I went to sleep fairly early last night, slept for an hour and a half. My dinner (pasta with pieces of left over steak, peas, artichoke, hearts and feta) ( really good) had stalled somewhere in the digestive process and was making me miserable. That combined with assorted aches and pains, a wound up brain and I was wide awake.
I started reading The Men in My Life the other day because when I put Emma on the shelf I saw it and realized I'd never read it. And I thought it might be good to read about some men having just read about so many women in a row. I stopped long enough to read a New Yorker and last night got back to the book. It's a bit problematic because she's adding to my book list. The first essay is about someone I've never heard about and a book I'm not sure I'll read. But maybe. Gornick reread the book every six months for years. The second essay is about someone I've never been interested in reading and a book she rereads every year. She makes both books sound intriguing.
Rereading worries me. There are so many books I still want to read. I never feel I have a enough time to reread. I do know it's a valuable thing to do.
The first time I read In Cold Blood was during a summer in Texas visiting my Dad and stepmother. All there was to read was what was on the shelves. No book store or library in walking distance. I think I might have also read Valley of the Dolls that summer. Not books I would have chosen. The second time I read In Cold Blood was in a class on literary non fiction at New College. The third time was in my MFA program. When I saw the opening scene in the movie Capote I felt like I'd never get away from that story. It's a great book. I'm glad I read it and I'm glad I reread it with an eye for craft but of all the books I might choose to reread it is not even in the top 100.
One year I was staying at a friends house. She had every book Herman Hesse had ever written in bright yellow paper backs all in a row. That kind of thing makes me so happy. I'd read them in high school and loved them particularly Narcissus and Goldmund. I thought I'd reread them for the same reason I read I.C.B. the first time. They were there. I don't remember which one I picked but I remember thinking it was terrible. I don't remember why. I would actually like to try them again some day.
I set my self the task to reread a bunch of Toni Morrison once. That was good. I had grown as a reader and got so much more from them. I recommended My Family and Other Animals once because I'd loved it so and when the person didn't share my enthusiasm I reread it. He was right. It wasn't great but it was kind of fun. I reread The Color Purple for a class after I'd seen the movie. That was interesting. Three different experiences.
Eventually I got to sleep. Slept a nice big chunk and two shorter chunks.
I left off after her essay on Loren Eiseley, another writer I have not read. Well I think I may have read some essays and a poem or an interview but nothing that stuck with me. In the last few paragraphs she talks about his life long depression and the act of will he exerted to get up every morning and begin to work where "in the widening ring of human choice chaos and order renew their struggle" (Gornick quoting Eiseley) She says it was an act of self creation.