloft, standing with one foot up on the flank of the slain beast. Another monster bagged. It would be somehow less heroic, as it were, to bend over and check the thing’s pulse. But that, of course, is the stuff of reading—the going back, the poring over, the act of committing something from the experience, whether it be mood or fact, to memory. It is in the postmortem where we learn how a book really works. Maybe, then, for a forgetful reader like me, the great task, and the greatest enjoyment, would be to read a single novel over and over again. At some point, then, I would truly and honestly know it.
The problem with reading so many books is that there have been more than a few times that I’ve checked out something from the library and then two or three chapters in, realize I’ve read it before.
A couple months ago I got halfway through Marian Keyes’ Anybody Out There before it hit me I’d read it before. And the first time I read it was recent enough for me to have already scored it on Goodreads! Oops.