Friday, August 14, 2009

Should It Stay or Should It Go?

As I continue to reduce my library, one question will likely come to mind over and over again: Will you want or need to reread any part of this book? I believe this passage from Nick Hornby's Shakespeare Wrote for Money will prove helpful (and supportive):

“Maybe the best thing to do with favorite films and books is to leave them be: to achieve such an exalted position means that they entered your life at exactly the right time, in precisely the right place, and those conditions can never be re-created. Sometimes we want to revisit them in order to check whether they were really as good as we remember them being, but this has to be a suspect impulse, because what it presupposes is that we have more reason to trust our critical judgments as we get older, whereas I am beginning to believe that the reverse is true. . . . Favorites should be left where they belong, buried somewhere deep in a past self.”

This spoke to me especially after recently rereading the first page of Marilynne Robinson's Gilead: A Novel. I was about to recommend it to my husband to read and was profoundly disappointed to find that I didn't LOVE/RELISH/ADORE it the same way I did upon my very first reading. It didn't hook me and I couldn't guarantee that it would hook my husband. Yet I know Gilead still stands as a triumph of writing. It's just where my head is at right now. And Hornby's take on the matter not only makes sense, but gives me permission to let go of some of my favorite reads when the time comes.

Thank you, Nick.

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