Reading is my passion, since I was a child. I have around a thousand books, here and in Spain. Not many, but neither few; unfortunately, time is limited, I have the vice of needing at least seven hours sleep every night, and as you all know, I’m distRActed with other things, movies and tv series.
I used to consider the re-reading as a missed chance to read something new and different. There were very few books that I’ve read twice, one of them being Marguerite Yourcenar’s “Memories of Hadrian”. But, after starting to appreciate the great XIXth century classics (Hugo, Tolstoi, Dumas), I felt like a real pity to be left with that Stockholm syndrome of the enjoyed reading without any further chance to come back again to live for some days with those characters I’ve loved. That’s why I’ve read thrice “War and Peace”, or twice “The Count of Montecristo”; I have realised that the re-reading is, most of times, better than the first one. Once you “know” or at least remember vaguely what happen, you can enjoy more the reading itself, the use the author makes of certain expressions and the writing technique.
My favourite writer, Arturo Pérez-Reverte, has been (very) cruel in his last novel “Hombres buenos” (Good men), making references to novels that supposedly the narrator of that story has written, but that recall titles that he has written for real. So there I was, wondering if I read for real Richelieu’s shadow or The stab, while checking his novels in my library (not an easy task to find anything in the three-row layers of paperbacks and hardbacks – I definitely NEED a bigger one) to realise with horror that I erased completely from my mind “La sombra del águila” (The shadow of the eagle). I sighed, relieved, when flicking through its pages I remembered that it was the story of the batallion of Spanish “voluntary” soldiers that in Napoleon’s russian campaing were thought to have made an heroic attack when in reality they were trying to desert to the Russians.
Therefore, I have made a decision: to re-read when I feel like without regrets. When my time will come I will surely have missed many good books but at least I will remember some of them. I am re-reading now, after remembering that I had forgotten it, “El maestro de esgrima” (The fencing master) and it is such a joy to read again paragraphs like this…
Se pasó la mano por el cabello blanco. No se arrepentía de haber vivido; había amado y había matado, jamás emprendió nada que deshonrase el concepto que tenía de sí mismo; atesoraba recuerdos suficientes para justificar su vida, aunque constituyesen éstos el único patrimonio del que disponía.